The Service of Hope
“Isn’t it wonderful that nobody need to waste a single moment before starting to improve the world”
Hope is my cornerstone.
I am an eternal optimist. Inherited from my father, bolstered by an enduring light and cemented by trust, hope is my guidepost. When darkness threatens to overcome, and the world seems destined for disaster, I remain hopeful, in large part because of the incredible people I am honored to know.
I had the privilege of attending an event this week, held in a private home in Superior, Colorado entitled, Women at the Crossroads: Human Rights, Security and Climate Change. This unique and thought provoking event highlighted the work of three organizations doing work at the intersection of gender, environment and peace and security: Global Green Grants, Urgent Action Fund and Our Secure Future, a new initiative of the One Earth Future Foundation.
This complex nexus is getting more and more attention with research underscoring the impact of environmental degradation and disaster on security and women, specifically. Primarily responsible throughout the world for sourcing water, fuel for cooking and heating, and food for their families, women have a tremendous challenge and need to create more sustainable solutions.
According to UNWomenWatch
“In many contexts, women are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than men-primarily as they constitute the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent for their livelihood on natural resources that are threatened by climate change…Furthermore, they face social, economic and political barriers that limit their coping capacity…when coupled with unequal access to resources and to decision-making processes, limited mobility places women in rural areas in a position where they are disproportionately affected by climate change.
It is important to remember, however, that women are not only vulnerable to climate change but they are also effective actors or agents of change in relation to both mitigation and adaptation.”
While Global Green Grants, Urgent Action Fund and Our Secure Future approach this intersection differently, they each find commonality in messages from their local partners around the world. Over the past few years, all three organizations have received feedback that little progress on issues of climate change or conflict can be made without greater equality and without the engagement of women’s voices and leadership. In response to this need, they gathered at Women at the Crossroads and have committed to collaborate to better understand the intersection of these issues and develop real, lasting solutions. A short synopsis of each:
Global Green Grants is the leading environmental fund that supports global grassroots action. We believe local people know best how to address the environmental issues impacting their own lives, so we support communities to protect, restore and transform their environments for a sustainable future.
Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights is a rapid response fund that supports women’s human rights defenders as they create a culture of justice, equality, and peace.
Our Secure Future is a new initiative of the One Earth Future Foundation, which works to strengthen the Women, Peace and Security movement for a more just, and peaceful future transformed by women’s full participation.
Each of these organizations is united by hope; hope in helping build a more empathetic culture, hope for their beneficiaries, hope for change and hope that their work is supporting and empowering.
Kate Kroeger, the Executive Director of Urgent Action Fund shared stories of grantees imbued with grit and tenacity through which she is inspired to continue the, at times toilsome, work of rapid response grant making.
Ursula Miniszewski, the Program and Development Officer of Gender and Environment at Global Green Grants supports indigenous women in their work to protect land and communities from impending threats, bolstered by their strength, she holds hope that transformation is possible.
The Senior Advisor for Women, Peace and Security for Our Secure Future, Sahana Dharmapuri, is committed to amplifying women’s voices and creating solution-oriented frameworks. As such, she gathered ideas generated at the event to present to the US Civil Society Working Group.
In this particularly nuanced conversation, it gives me tremendous hope to learn about and connect with organizations on the forefront of research and practical application. Despite the challenges, the concerns for personal safety and the tumult, each of these organizations and their partners are committed to making their lives, the lives of their children and their community more secure. That is the service and the light of hope. As Desmond Tutu put it, “hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness”.
What is your source of hope and how does it serve you and those around you?
Interest in exploring these topics more deeply? Comment or message me directly. To learn more about Global Green Grants and to continue this conversation, check out an event co-hosted by Global Green Grants and The Global Fund for Women on Thursday October 6th at the Posner Center in Denver featuring Mexican indigenous rights activist, Bettina Cruz, on The Fight Against Climate Change and Land Rights in Latin America.