Dar Si Hmad for Development, Education and Culture is an independent nonprofit organization founded in 2010 promoting local culture and sustainable initiatives through education and the integration of scientific ingenuity in Southwest Morocco. We operate North Africa's largest fog harvesting project, providing villages with access to potable water. Our Water School and Girls' E-Learning Programs build capacity in the Anti-Atlas Mountains. Through our Ethnographic Field School, researchers and students engage with local communities in Agadir, Sidi Ifni, and the rural Aït Baamrane region for meaningful cross-cultural exchange.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The People's Climate March and Violence against Women

On Sunday 29 November, the day before the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) kicks off in Paris, cities around the world participated in The People's Climate March.

In Agadir, Surfrider (one of Dar Si Hmad's partner associations dedicated to marine environmental protection and education) organized a march. Hundreds of students from scout and school assocations, citizens, tourists, and journalists joined together to make their voices heard. They were joined by Dar Si Hmad staff and volunteers fighting against climate change and for environmental sustainability.
In honor of the People's Climate March and upcoming Paris talks, Dar Si Hmad's fifth of 16 Days preventing Violence against Women highlights the gendered issues of climate change.

People gather in Agadir for the People's Climate March

Climate change disproportionately affects vulnerable populations. Persons living in the most developed countries consume most of the Earth's resources and burn the greatest proportion of fossil fuels. Their high levels of economic security and political mobility mean that they can easily adapt to the negative impacts of climate change. Conversely, those living in extreme poverty use far fewer resources and are thus contributing minimally to human-induced climate change effects but have less capacity for adaptation. The risks of climate change are borne by those who have not caused it.

Climate change is increasing the likelihood of disasters such as floods and hurricanes around the world. Disasters, in turn, increase the risk of violence against women as increased poverty leads to additional social stress and destroyed infrastructure remove safe spaces.

The infrastructural damage and forced migration caused by climate change-induced disasters also creates significant harm to systems of water for sanitation and hygiene. WASH has implications for violence against women, as we saw yesterday on Day 4.

Beyond disasters, the more everyday issues of pollution and environmental degradation place an undue burden on women. Rising pollution increases rates of illness; women are often responsible for caring for the sick. The overuse of resources makes it more difficult for women to access the water, food, and fuel they need to care for homes and families.

The disruptions, increased poverty, and social risk caused by climate change and environmental degradation also further diminish the likelihood that women are able to work outside the home or generate an income of their own, decreasing their economic security and personal empowerment.

Climate change is largely preventable and the result of inequalities in human systems. It is caused by the misuse of our planet’s resources and a lack of concern for our neighbors and future generations. In short, climate change and environmental degradation is violence – against women, and against us all.

This post is part of Dar Si Hmad’s 2015 #16Days Campaign to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

For more on the links between climate change and violence against women, read this blog from Jagoda Munic, Chair of Friends of the Earth International.

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