The 11th of December has been the Gender Day at the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP24). The decision to dedicate an entire day to the issue of gender is inspired by the Gender Action Plan (GAP), established at the COP23 in Bonn and disseminated with the hashtag #Actonthegap. The aim of the initiative is to raise awareness about the importance of gender-relevant policies and climate actions and to highlight female leadership in the activity against climate change. It is necessary to ask ourselves questions about the traditional idea of work and power relations, as well as to consider cross-sectoral issues such as human rights and the participation of local and indigenous communities. These considerations reproduce the concept of FairTransition, contained in the preamble of the Paris Agreement, which intends to enforce the rights of all workers, including women, in the transition to more renewable forms of energy. In fact, great importance is given today to the female perspective to transform the structure of society and the role of women. Furthermore it has a big weight also the process of making women independent through the teaching of necessary and “renewable” techniques.
1. The CEED (Center for Energy, Ecology and Development) – PhilippinesRepresented today by Avril de Torres, the CEED is a Filipino research center dedicated to studying a more sustainable and more accessible approach to everyone. It is related in particular to the challenges in energy and the environment. Attention to the gender problem and the right transition in developing countries is particularly crucial as the use of coal is often invoked as a legitimate choice for development. The companies of the North of the world, in fact, come here to invest massively in the sector. The CEED seeks to stimulate a more democratic and sustainable energy transformation, helping, at the same time, adaptation to a new system. Thanks to their local knowledge about resource management and sustainable practices they are able to expand the increasingly crucial role of women on an individual and collective level.
2. “Yalla Let’s Bike” Come on Let’s Bike Initiative – SyriaThe main problem presented to Sarah Zein in Damascus was the effort to move easily and safely. This led her to create an initiative to redefine traditional roles and promote cycling as a healthy and ecological transport method. In Syria, however, it remains socially unacceptable for women to choose the bike as a vehicle because of the belief that this would endanger their virginity. Due to the increase in security checkpoints around the city and armed attacks, the disastrous state of the streets and conservative social norms, moving without cars has became increasingly difficult. Since 2014, “Yalla Let’s Bike” has involved 4,000 women, participants, teachers and workers, and has increased of the 40% the sale of bicycles to women. The project involves the Syrians in the restructuring of cycle paths, the creation of bicycle parking and bicycle rides for peace, where they protest cycling together. All this by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
3. OLIO – EnglandThis app represents a real innovation and is unique in its kind. Saasha Celestial-one and Tessa Clarke, inspired by their role as mothers, founded the first service of sharing food among neighbors. Having been born in poor neighborhoods and having experienced the problem of hunger and poverty, the two women based their mission on eliminating food waste. Through the connection between families, local shops and cafes, it was possible to redistribute in the community what was not sold or remained in the refrigerators. Food waste is one of the major problems that exacerbate climate change and the third source of GHG (greenhouse gas). OLIO has involved up to now 400,000 users, encouraging more and more people to download the application for free. By sharing photos of the food that otherwise would have been thrown away, it has saved more than a million kilometers of car travel and 409 tons of CO2.
4. HelpUsGreen – IndiaIt is usual practice for Indians to offer flowers to the Gods. These flowers are then thrown periodically into the Ganges from temples and mosques. Throughout the South of Asia more than 8 million flowers full of pesticides contribute to the pollution of the sacred rivers. The waters of the Ganges are a drinking source for 420 million people and, thus, the possibility of spreading diseases among the inhabitants increases considerably. The initiative experimented in India was the first to find a creative solution to recycle in a economic, but also profitably way, the massive waste of flowers and plants. In fact, Flowercycling employs many women in the daily collection and production of organic fertilizers, natural incenses and biodegradable materials, including vegetable leather. Many female workers were first employed as latrines and sewers and, for this reason, they had to face risks of social stigma and health. The first advantage of the project is therefore for local communities and women, who are employed in safe jobs that contribute to livelihood.
5. Earthspark International – HaitiThe Haitian initiative is founded and carried out by women who have decided to rebel against the total lack of availability of lighting and electricity on the island. The term used is “feminist electrification” and is committed to forming a large team of women in planning, training, use and support energy services. The biggest damage to the Haitian economy and lifestyle is the almost impossible access to electricity and the money spent in low-energy forms like candles and kerosene, which lead to air pollution. The first successful business model was called Enèji Pwòp and it built a particular grid of solar panels almost as large as a city. With the aim of achieving total abandonment of other forms of energy, this project has eliminated 19,000 tonnes of CO2 and black coal emissions. For local communities, the light has literally arrived when access to electricity has allowed a significant improvement in the lifestyle of the population from the social and economic point of view, as well as for their health.
6. Momentum for Change: Women for Results – UNFCCCIn 2012, the UNFCCC Secretariat launched a project called “Momentum for Change: Women for Results” to show examples of activities that demonstrate leadership and participation from women around the world. Many of these initiatives have highlighted concrete measurable results at national and international level. The UNFCCC, in collaboration with WiSER (Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy) has supported new companies and commercial solutions for access to energy, water and food, all respecting the renewable. Some examples of entrepreneurs that we have proposed to you, with good will and dedication, have contributed positively to the improvement of their community and the world. For this, they were chosen as winners.