SHE Changes Climate short film and discussion

Earlier this month on international women’s day, we met as a network in person and online to watch the short film by SHE Changes Climate. You can watch the film here, and we would highly recommend catching up on the video.

SHE Changes Climate is an organisation which advocates for increasing levels of female representation at all levels of climate decision making. Their website says this about their aims.

“We are committed to ensuring women, in all their diversity, are able to make the critical decisions to save humanity. We do this by influencing governments, raising awareness of inequality and collaborating with other organisations looking for greater equality in climate negotiations. We campaign for the equal inclusion of women at top levels of all climate negotiations, and for the implementation of the updated Gender Action Plan (GAP) from COP25 in 2019. Specifically, we call on officials to deliver on their commitment to promote gender equality in the UNFCCC process.”

More about their work can be found on their website

Thank you to everyone who came along to the session and participated in the subsequent discussion. Below we highlight some of the points raised in the discussion;

  • The documentary does a fantastic job of giving a platform to a diverse group of voices and opinions. Female, BAME and indigenous voices are highlighted throughout the film, and a range of profession were represented from academia, NGOs and Indigenous activists. It was commented that it is fairly unusual to see Indigenous peoples voices being given a platform, and it helps to personalise and put a face on some of the climate impacts which are happening as a result of the climate crisis.
  • Incorporating indigenous knowledge into science. This was a reoccurring topic in the film, and something that people attending had some experience with. So often, experience shows that Indigenous knowledge is treated as somehow ‘different’ to quantitative scientific knowledge. Some attendees shared their experience of incorporating more qualitative knowledge, particularly in areas of marine biology and human geography.
  • One particularly helpful insight was to split climate factors into five F’s- Food, Fashion, Finance, Fuel and Friendships. Fashion is commonly seen as a female dominated industry which is doing a lot of harm to the planet. The film framed this in an interesting manner, and rather than placing blame on women for the industry as was some peoples concern, it instead discussed positives of how women can help the industry and enact change. This simplification can also make climate more accessible to the general public. I think it is encouraging that friendships, and the importance of communities and relationships are highlighted in tackling the climate crisis.
  • Finally, a theme throughout the film and ensuing discussion was around the idea of having gender balance at the top of decision making. SHE Changes Climate ran a campaign in the run up to COP26 calling for 50:50 leadership in the UK lead conference. While this was not successful, the target was more to raise awareness of the inbalance, and did result in an additional three women being appointed to the previously all male-team from the UK for COP26. While a far cry from 50:50, this is a significant step in the right direction and enacting change. SHE Changes Climate said of the campaign “But with women at the top, we have the best chance of building an extraordinary future that is better for all of humanity and the planet we live on.”