THE TITLE OF THIS BLOG POST TAKES A PHRASE FROM the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Globally, women have less economic, political, and legal clout than men and are thus more vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. Eighty per cent of people displaced by climate change are women. When natural disasters strike, they hit poor communities the hardest, and women make up 70% of people living in poverty. For example, Hurricane Katrina, which struck New Orleans in 2005, predominantly affected poor African Americans, especially women. Additionally, there is growing evidence of the link between extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, and storms and increased violence against women, including sexual assault and domestic abuse. And while they are more likely to be burdened with household work and caring for children and elderly family members, women are still often excluded from political, community and household decision-making processes that affect their lives.
As the UNFCCC has stated, women’s empowerment is key to the success of climate actions.
This month, as our way of honoring Women’s History Month, we spent some time getting to know a number of amazing women-led organizations at the forefront of the climate justice movement. They are not only challenging the systems that worsen health and climate inequities, but also act as a model for how women can lead the charge in the fight for climate justice. We are passing the mic so we can all learn from these groups, in their own words, about the important work they’re doing to address the unequal impacts of climate change and the health burdens placed on all of us, but especially women and children.
Founded in 2011, Moms Clean Air Force is a nationwide movement of more than 1 million moms and dads united in fighting air pollution and the climate crisis to protect the health and future of our children. We envision a safe, stable, and equitable future where all children breathe clean air. We center our work around equitable solutions for addressing these issues, and are fighting for Justice in Every Breath.
For ten years, we have advocated for clean vehicles, stronger protections from pollution from oil and gas operations, reduced mercury emissions from coal fired power plants, robust standards for particulate pollution, better standards for toxic chemicals, and more.
Currently, our largest campaign is centered around supporting policies and legislation at all levels of government to transition diesel-powered school buses to zero emissions electric school bus fleets. In the US, approximately 480,000 school buses transport over 25 million children to school. Most buses run on dirty diesel engines, spewing pollution that causes cancer, triggers asthma attacks, and makes climate change worse.
We are already seeing movement in Congress to address the problem of polluting school buses, with the recent introduction of the Clean School Bus Act in both the House and Senate. This act establishes a grant program at the Department of Energy (DOE) to replace diesel school buses with electric school buses, invest in charging infrastructure, and support transportation workforce development. Centered around equity, this bill prioritizes support for lower-income students.
Moms Clean Air Force will never stop fighting for equitable solutions that will put us on a path to climate safety for our children, grand-children, and future generations. To learn more and take action, join our membership list.