Yesterday was the BIG day for Mothers Out Front and other winners of the 2019 United Nations Global Climate Award as we were officially recognized for all we have accomplished and got to share our stories. Amy and I spent the morning rehearsing while Amy’s son, Oliver, patiently listened in and took photos for us.
Amy did a fantastic job representing all the Mothers Out Front members, first in the Facebook live interview and then as she shared her story in the panel discussion. One of the most heartening and hopeful things about being here is meeting the other award recipients in the Women for Results category:
Bijal Brahmbhatt of Mahila Housing SEWA Trust has been working for the last 25 years to engage some of the poorest women in India who live in shanties to organize to get basic sanitation and on climate. The vast majority of the women are illiterate and it takes about 7 to 8 years working with them to address their immediate needs before they start advocating on climate. Their organizing structure is that 220 households are represented by 11 elected women. Bijal’s work is all about leadership development of these women.
Esnath Divasoni one of CAMFED’s young grassroots leaders who is originally from Zimbabwe spent the last four years in Costa Rica working on climate smart agricultural techniques like slow irrigation of crops using plastic bottles inserted into the ground. She is now heading back to Zimbabwe to start an insect farming business to address food security in her country.
Inna Braverman of Eco Wave Power was 23 year old when she started her eco-wave company which will be providing 15% of Gibraltars electricity! She shared her experience as a young female entrepreneur. Women only get 2% of the venture capital in the world and she was advised to let men represent her company in order to succeed: “you can choose women’s equality or profit.” She chose both and advised women never to step down when told to.
Being on stage with Amy, Bijal, Esnath, and Inna, receiving our awards was one of the most moving moments of my life, not only because we were recognized for our work, but because of the solidarity among those of us who are leading in a different way because of our experiences as women in this world. It is clear that this is why Mothers Out Front is successful. As we stood there, I wished that every single one of the moms, allies, and staff, who work so hard every day to grow and mobilize our movement to create the just and livable world we need for all kids, had been standing with us. You certainly were in our hearts and minds and there in spirit.
Though COPs are understood to be important because of negotiations between the world’s nations to set emissions reductions targets, it’s clear that the transformation we need to be enacting to save human civilization and biodiversity is coming from the people the world over and that we are succeeding in making many impactful changes.
I bumped into professor Bill Moomaw from Tuft University who launched the study by 11,000 scientists to declare a climate emergency and present 6 policy goals for addressing it. He told me how much he enjoyed visiting the Lincoln, MA Community Team and re-iterated that the change we need will come from civil society and that we are doing exactly what needs to be done.
After a bit of limelight and glowing in what we have all accomplished and been recognized for, it’s time to get back to work.
With gratitude to UNFCCC Momentum for Change!
See the UNFCC Award Press Release here: https://www.mothersoutfront.org/pr_un_awards_ceremony_celebrates_innovative_climate_solutions