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World Environment Day: WILPF launches “Down the Green Feminist Road”

Today on 5 June 2020, WILPF is launching the zine Down the Green Feminist Road: our Path to Environmental Peace!

Image credit: WILPF
WILPF International Secretariat
5 June 2020
Wondering what a zine is?
This is a new format WILPF is experimenting with, making our projects and ideas accessible for a broader audience!
With its creative and artistic appearance, a zine is a great source of inspiration for dedicated activists.

Today on 5 June 2020, WILPF is launching the zine Down the Green Feminist Road: our Path to Environmental Peace. In this zine, colourful illustrations guide the reader through eight stories about how WILPF members across the globe are taking action to highlight the connections between the environment, women’s rights and peace.  

“We are determined to change our situation to better contribute to peace and development,” says Véronique Kanyala from WILPF Burkina Faso in the zine. In their project “Land rights are human rights”, WILPF Burkina Faso took action by organising information sessions and open discussions to empower women and inform them of their rights.

The project undertaken by WILPF Burkina Faso is just one of eight local projects that you can read about in the zine.

Exploitation of Nature and People

After reading the zine, it becomes clear that environmental degradation is often a direct consequence of a competition for resources and extractivism. Capitalist structures continue to negatively affect the environment. 

From a grassroots perspective, it is obvious how individuals are affected by these problematic structures. Indigenous peoples all over the world witness and are directly affected when the land they have cared for for centuries is exploited for profit. The exploitation of resources not only leads to the destruction of the environment, but many times to violence and harm to indigenous peoples. One example of this is the story told in the zine by WILPF Mexico. 

In Mexico, the quest for natural resources has been prioritised over indigenous and rural communities who are dependent on nature and their land for survival, and have been for many years. Even when conservation efforts are made, indigneous peoples are not included in decision-making. However, WILPF Mexico took action, organised meetings, and reached out to community authorities for a change to be made.

The Effects of Militarism

When militarism is normalised in society, the negative effects the military has on the environment often fail to be questioned. Military activities and exercises lead to the devastation, pollution and destruction of ecosystems. In the zine, multiple stories set out how militarisation and the military leads to problematic environmental consequences in different ways. From problems of radiation in fjords in Norway, to deforestation in Afghanistan – military activities affect nature in all corners of the world. 

By changing the way in which the military is taken for granted as if a natural part of society, it is also possible to put an end to environmental degradation. In the zine you will find out more about how WILPF Sections work to change the way our societies and communities think about militarism, raise awareness of its effects, and put authorities on the spot. It’s clear that only by asking the difficult questions can we succeed in making a change.

Equality and Empowerment

A global problem that affects all people needs a solution that takes everyone into account. It is simply impossible to solve an environmental crisis without acknowledging and dismantling the structures of power that only allow some voices to be heard. 

One example of how grassroots action can change these structures of power is a story from WILPF Kenya. Many women in the rural areas of Kenya experience serious challenges as a consequence of gender stereotypes, inequality and attitudes. WILPF members decided to improve women’s economic and social livelihood by creating communities of support, called Mama bomas. Read more in the zine about how these communities work as one step along the way to changing the bigger structure of gender inequality.

The Path forward

The zine is available in English, Spanish and French. In the zine you can read the complete stories from WILPF Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Italy, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Norway and Sweden. All stories serve as inspiration on how frontline communities make the voices of marginalised groups, women and youth heard. 

Help us bring Attention to Peace, Gender and Environment

Download all versions on our webpage and help us share the stories. We have made a social media package with visuals and posts so you can easily help us share!

WILPF Environmental Peace Education Initiative

At its International Congress in 2018, WILPF launched an Environmental Peace Education Initiative. This initiative supported WILPF Sections and Groups through small grants for projects on environmental sustainability. This initiative is one part of WILPF’s recognition of the close relationship between the environment, women’s rights and peace. Drawing on the reporting received from Sections and Groups on projects awarded grants, WILPF has produced a zine to highlight and celebrate their work.

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WILPF International Secretariat

WILPF International Secretariat, with offices in Geneva and New York, liaises with the International Board and the National Sections and Groups for the implementation of WILPF International Programme, resolutions and policies as adopted by the International Congress. Under the direction of the Secretary-General, the Secretariat also provides support in areas of advocacy, communications, and financial operations.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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