With the conclusion of the Climate Change Conference COP24 in Katowice, there are several realities that are simultaneously unsurprising yet still shocking. While the USA held a leading role in the formation of the Paris Agreement, it now stands in the way of accepting the leading scientific consensus on climate change in the stark refusal to accept the legitimacy of the October IPCC report, along with Russia and Saudi Arabia. As expected, the oil industry and nation-states are pushing back on climate action. We must remain undaunted.
Political will for transformative change is not an easy road. The Women’s Environment and Development Organization, convener of the Women and Gender Constituency in the Katowice talks, made it clear at COP24 that the rise of macho-fascism is a clear and present threat to the global community and completely unacceptable.
With such dire warnings on climate change and a strict deadline for action by 2030, we are now fully within what is called an end game. The rise of macho-fascism is the visual representation of this stage.
Now is a time for courageous feminist action across continents.
We are witnessing many young people rise up in protest of the environmental pathway of destruction that we are on, from the Sunrise Movement to Climate Justice Now and many others. Change is imminent, but the challenge remains to implement financing mechanisms for climate smart solutions. As people return home to their countries, it becomes ever more important to engage in political decision making to urge governments forward in climate action for the common good. The false dichotomy of environment versus economy must come to an end—there will be no economy without climate action. Abrupt climate change has the capacity to disrupt the major built infrastructure systems as we know them; the devastation of hurricanes in Puerto Rico illustrates concretely what this means. It is not a choice of whether we act, but how swiftly.
Building grassroots alliances and partnerships is the groundwork that lays before us all. As I embrace my role as a convener for the WILPF Environment Working Group, I am eager to hear what people are working on in their countries and WILPF sections and groups so that we can better align environment and peace work with the global social movement for climate action. Peace is possible only if we take care of the environment, and sustain a climate that can sustain us all. May we move forward in 2019 with courage and purpose, and be part of the social change for climate action.
By Dawn Nelson