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Women for climate justice to march in Washington, DC

On  Saturday, April 29, a diverse coalition of women’s groups, climate justice organizations and allies will unite to march as a Women for Climate Justice Contingent at the People’s Climate March for Jobs, Justice and the Climate in Washington, DC and in support of local marches happening across the country.

According to Emily Arasim, communications coordinator  of  Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network,  the March comes as “the culmination of strong actions organized by the climate justice, immigrant and refugee rights, indigenous sovereignty, Black Lives Matter and other intersectional movements over the first 100 days of the Trump Administration presidency.”

The Women for Climate Justice Contingent will speak out and take action at the 2017 People’s Climate March “to give voice to women’s disproportionate vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, while also showing the diversity, strength and solutions of global women leaders.”

“The Contingent aims to send a clear message to the US Administration and world governments that, as women, many of whom stand on the frontlines of climate change, we are gravely concerned about the impacts of climate change, and the implications of a US Administration that promotes climate skepticism, advancement of fossil fuels, an extractive economy, environmental racism, bigotry and inequitable treatment of women and girls,” says Arasim.

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A quick call to Sen. Loren Legarda, the No. 1 climate change advocate in this country, confirmed her agreeing with the Washington, DC marchers’ aspirations. She wrote me thus: 

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“The People’s Climate March on April 29 in Washington DC aims to denounce the anti-climate agenda of the current United States  administration. The US is one of the major emitters of greenhouse gases (GHG) and its ratification of the Paris Agreement was a welcome move especially for vulnerable developing nations that bear the brunt of climate change impacts. The administration’s admitted policy direction of allowing the use of more fossil fuel and coal, for instance, would clearly reverse gains made in climate action and affect not only the US but the rest of the world as we battle the effects of a warming planet.

“I welcome the People’s Climate March as a call to action not only for the US but for all nations. We are sounding the alarm on the urgency to act against the climate crisis. The goals of the Paris Agreement, our desire to live in resilient communities, our hope to build a sustainable planet would only be realized through collective action.

“It is unfortunate that there are still climate deniers, but we cannot and must not give up. As temperatures continue to rise, so must we continue to do everything in our capability to solve the climate crisis.”

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Expanding on  Arasim’s call,  Bridget Burns, co-director of Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) expressed:  “When we refer to a just transition away from fossil fuels, we must challenge new industries to also transition away from prevailing power structures and a sexually disaggregated labor force...We  also must continue to grapple with the broader implications of transitioning to low-carbon economies in a just way, including in regards to re-thinking the current sexual division of labor, promoting decent work for women in under-valued fields such as care work; the (social) service sector; sustainable, locally focused agriculture and fisheries; as well as locally governed renewable energies with women participating equally as shareholders, owners, and fairly remunerated workers. We must also tackle issues of land rights, inheritance, and access to credit.” 

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 At the Manila  Golf Club Tuesday, a roomful of many of Manila’s elegant women celebrated the 38th year of founding of Friends for Cultural Concerns of the Philippines, and induction of its new officers. They were, not as yet, preparing themselves for a march for a clean environment, or justice and climate change, but counting the gains their organization have made towards “the development of arts and culture and bringing them closer to the people.” 

The new president, Nonie T. Basilio, remarked in her acceptance speech  that FCCP members and supporters “belong to the literati and glitterati set with discriminating taste, and who are not so easy to please.” (Indeed most of the ladies at the gathering were dressed and made up to the hilt.) But with their cooperation, Nonie said, FCCP established projects, among them expanding their scholarship program for young artists in the visual and performing arts. 

Plans include undertaking  cultural projects such as restoring a cultural heritage, helping or adopting a cultural group, or intensifying the outreach project of bring culture closer to the people through sponsorship  of cultural shows for the grassroots. Nonie told her well-endowed friends: “As I look around I cannot see anyone among you who seems to be suffering from even the mildest case of penury. Instead, what I see are well endowed good Samaritans, who year in and year out open their hearts and pockets to support our cultural and humanitarian endeavors.”

The immediate FCCP past president,  Rose Marie B. Lazaro,  spoke about the organization’s 37th anniversary fund-raising ball at which an amazing and talented Filipina, Christine Allado, was the featured artist. Christine has played lead roles in London’s West End production, and was a guest performer in the entourage of the famous tenor Andrea Boccelli when he came to the Philippines in April.

Early this year, FCCP held a fashion show titled “Fashion and Music,” where FCCP music scholars played their instruments and sang their songs as background music while “the young and not too old but all beautiful FCCP ladies and professional models sashayed in the colorful and elegant creations of our very own Filipino designers.”

Thanks were made to the organization’s active members, including Nene Leonor, FCCP president before Rose Lazaro began her term, the sponsors and benefactors, as well as her family – the Barangay Lazaro – who allowed her to do what she loves, to promote art and culture.

The afternoon’s program was highlighted by the presentation of a P1-million check to Dr. Raul Sunico, president of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Rose Lazaro shared a quotation from St. Francis of Assisi: “The meaning of our life is to find the gifs that God has given us. The mission of our life is to give them all away!”  For sure the ladies in the room do not give all that they have away; but they do give generously.  May their tribe increase.

Email:   dominitorrevillas@gmail.com

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