Women hit by climate change head to Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON Mon Mar 8, 2010 6:36pm EST

The U.S. Capitol Dome is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington January 14, 2010. Picture taken January 14. file photo. REUTERS/Larry Downing

The U.S. Capitol Dome is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington January 14, 2010. Picture taken January 14. file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Women hit hard by the effects of climate change -- drought, floods, sea level rise and crop failure -- gathered on Monday to plan a Capitol Hill push for U.S. legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate "witnesses" from the United States, Peru, Senegal, Uganda and other countries aim to tell their stories to members of Congress on Tuesday in a lobbying effort timed to follow Monday's International Women's Day.

Beyond trying to cap climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions, the women said they want to make the strong link between poverty and climate change, and to stress that poor women suffer disproportionately as a result, so adapting to climate change is key.

"Nature is disrupted," Marisa Marcavillaca of Peru said through a translator. "It rains when it shouldn't rain. We have freezing temperatures when we shouldn't have freezing temperatures. Because our yields are down, it is difficult to feed our children."

Warmer temperatures in her farming area have spurred plant diseases, and the quality of agricultural seeds has degenerated, cutting into local women's ability to earn a living, she said.

Because many women in poor countries are farmers, and because their traditional tasks tend to use lots of water, they are often the first to feel the consequences of climate change, said Rebecca Pearl of the Global Gender and Climate Alliance.

"WE BLAMED GOD"

When agricultural productivity drops due to changing climate in Peru, Marcavillacca said, young people in the area are leaving for cities, "which means that our culture is being dismembered."

Constance Okollet of Uganda said she first noted a change in her farming village in 2007, when floods swept away most homes. Because her home still stood, she took in neighbors until there were 29 people staying in her house.

"We didn't know what was happening," Okollet said, wiping away tears at the memory. "We blamed God."

When the floods returned in 2009, with "drastic rain," hailstorms and wind, destroying schools, contaminating the water supply and disrupting planting seasons, Okollet learned that human activities are one cause of climate change. The floods were followed by a eight-month drought.

"We want reduced emissions," she said. "Let them have some plans for adaptation so that we get our seasons back."

Vore Gana Seck of Senegal said she lives in a fishing village where the beach has shrunk from a width of about 50 yards (meters) to about one yard, due to sea level rise.

Ground water is becoming salty as the waters rise, making the soil saline and hard to cultivate, Seck said.

Sharon Hanshaw of Biloxi, Mississippi, didn't think about climate change until after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005.

"Everything I knew changed," Hanshaw said. "When I went back (home after the storm), you don't see no replica of life -- and that's climate change ... It doesn't matter if you're in a foreign country or in the United States."

Hanshaw and others want global action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, looking for progress at an international climate meeting in Cancun, Mexico, in December.

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (6)
BHOShatOnUS wrote:
Get each and every one’s name. These are either the dumbest women in the country or they are trying to get access to the private parts of Obama or Gore, or both, by any means necessary. And call Guiness, because this will no doubt be a contender for the largest group of homely women ever gathering under a false pretense.

Gals, there is no global climate change other than the four seasons. The hot and cold changes you are sensing are your ovaries failing. Or did you think the conference was about how climax change affected your lives? By the way, how many pounds of CO2 did you generate going to Washington?

Mar 08, 2010 6:56pm EST  --  Report as abuse
sdlawrence wrote:
Climate Change, the Women’s Issue – Reuters has hit a new low. Reuters used to be so even keel. What happened?

So a handful of human anecdotes, the truthfulness of whose regional, anecdotal story we don’t know, have become The Voices of Global Women, who are, ostensibly, hit hardest by “climate change”.

Yes, the circumstances and needs of these people are dire and demand immediate attention. The solution is to slow that CO2 production down rapidly, so that the climate can in turn stop changing rapidly, and these people’s lives can return to normal again!

We’ve hit the trifecta, Lunacy, Insanity, Moonbatness, and Reuters was there to give “the issue” serious attention.

Mar 09, 2010 4:03am EST  --  Report as abuse
bck555 wrote:
Good grief Reuters. You actually are serious?

Mar 09, 2010 8:27am EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Photo

California's historic drought

With reservoirs at record lows, California is in the midst of the worst drought in decades.  Slideshow