Women, Our Environments and Justice

Women, Our Environments and Justice is a project that aims to explore issues of environmental justice from the perspectives of women of colour in the UK.

We recognise that the same power relations behind local environmental injustices are at play in global issues of climate justice and environmental destruction. A particular aim of this project is to work in empowering ways with people who are most affected by, but not the dominant voice in local environmental justice struggles. Through working with communities that live near polluting forms of energy infrastructure, as well as with communities where women have travelled as refugees and asylum seekers from countries at risk from devastation impacts of climate change, we hope to share stories and understanding of the power dynamics that drive climate injustices and support communities wanting to act in self-defence.

by Favianna Rodriguez Giannoni

We have been working with AMINA, the Muslim Women’s Resource Centre, to facilitate a series of popular education workshops in Glasgow and are looking to also run a series in Manchester and in London. Through these workshops we aim to situate global issues of climate justice in a local context to make connection and expose underlying power dynamics. We also aim to support ourselves and collaborators to work in empowering ways by hold trainings in popular education and by providing on going practical support to communities of women who are inspired to take action in their local areas on issues of environmental and climate justice, through linking them to wider activist networks and providing tailored trainings depending on needs expressed.

*Listen to our Stories for Resistance and Change*

The other element of our project is research, as environmental justice as a concept is not very established in the UK and we want to gain a deeper understanding of it’s reality here. To do this we are gathering oral histories from 5/6 key inspiring women of colour who work in the area of racial and  environmental justice. These stories will feed into the workshops we facilitate with communities as well as into the SWS environmental justice online map. The stories that emerge from the community workshops will also feed into this map.

Why women?
We believe we live in a gendered society. Issues of power and gender are complex, as issues of race and class also change relations of equality. However we believe that to work towards equality and empowerment, we must make specific space for women. There are limited spaces in British society that are dedicated to women and environmental justice so SWS is filling that gap. We are also conscious of the different experience of women from differing cultures and hope that by only working with communities through collaborators from those communities, we will be able to interact conscientiously.

May 2011 Glasgow workshops report for funders (ESRC)