Why climate and environmental justice storytelling, by young feminists?
Collective power for rights and justice cannot be built unless our diverse feminisms are heard and are at the table. Climate and environmental impacts are drastically re-shaping the world that we live in, and we know that we cannot and must not separate these concerns from our struggles as feminists. As young feminists, as young climate and environmental justice advocates, and as activists based in diverse countries and contexts, we have particular priorities and insights, and face particular brands of sexism, ageism and other multiple and intersecting forms of oppression.
The Young Feminists for Climate Justice Storytelling Project seeks to shine light on these experiences, and amplify these voices: to increase the visibility and diversity of youth perspectives and experiences at the intersections of feminist and climate & environmental justice struggles.
What is the story of this project?
The project was born out of conversations that young women and young feminists had at the Women and Gender Constituency at COP21, where we shared stories of constantly sitting in the minority within the movement, and what that experience was like. Realizing, for example, that we are the only young woman in the room, and very often, also the only young person of color; anecdotes of colleagues silencing us or not taking us seriously; of men making sexual and disrespectful remarks; stories of young feminists facing the worst consequences for their activism whilst simultaneously being erased from the movement…
These stories ultimately point to how important it is to have a space to share anecdotes and perspectives, and to realize our experiences are not isolated. In the case of women environmental defenders at the frontlines of mining, logging, large-scale energy projects, climate and environmental impacts, and others, these experiences take on increased levels of danger, violence and risk.
We had more conversations throughout 2016 in various online and offline spaces, convened in connection to the Young Feminists for Climate Justice Facebook group, an independent platform that was launched with support from Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO). This year, FRIDA The Young Feminist Fund, with support from the Sierra Club, is providing resources to facilitate this project. However, the project, and the stories collected, does not belong or is branded by any particular organization, but rather is a platform by and for young activists who identify as young feminists for climate and environmental justice anywhere and everywhere.