READER: Addressing Climate and Economic Justice from the Ground Up!

What if our climate crisis, our water, food, and health crisis were interconnected? Then we could address them ALL with solutions from the ground up!

On May 24, AEOO gathered some of the earthiest (and smartest!) women we know to talk about sustaining our weather, our water, and our food. This talk provided solutions for climate change, rooted in current extractive agricultural & water policy, and resource-grabbing for private profit. It’s a huge set of topics, but these were just the women to help us make sense of it.

Below is the video and the curriculum from the event for further reading, exploring, and sharing! Don’t forget to check out our Resource Library for even more feminist economic goodness.

(PS: The conversation/webinar series will continue. Check out our events here!)

Meet the Panelists

Didi Pershouse, an AEOO board member, and founder of the Land and Leadership Initiative, an online school, moderated the conversation. She is the author of: The Ecology of Care: Medicine, Agriculture, and the Quiet Power of Human and Microbial Communities; and Understanding Soil Health and Watershed Function.

Dr. Sabine O’Hara is Dean and Director of Landgrant Programs for the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences of the University of the District of Columbia. Widely known for her expertise in sustainable economic development and global education, she’s a former president of the International Society for Ecological Economics.

Monique Verdin is with WECAN (Women’s Earth Climate Action Network), their Program Leader for the Indigenous Food Sovereignty Program for the Mississippi River Delta Region. Author of Return to Yakni Chitto: Houma Migrations, she’s an interdisciplinary storyteller, documenting the complex relationship between environment, culture, and climate in southeast Louisiana.

Gwendolyn Hallsmith is an AEOO board member, author of The Key to Sustainable Cities and co-author of Creating Wealth: Growing Local Economies with Local Currencies. She is also founder of Global Initiative and Vermonters for a New Economy. She’s currently organizing a Regeneration Revolution with earth-friendly, anti-racist principles.

We also shared a short video about Tope Fajinbesi of Dodo Farms in Maryland’s Agricultural Reserve. She’s an accountant, teaching at the Institute for Applied Agriculture and sits on the board of Future Harvest, another organization working to sustain life from the ground up.

Definitions + Basics

  • Soil: a dynamic ecosystem where earth, air, water, and life meet. Soil is classified as clay, silt, and sand, depending on the soil texture, and has five ingredients — minerals, gas, water, organic matter, and living organisms. Organic matter comes from decomposing plant, animal, and microbial life; high levels are desirable for agriculture.
  • Agriculture: the art and practice of planting crops and raising animals for food, begun about 12,000 years ago. Agriculture is the backbone of any economy, providing food and livlihoods. Two billion people farm for subsistence, but industrial agriculture, mono-cropping and global trade now dominate, raising big environmental concerns.
  • Carbon: an element essential to all life on earth, continually moving in and out of our atmosphere and the bodies of all living things. Plants absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air as they photosynthesize; carbon returns to soil or water when life decomposes.
  • Climate Crisis: Before humans began burning oil and gas, our atmosphere’s rate of CO2 was about 280 parts per million. CO2 is a heat-trapping (greenhouse) gas, and safe amounts per million are thought to be 350 parts per million; we are now at 419. Since the 2015 Paris Agreement the top five oil producers have spent $1000 million on misleading lobbying and branding. The five hottest years on record were from 2014 to 2018.
  • Carbon sequestration is a method removing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in a fixed molecule in soil, oceans, or plants. An organism or landscape storing carbon is called a carbon sink. An organism or landscape emitting carbon is a carbon source. An organism or landscape can be a sink or a source depending on how it is managed.

More on Climate, Water, Soil, and Health

Check out these books by Didi Pershouse: The Ecology of Care: Medicine, Agriculture, and the Quiet Power of Human and Microbial Communities; and Understanding Soil Health and Watershed Function.

Find Didi’s courses and those of other climate activists at The Land and Leadership Initiative (LALI) at Teachable. LALI provides support and educational opportunities for current and emerging leaders, helping them to address society’s major challenges — food, water, climate, conflict, health — by collaborating with nature and each other. Here are just two examples:

Here’s a conversation with Dr. Sabine O’Hara, the founding Dean of the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). UDC is the only public university in Washington DC, and our only urban land grant university. As Dean, Sabine has developed academic, research and community outreach programs and leads efforts to build cutting edge models for urban agriculture and sustainability. Also look for her foundational article in Counting on Marilyn Waring: New Advances in Feminist Economics, 2014. M. Bjørnholt and A. McKay, eds. Demeter Press. UK and Canada.“Everything Needs Care: Toward a Relevant Contextual View of the Economy.”

Monique Verdin is the WECAN (Women’s Earth Climate Action Network) Program Leader for the Indigenous Food Sovereignty Program for the Mississippi River Delta Region. Her Return to Yakni Chitto: Houma Migrations, a photographic personal story, documents the complex and artful relationship between the original people of southeast Louisiana and a changing environment, culture, and climate.

Gwendolyn Hallsmith, an AEOO board member, wrote The Key to Sustainable Cities and co-authored Creating Wealth: Growing Local Economies with Local Currencies. She’s currently organizing a Regeneration Revolution whose earth-friendly, anti-racist principles are linked here.

Check out her article, Show Me the Money: How Will We Pay for the Green New Deal? And click here to learn more about the Regeneration Revolution.

Water health is in crisis, but women have long been drawing attention to it, as this article by AEOO’s Rickey Gard Diamond shows in her column, Women Unscrewing Screwnomics at Ms. Magazine: “Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink.”

Read Erin Brockovich’s book Superman’s Not Coming: Our National Water Crisis and What We the People Can Do About It, for practical advice and inspiring stories of women water protectors.

AEOO Partner, WILPF-US (Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom), and its Earth Democracy committee has recently co-created a website to help communities identify water risks they face due to US Dept. of Defense bases nearby. These remain a danger to soil, water, and human health even after they’re closed. Military Poisons features news of local activism.

Future Harvest: Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture is just one example of a local movement to support farmers whose livelihoods create healthy soil, water, and food. Look for collaborations like this one near you — or help create one!

Turn in your gas lawnmower and create your own carbon sink with advice from Global Landscapes. It’s good for the bees and birds too!

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An Economy of Our Own Alliance

An Economy of Our Own Alliance

Virginia Woolf said a woman needs a room of her own. We think women need an economy of their own, too.