A few days ago I had the chance to listen online to a meeting by WECAN, Women's Earth and Climate Network. This is another large global network of women determined to bring the voices of women forward, to lead in the creation of a world in which we are all safe and in which our Earth is safe and sustaining us, as well. I was so moved by the brilliance and passion of the women who spoke. Their words outlined a direction that we can take as women, to create the peace and safety that we know is possible, and that we so desperately need. As I listened, I wrote as fast as my fingers could write, and I filled 10 pages that describe the kind of world that we World Pulse sisters have been describing to each other from deep in our hearts, through our stories here. WECAN is truly a Sister Organization.
The Webinar was called "Structuring and Economy for People and Planet in the Time of Climate Crisis and COVID-19". These are experienced, wise and determined sisters, speaking out what so many of us hold in our hearts, as the direction we want to take. What was so empowering was to hear these words put forward not as ideas, but as the collective plan, a beautiful path carefully prepared by women determined to see this happen. The entire discussion may soon be available on their site, but in case you don't have time, or somehow cannot listen to the entire meeting, I want to bring you the highlights just so that you know that women are stepping forward together to create the world that we dream of. And that already these women are standing together with the intention that this, and no less than this, is what needs to be in place now.
No surprise to discover that Neema Namadamu, our sister from the DRC, and Jensine Larsen our beloved CEO have been involved in this Organization for some time.
The speakers outlined this plan:
We acknowledge what is happening,
We recognize what everyone needs,
That there is no more business as usual,
That we invest in an economy based on the environment and the needs of people.
That we undo the dominant culture’s disrespect for nature and each other, in particular Indigenous people, people of colour, women, and the land.
That “we are all in this, but that we are not in this evenly”.
The news that a Feminist Renew Deal is in place in Hawaii, a blueprint to follow.
That the road to economic equality should not, must not be on women's bodies,
That we must stop extracting fossil fuels from the Earth.
That we must stop bailing out these companies.
That the Earth herself has rights. The right not to be used to earn money.
That the Earth is our “Commons”, what we share in common with each other.
That it is a gift to be able to live on her and that she is not for sale.
That people are not to lose their land, or have land ruined.
That we develop a new relationship with the Earth. That natural laws are not negotiable.
That we invest in community, and create the way to a new relationship with the Earth.
That migrants are not disposable people, that the farmers are essential and that we develop an economic system that gives life. That we do not allow our governments to basically save themselves at our expense. That we stop producing anything artificial.
That we recognize the generosity of women, how much we continually give without expectation of return.
That we recognize what Indigenous people have said all along, that the gift is to be able to have reciprocity with the environment, and that we must respect it and be in gratitude, paying attention to create balance. That we look to Indigenous cultures that traditionally give gifts to the land and to each other.
They questioned who exactly has access to what they need, and who is being considered expendable. The people in India walking hundreds of miles to get home, seen only as labour in the eyes of the wealthy. The elderly described as living useless lives, and the shift through colonialism to exploitation and domination. The recognition that this is not mothers, people of colour, people of various genders, people who are not rich. And that the people who are rich are getting richer.
They described the exploitation of Africa by global excavation and that much of the work being done still involves slavery.
They call for a look at who has suffered and ask us all to see the way to a new reality. To identify what work is keeping us alive. The unpaid work by women, and the others at low pay, farmers, healthcare and other essential workers. That we shift from patriarchal policies and put love at the centre. That from here on, no one is left under the bus. No one is to be sacrificed. That we prepare for large scale change. A feminist road to life that is restorative. With gender nonconforming people in the foreground. That we have body autonomy. That we get rid of gendered division such as women's work, and the expectation that home labour is free.
That we examine how we are treating people and how we are treating the Earth. And that we make reparations. That everyone is recognized, valued and happy. That there are no more sacrifices, no one, nor the Earth.
And that as we move forward we agree that people not get richer at the expense of people who are poor. That governments stop creating debt by handing money to rich corporations, and we use Credit Unions, who deserve our business as they invest the money back into the community.
There was a call for the end of colonialism, with a return to sovereignty, as we are out of alignment with Earth, and a need to return to traditional ways. To develop food security, to be in ceremony with our sacred Earth and build a new era with solar power, wind power, water power, natural ways. To breathe clean air, to live on a clean lands and to transition to a way that supports life.
That there are countries such as Bhutan that build on a Gross National Happiness Index GNHI instead of Gross National Product GNP. That some countries are built on our well-being, not for the benefit of a very few.
The questions were put. Who should the economy serve and what are our interconnections? Is leadership multiracial, multigenerational, grassroots-led and feminist? Is leadership in place to ensure that land is respected, that women are in ongoing positions of this leadership and that women will be free,?
This is what was being envisioned so recently by dedicated sisters, in a sister organization. The meeting was electric, profound, all encompassing, loving, and female. We are many, and we are not alone. I hope that reading this you will be encouraged. This is a time that calls for transformational change. It is only when we are all free, and have what we need, the food, the shelter, the water, the clean air, the complete respect for women and girls, the expectation and freedom to be gentle as men and boys, the freedom and ability to choose to live the lives we want, and living on this Earth, cared for in a sacred way, that we can sit back and know, and celebrate together that our work in this transformation is complete.