For the first time in anyone’s memory Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom – US Section branches will be standing together on one day, with one message, in 23 cities. More than half of the 40 branches in the US will take the unusual step of coordinating their message to point the public to the often ignored truth: that climate change and environmental degradation are inextricably linked with human rights abuses, economic injustice and militarism that produces endless wars. WILPF will participate in and organize Earth Day events across America will include that message.
MADISON WILPF will hold an Earth Day Solidarity Rally on April 22 – 1pm – at Lisa Link Peace Park, 452 State Street, Madison. Featured will be the “Call for Peace” Drum and Dance Company, songs, poetry, art, speeches. 2pm join the Science March as it arrives at State Street and ends at the Capitol around 4pm. MADISON WI WILPF Contact: Karen Pope [email protected] 715-59-0272
Why is solidarity so rare in WILPF? “Our branches have a strong independent streak”, notes WILPF US President Mary Hanson Harrison. “And that’s a good thing usually, because it means we lead from the grassroots and each branch has the opportunity to pursue our Mission in ways that inspire action on the local level. We work from a Local to Global perspective, connecting global events to the real world issues our members face in their communities.”
But with so many attacks on the values that proudly progressive WILPF women hold dear, it’s time to speak with one voice on the most critical issues. This Earth Day, their message is clear: Peace & Planet Before Profit.
Twenty-seven of the branches are using social media posts and photos of their members holding thematic banners and signs. Twenty-three of the branches are planning to hold their own Earth Day themed events or collaborate with their local community events, in order to get the word out to the public: unregulated corporate greed threatens our democracy, will lead to more war, more environmental ruin, faster climate catastrophe and extreme weather events, more human rights abuses, a consolidation of power and a transfer of wealth from the middle class to the 1%. Greed threatens life on the planet in very real ways.
Branches are collaborating in many locations with organizations like NRDC, 350.org, Sierra Club, Marches for Science around the country, Food & Water Watch,, Interfaith Power & Light and National Family Farm Coalition, as well as their usual allies Veterans for Peace, Code Pink, American Friends Service Committee, and Unitarian Universalist Social Action Committees. Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom – US Section Connecting economic justice and human rights to the roots of war since 1915.
“Americans are not making the connection between our environmental crises and the increasing budget for the military,” Hanson Harrison notes. “The US military is a huge contributor to the climate crisis and one of the largest users of petroleum on the planet. The Obama administration authorized a trillion dollars for the upkeep and maintenance of old nuclear weapons and creation of newer smaller, more portable and more powerful nuclear weapons, even though our military leaders have said these weapons are largely unusable, given the long term planetary consequences for a nuclear weapons attack. These trillions of dollars could be going towards creating green jobs, subsidies to support sustainable green energy, ending the whole nuclear chain from uranium mining on sacred native lands to radioactive waste storage issues.”
Robin Lloyd co-leads the DISARM Committee of WILPF US. She notes that climate change and extreme droughts have caused resource wars in parts of the world which are now experiencing warfare and huge refugee flight. Refugees fleeing war torn countries and nations with extreme weather or drought and famine are easy targets for human trafficking operators and other human rights violations. So CLIMATE JUSTICE+WOMEN+PEACE are all connected.
Nancy Price, coordinator of the WILPF National EARTH DEMOCRACY Committee explains that WILPF has produced informative Infographic cards which connect the dots between CLIMATE JUSTICE+WOMEN+PEACE. “Water shortages, extreme weather, refugee flight and the challenges of protecting children or vulnerable elders in areas of war or conflict always are always hardest on women, the poor, and people of color. But we don’t always see the connections, according to Price. “These convenient colorful cards explain the issues and suggest actions the public can take to make a difference.”
President Hanson Harrison urges the public “to stand with us on Earth Day wherever they are and demand PEACE & PLANET BEFORE PROFIT. Make your own sign with your location and the theme. Snap a photo of yourself holding the sign and post it on social media. Ask your friends to join you, like and share the photo and take their own!”. As WILPF women across the US remind us, Earth Day is a good time to stand up for Mother Earth. It’s the only planet we’ve got.