Intersectional Talks: Gender and Environmental Inequalities

Updated: Nov 20, 2019

On the 13th of November, Wonda Women had another edition of its informal networking dinners. We are very thankful to Vereniging AANEEN, who shared their lovely fair-trade space with us and prepared a deliciously fresh and vegan Moroccan buffet. The theme of our dinner was the intersection between gender, (neo)colonialism, and environmental inequalities, and we had the opportunity of having Celia as our honorary guest.

Celia is a feminist and social justice activist, a founding member of the Amsterdam Collective for Democracy in Brazil, and works at the International Secretariat of Friends of the Earth International. She has worked for over 15 years with feminist, rural and urban social movements in Brazil and internationally.

We started the dinner with a short introduction round and an explanation of what are networking dinners are about, namely: creating a safe space for womxn to share experiences and exchange views with each other in an informal matter.

Here are a few insights that we would like to share with you from our discussion:

  • The relations between the Global North and the Global South are still very much colonial. Only if we understand how they work, we can fight them!

  • For change to happen, politicians need to take a stand, but the biggest players in colonizing land and causing environmental damage are the big transnational corporations. The reason why (e.g.) the Amazon is burning is because of our economic model and the way transnational corporations work. The main problem is that they don’t fall under international law and can’t be held accountable for their actions abroad. This needs to be changed at the international policy level.

  • In the Netherlands, we are only able to live our privileged lives because peoples on the other side of the world are often striving for survival. Importantly, we were invited to question our ideal of 'good life' and how such utopia is developed at other peoples' and land's cost. The suggestion was to think that other ways of living are possible.

  • Our education system needs to change, and we need to reconsider our consumption patterns. But it is necessary to go beyond individual decisions: even though these are important, the exploiters of the world are much bigger than us.

  • If we really want to change the system, then we need to make responsible the elites that are benefiting from it and we can only do this together by joining forces in feminist and environmentalist organizations.

  • Storytelling is powerful and important. Hearing about other experiences can open eyes and hearts.

So what can we actively do to start changing the harmful system that causes environmental inequalities?

  1. Inform yourself, and start addressing and challenging the system by demanding change at the policy level.

  2. Support the peoples that are defending their territories; indigenous peoples defending their land as well as womxn defending their bodies.

We ended on a hopeful note: even though it won’t be easy, we do have the tools to collectively take a stand against the big players and start making cracks in the system. Collectively we can fight to transform it! The powerful, personal experiences that were shared during this networking dinner will certainly stay with us and they again show the importance of being able to connect with each other and learn from each other from a place of listening and sharing.

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