Empowering

March’s theme for our year of sustainability based on this plan is about empowering women. I love that. I love that in a year of mostly focusing specifically on environmental practices, we are taking the time to talk about gender and race and how environment is tied in with all of life.

I got really into this month’s theme and spent some time today reading two academic articles, one on gender and one on race. About 35 pages each, I took some points from each that I’ll write about later in the month.

Most of the suggested activities this month involve some sort of financial investment. Because a huge goal of mine is to make sustainability an inclusive culture, I know we can’t all make financial investments in women and people of color this month. So, ask yourself: What investments CAN you make in women and people of color this month?

I’ve been brainstorming all week about ways we can support women and I think learning about how women, the poor, and POC receive the bulk of environmental distress is a good starting point. If you have access to this blog and you’re reading it, I can assume you have the privilege of computer access and a couple minute to read. So let’s start there!

Plan on reading the blogs I post this month because I’m going to do my best to explain this huge topic in a way that’s accessible. I’m still learning about it too because the relationship we have as a society with nature is so intricate and I learn new connections all the time. I learned a few today reading those articles I mentioned.

If you need something to do this weekend, I would like to recommend going to Netflix and watching a documentary called “True Cost.” I think it does a great job, within about an hour and a half, of explaining ways textile production affects rural farmers and women of color. And that’s just one example.

The challenge suggests supporting a teacher by donating to a classroom this month, so do that if you can as well. Share links to education-related fundraisers on your social media. If you see flaws in the education system, write your representatives about it and suggest ways you’d like to see it repaired. If you are religious, might you pray for a teacher you know? Pray that children are learning to be good stewards of the earth and to care for each other along with their academics. Pray that children across the world are given access to fair education.

Mostly, let’s listen to people who aren’t like us. That’s what I want to get out of March’s theme. I want men to read articles and books by women and listen to interviews with women and listen to female-fronted bands and have conversations with their female friends.  I want white women to listen to women of color because we have different experiences in many ways and can likely relate in others. I want us to hear from our peers with open ears and tight lips.

I focus a lot on the environment because I know about it. I have studied it, I write to my government officials about it, I practice sustainability on my own time and I share it with others. But the environment is tied into everything else; it’s tied to feminism and race relations and poverty and any other thing you might care about.

So this month, I want to learn about that and how my environmental decisions affect YOUR passion and the social movements dear to you. Maybe you don’t have a “thing” and maybe you think there are too many problems and it’s overwhelming to focus on one and it’s easier to ignore everything. I understand and I’ve been there. If you’re overwhelmed, don’t jump in full force. Maybe just listen and turn it off when you need. But keep coming back.

That was kind of a long way of saying that I’m very excited for the next few weeks. Because this is a different type of environmental approach, it’s a new discussion I’m having and I will end up rambling A LOT. That always happens when I learn new things. Hope that’s okay. 🙂

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