There Is No Planet B

Climate Change as a feminist issue:

I was fortunate enough to attend the People’s Climate March that took place in DC this past Saturday, where thousands of protestors spoke out against the current state of the U.S. government, global environment, jobs, fossil fuels, renewable resources, and so on. I have always viewed climate change as an issue that leaned more towards scientific research, ecological preservation, and the overall well-being of Earth; but I had never really thought of it as an intersectional feminist issue until now.

Though everyone on Earth is experiencing the effects of climate change, women in developing nations are heavily impacted. For example, within these developing and growing countries women are traditionally expected to cook and clean, but with freshwater becoming increasingly scarce and contaminated, women must travel further for potentially “cleaner” water that still has no guarantee that it won’t cause health problems. Also, young school girls face the dilemma of leaving school to lend a helping hand in the family’s farm that is suffering due to the land changing as a result of irregular weather and climate. Another example is the maquiladora labor system in Mexico that hire and exploit their workers that are mostly women and single mothers. Not only do these large trans-national corporations underpay their workers, the factories release harmful chemicals and fumes into the adjacent neighborhoods that the workers call home.

Although we haven’t talked about the topic of climate change in our class, I thought it would be important to talk about due to Trump’s first 100 days which included appointing Scott Pruitt as the head of the EPA, proposing to slash EPA funds, and approving the permit for the Dakota Access pipeline. With the United States being such an influential player in the health of the world, do you think that the new administration’s attitudes towards the environment and climate change will detrimentally effect women of developing nations even more than now? Is there a way for the feminist movement to help women of the global south?

Just some food for thought.

Here are some cool things I saw at the march

DSC_0801DSC_0806DSC_0796

Here are some interesting links if you want to read more about some of the things I mentioned above:

http://www.maquilapolis.com/project_eng.htm

https://www.aspeninstitute.org/podcasts/climate-change-feminism/

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22 thoughts on “There Is No Planet B

  1. It took me a minute to “get” what you were saying in your first paragraph, because my first reaction was that climate change is an all-encompassing issue, so it literally affects everyone and everything, which last time I checked included all women as well. I was glad to see you go more in depth on just how much the people in your examples are impacted, which definitely (in my opinion at least) warrants the specific classification of it as a feminist issue.

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  2. This is a very well thought-out article. When most people think of climate change, they don’t think of it as an intersectionalist women’s issue, so I am quite glad you brought up this point. I also think it’s very interesting how when we bring up the issue of climate change, we tend to only focus on ourselves and our society. We analyze how the polar bears will start to die, how sea levels will rise, etc. However, we don’t really think about how people in other countries will be affected; especially women. Hopefully this idea will resurface in future discussions regarding climate change.

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    • I think there is a bigger issue that people do not understand how to properly think outside of themselves and outside of their country. By opening up their minds to understand how other people are affected by their actions people can see that they could be benefiting people.

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      • I completely agree with the above comment. The big issue is people are in a bubble and only think of themselves and the people in their area, not outside the country. These chemical plants, big factories, and other polluters are almost always placed near the poorer people in general. Thus causing them to develop health issues which they cannot care for and have to adjust to the effects. I am not gonna lie at times when trying to combat the climate issue I feel like we need to look at these small cases and dig down deep to get peoples attention. Mostly because people need something to semi relate to and will feel bad about other people when they are shown other people (sometimes not always). On the other hand I almost feel like climate change is an issue bigger then all of us and people should be upset about what is happening to the earth itself, but once again not all people are upset. While I don’t know which approach is best, and I kind of got off topic; I would say I do agree that there is intersectionality in this issue. If we use that intersectionality I feel maybe then we get more people on board to help the earth, because people like finding things in common. I just always hope people find ways to help those in these situations. It truly is terrible what these women will have to go through when they already have it tougher than most.

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  3. I feel like a lot of this has to do with American culture and how we can be very centralized and nationalized in our thinking. If we’re able to consider global dilemmas that can be fixed without exercising our military-industrial complex, I feel that this issues can be actually addressed. Sometimes, it seems that no one thinks about small towns and villages with water shortages and contamination, and the way that these physical problems affect social/cultural issues. Ahem. ***Flint, Michigan***

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  4. I find it unbelievable that so many people don’t take climate change and the effects it has on the environment seriously. Just like your title suggest, there is literally no planet B to rely on. It’s unfortunate, but I don’t think this new administration will take these very evident environmental issues into account. On a more positive note, it is empowering to know that this is an issue of the feminist community which means that it is an important topic of discussion amongst multitudes of people. I agree that America has its issues, but there are so many other issues happening on an international level that deserve to be discussed as well. Seeing the implications of international environmental issues might help to develop solutions for the environmental issues closer to home.

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  5. I feel like part of this problem is that people think nothing “drastically” bad is happening in the US because of climate change so they choose to ignore the issue. You cans still present the impact of it on different countries, but it is so easy to ignore it is not your own home deteriorating. At the same time it is like well why would you wait for it to get bad? It is like when you get sick would you rather catch it in the early stages or have to fight it when it is in full swing? People claim it doesn’t exist and it would be a waste of money to fund things related to it but lets say it turns out to be a hoax well is it not better to be safe than sorry? Also if we come out being more efficient with our use of materials and energy then how did we loose anything?

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  6. I like how thoughtful you were about the entire presentation of your blog. I didn’t even really acknowledge the meaning of the title until after I had finished reading. But, you are absolutely right in that there is only one planet earth and we need to understand the seriousness of taking care of it. I thought you made an interesting point in discussing how climate change can interfere with the possibility of receiving an education in other countries due to water contamination, and how some women need to travel in order to get cleaner water. The well-being of some women on a very basic level is heavily dependent upon the efforts of the EPA.

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  7. I had never considered climate change to be a feminist issue until reading this. Your second paragraph reminded me of our reading “From the Third World” which covers the exploitation of migrant workers in other countries. As the climate continues to worsen, how will this affect labor and the health of people who are tasked to work in poor climate conditions?

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  8. I really enjoyed your blog post and thought you connected the issue of climate change to that of a feminist issue rather well. I agree that it has an impact on not only our nation, but every nation. Climate change is an important topic and I fear that this current administration is going to do nothing and even further harm the environment. It’s unfortunate but I fear that our ecological foot-print is one of the worst and I fear that it is not going to get any better, especially with this current administration. I feel they care more about their pockets then they do the next incoming generations.

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  9. I never realized that climate change is also a feminist issue but you tied it together very well. I didn’t realize that even though we complain about how hot it is and things that there all plenty of women who have it much worst than I do. At least I can complain and then turn on the AC or go somewhere with AC and cool off for a while. I’m not sure if the climate change is something on the agenda of feminist but I think it should be because of the points you made above. I also enjoyed the pictures you shared and maybe there will be a change soon to help other women in as Chang would say, the “Third World” so it can feel more international including all women.

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  10. I genuinely love this article. Climate change is something everyone should think about as it affects EVERYONE. I recently read an article similar to your stance, saying that women seem to be more vulnerable than men to climate change. This is because generally, in developing countries, women are more dependent on natural resources than men are. This is probably because women often are not financially independent like men in these countries usually are. Also, in developing countries it is not abnormal for women to not be exposed to educational opportunities, so they are unable to manage these risks dealing with their agriculture, livestock, etc.

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  11. First of all, awesome pictures! I’m glad you got the chance to experience the march! This is definitely an interesting point and I hadn’t thought of the climate issue as an intersectional feminist issue before reading this. It definitely makes sense that this would have a large issue on women in other counties as you mentioned because of the societal standards they must continue to hold.

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  12. Wow , I never really thought to look at climate as a feminist issue but you bring up a few valid points. Girls being pulled out of school in order to work and lend a helping hand is detrimental to their futures and doesn’t give them the same educational chance as other which is unfair. These young and adult women are forced to work in companies that underpay and poison them.

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  13. The intersectionality of climate change and feminism is an interesting take on how women are environmentally impacted. Although climate change affects everyone I think you made a really interesting point how Third World countries have women walking in poor conditions only to receive what may only be assumed as “clean” water. With the new administrations proposal to cut EPA funds I think that it has a higher possibility of affecting women more than ever whether that be directly or indirectly.

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  14. I had never thought of Global warming as a feminist issue until reading your article. I always thought of it as an all encompassing issue. However your examples of how women are directly affected in the global south were definitely interesting and thought provoking. I will have to do more research on why this is uniquely feminist to be more convinced but I love the idea of the feminist movement getting behind helping global warming.

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  15. It’s interesting to think of an issue like climate change from the feminist perspective. Like many of my fellow commenters, I hadn’t considered the way intersectionality could play into the harms of climate change. The more I thought about it, the more I realized its value. Take the Dakota Access Pipeline that you mentioned. There are multitudes of Indigenous women protesting its construction as a feminist climate change issue. A pipeline break would decimate communities, and so too will many of the men hired to build it.

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  16. Really insightful post. Thank you for highlighting how perceptions of gender force women in many areas of the world to take the brunt of the negative impact climate change is having in their communities. The point about fetching water is really latent to me since access to clean water is such a prominent global issue. There is enough clean water on the Earth to fill the needs of the entire global population and yet there are so many communities worldwide that lack enough clean water for all citizens. So many of us in America have so much water that we subconsciously waste it all the time and yet there are places where acquiring enough water for the day is a daily, hour-long struggle. I feel like things like that are why we really need transnational feminism, in order to give us a truly global perspective.

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  17. I really enjoyed this take on the impacts of climate change. People often fail to consider the wide-reaching impacts global climate change will have on their everyday lives, and already are having on the lives of those with limited access to resources like fresh water. Therefore, it’s important to do what you have done and synthesize the ways global climate change will impact people in a specific way, hopefully having the effect of grounding people’s experiences with regards to the climate stability. Especially in the current political environment where science and facts are seen as political buzzwords, instead of the grounded and unbiased information it should be taken as being.

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  18. I personally do not think that climate change is really a issue for the feminist movement as it affects all of humanity equally. To further elaborate, the feminist movement generally does tackle issues that go a bit out of the reach of what could purely be defined as just a women’s issue in the name of intersectionality, but climate change is a bit different in that it affects all of the world’s people rather indiscriminatory of any of the axes of intersectionality. My personal opinion is that because of this, I would argue that people looking to resist climate change not look towards the feminist movement, but look towards movements specifically geared towards tackling just climate change. These movements are significantly more monolithic in the goals that they are seeking to accomplish and are thus more focused and effective at rallying behind a common cause.

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  19. Upon graduating high school and coming to UMBC, I decided wanted to major in environmental engineering because I felt as though the issues with the environment are worsening, however we as a nation are sweeping it under the rug. Under Obama’s administration there were policies to help this, however I was under extreme disappointment upon hearing fund cuts for the EPA under the current president. It genuinely put me under concern that I may not be able to find a job, an engineering job at that, after graduation, and that our planet it doomed.

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  20. i agree 100%. women are the ones that are being called to change their regular lifestyle in order to address the changes to the climate and the changes in the environment when they mostly aren’t the ones who have caused the issues in the first place.

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