Naomi Ages published No illusions - but it's long past time for the ERA in ERA Stories 2021-03-16 06:48:28 -0400
I don't have any illusions that passing the ERA will magically bring gender equality to the US. I don't believe passing the ERA will suddenly fix the systemic inequalities and racism that Black women and women of color face every day. But there is no reason for the U.S. Constitution not to prohibit sex-based discrimination. It says a lot about the United States that it doesn't already. All I need to do is look at who opposes the ERA, and why, to understand why the ERA is necessary - but not sufficient - to bring down the patriarchal system that has held women, and especially women of color, back for centuries. I owe a lot to the women who came before me and fought for the ERA, and I owe it to the women around me now to make equal rights more than a slogan, but an inclusive movement that touches every aspect of our lives. --Naomi (I live in Norway and vote (proudly) in New Jersey.)
Women’s History Month - Environmental Defenders
By: Naomi Ages
Greta Thunberg’s name is now synonymous with climate action. The teenage Swedish activist is one of the faces of the global movement to demand a safe climate for people and the planet. But as Thunberg herself points out, she is far from the first, or the only, activist there is. She regularly “passes the mic” to make sure that activists from more marginalized communities have their say. She is one in a long line of women environmental defenders - So in honor of Women’s History Month, the Climate Action Team wants to highlight a few of the women around the world who have been doing the hard, often dangerous work of environmental protection and seeking environmental justice. It is a privilege to be able to introduce:
Cáceras was a Honduran environmental activist, indigenous leader, and organizer. She was brutally murdered in her home in 2016, almost certainly for her longtime environmental activism, and in particular, the opposition she led against a hydroelectric dam on the sacred Gualcarque river (executives from the company were ruled to have ordered her killing). Cáceras was a Leneca (an indigenous group in Honduras) leader, and founded Copinh (Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras) - Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, dedicated to fighting illegal logging and other corporate environmental degradation in traditional Leneca lands. Cáceras won the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015. You can learn more about Berta Cáceras, and Copinh, which continues her important work, here.
Houska is a Couchiching First Nation activist and tribal attorney, who advised Bernie Sanders on Native American affairs. She has been on the front lines of environmental defense - at Standing Rock (against the Dakota Access Pipeline), and a longtime advocate to stop major banks from funding pipelines. Houska, like many Native American environmental advocates, is a fierce believer that we must use indigenous principles and knowledge for restoring ecosystems, and achieving environmental justice. In a recent lecture, she said “I chose fighting for Mother Earth because she IS everything. The land is the people; the people are the land.” Follow Houska’s Not Your Mascots organization here.
Nakate was the sole Fridays for Future protestor in Uganda for months, spurred to action by heat waves and crop failures. She, unfortunately, gained prominence when she was cropped out of a photo with other youth climate activists who were white, in Davos in January 2020. Nakate’s experience, in which climate activists of color are erased, and climate change’s disproportionate impacts on people of color are downplayed, is all too common. Nakate has gone on to found two climate action organizations in Uganda focused on renewable energy and amplifying African voices in the climate movement. She recently spoke to Angelina Jolie about climate change’s disproportionate impact on women and girls.
Nguy Thi Khanh
Khanh is another Goldman Environmental Prize winner, who founded one of the only environmental NGOs in Vietnam, which is no easy feat in a country where demonstrations are almost unheard of. Khanh is taking on the coal industry in Vietnam, raising awareness about air and water pollution and the effects of industrialization. She successfully helped convince the government to lower its coal use targets, and weathers harassment campaigns and threats of imprisonment. Khanh says she got inspired to environmental action even though she planned to become a diplomat due to “… mostly the vulnerability of the affected communities of climate change. For me, that’s always in the frontline.” She does the work “because I want a better life for my children and the future generations. It is time to act!”
This small list is a somewhat meager glimpse into the thousands of women we could celebrate for the work they do in building a better future. Women disproportionately bear the brunt of climate change, and simultaneously lead the fight to confront the companies, organizations, and governments that have enabled the crisis. We honor their work this Women’s History Month, and hopefully, we are inspired to fight in our own ways!
Join the Climate Action Team of the GWC and help us combat environmental injustice!
Mexican Skillet Rice
We are going to use this week’s Mexican-inspired recipe to draw attention to the role of farmworkers in the US food system, with particular attention to the horrific injustices they have faced during the coronavirus pandemic. There are over two million farmworkers in the United States, who perform the critical tasks of harvesting and shipping the vast majority of food people buy in grocery stores. One estimate is that 95% of farmworkers in the US are of Mexican descent, and 78% are Hispanic. Put another way “It is an open secret that the vast majority of people who harvest America’s food are undocumented immigrants, mainly from Mexico, many of them decades-long residents of the United States. Often the parents of American-born children, they have lived for years with the cloud of deportation hanging over their households.”
The Climate Action Team is thrilled to kick off our Meatless Monday recipe exchange with DA Norway Vice-Chair Christina Skovsgaard's Meatless Minestrone. From the chef herself: "With today’s expanding repertory of global recipes, we do not, in any way, have to limit our choices or palate. There is a world of delicious meatless meals. I am sharing my recipe for easy Meatless Minestrone Soup The GWC Climate Action Team is looking forward to trying some of your vegetarian or vegan recipes, myself included." Click through to get the recipe and learn more about how eating less meat and dairy is climate action!Read more
This article was supposed to be about how Democrats retaking the Senate via the Georgia runoff elections was the best chance in over a decade to pass federal environmental legislation. “Even the thinnest Democratic majorities,” explains Washington Post, “will enable Biden to press for much more generous federal support for renewable energy, environmentally friendly infrastructure, expanded tax breaks for electric vehicles and stricter energy-efficiency standards.” Specifically, it also meansthat Congress has the power to immediately revoke some of the Trump administration’s terrible environmental policies.
Naomi Ages published If the Senate Turns Blue in Georgia, We Can Go Green in Climate Action Team 2020-12-09 05:13:34 -0500
Recent headlines praised Joe Biden for “stock[ing] his transition teams with climate experts.” Activists andeditorial boards alike wasted no time in demanding that Biden, and Kamala Harris, make climate their top priority. There can be no doubt on this point - swift and sweeping climate action is necessary and urgent for the new administration. Back in December 2019 (roughly 1200 years ago), The Sunrise Movement gave then-candidate Joe Biden’s climate plan a straight-up F (an F minus, to be completely accurate).Read more
RBG’s death was a national gut punch. It felt like a personal gut punch too - my family was finishing up our Rosh Hashanah dinner, celebrating the Jewish New Year as best we could, despite the strangeness of the broader year around us. Less than an hour before, we talked about our hopes for the coming year - and we all, from my 97-year-old grandfather to my 15-month-old nephew, agreed that getting rid of Trump, and taking back the Senate, was at the top of our lists. Then our phones buzzed with the news, and the room deflated.
Naomi Ages published Climate Change and Rainwater in India: Either too much or, more often, not enough in Climate Action Team 2020-07-21 06:03:44 -0400
Guest post by Climate Action Team Volunteer Pamela Price
The first climate change scenario in India that I was familiar with predicted glacial melt in the Himalaya mountains, causing severe flooding of the great Ganges River, in north India, before the river eventually runs dry. However, in the fall of 2003, when I began interviewing farmers in a village far south of the Ganges, I discovered another scenario: drought in rain-fed areas. I was in the state of Telangana, in south central India, studying rural political culture.
The climate and environment news has been coming fast and furious this month (three pipelines defeated in one week!). The Climate Action Team has curated this list of links to help summarize the news for you, and recommend some further reading. Special thanks to Jen Walper Roberts and Deborah Summers for their help with this post!Read more
Naomi Ages published Climate Change is a Women's Issue in Climate Action Team 2020-07-15 08:23:49 -0400
What is environmental justice?
It might be summer, but that doesn’t mean school is out of session. This week’s class is “Introduction to Environmental Justice.”
Naomi Ages published Intersectional Environmentalism in Climate Action Team 2020-06-07 05:13:51 -0400
Naomi Ages published Earth Day 50 Guest Post: Foraging 101 in Climate Action Team 2020-04-17 06:41:54 -0400
Disclaimer: Make sure you observe all local social distancing guidelines/regulations when foraging, and do not cook or eat anything you are not 100% confident is safe.
Foraging for Food 101
In these Corona times we need to stay safe and not have many gatherings. So how can we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day? Well, one way is to forage for food. Foraging for food is as old as mankind. It does require some knowledge; therefore, I am limiting Foraging 101 to plans that are easy to identify. By foraging we get in contact with nature and understand what nature can provide. You can educate yourself and others and you can do this by yourself, with your family or a friend, as long as you follow government-recommend social distancing guidelines.
An important rule to keep in mind, do not pick plants in areas where you think pesticides may have been used. If you are not sure, it is always best to exercise caution and do not pick or eat food that you are not 100% confident is safe.
You can forage in the woods, or in parks, fields and gardens looking for “weeds”. These foods can be found almost anywhere. I am selecting only three plants to start with, but there are hundreds of edible wild plants. Two of these plants should be available in the early spring, depending on where you live. I invite everyone to contribute to this information. Add recipes, other plants and any additional knowledge about “your plant”. I am hoping many accept this invitation. I am not an expert in this field, but I have picked plants that are easy to detect.
Nettles (Urtica dioica)
Creamed nettles (my favorite)
Nettles have been used for centuries in traditional medicine and as food. Nettles are high in iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, silica, chlorophyll and vitamin A, C, and D. This makes nettles an awesome superfood. They are commonly used for kidney and bladder problems, including urinary tract infections. They are also known in the past, as an all-around tonic for women’s reproductive system and were often used when trying to conceive. Due to their high concentration of minerals, nettles are also commonly used for ailments such as arthritis and osteoporosis.
When used medicinally, nettles are often dried and made into a tea. The leaves can be easily dried on a drying screen, in a dehydrator or just tied and hung to dry. When dry they no longer burn or sting. The dried leaves are easily crumbled for teas or like parsley on dishes or soups.
You MUST wear gloves to pick nettles. The tiny soft hairs on the stems and leaves have a stinging effect, which when rubbed against the skin the small protruding hairs can penetrate the skin causing a burning sensation and temporary rash. Your gloves can be leather, rubber or any material so the hairs do not get in contact with your skin; do not use knitted wool or cotton gloves. Wear rubber gloves when washing and cleaning the plant. Once it is cooked, even for a minute, you can cut up the leaves with bare hands or a food processor. If you should get in contact with the plant use either Calamine lotion or an antihistamine cream to reduce symptoms.
Nettles have several other uses in the vegetable garden, they have the potential for encouraging beneficial insects. Nettles contain nitrogenous compounds, which can be used as a compost activator. If you have left over stems throw them in your compost heap. Or pick a bunch, fill a bucket full of nettles, fill with water, cover and let it ferment for several weeks or longer (best kept outdoors). Stir the mixture regularly to bring in oxygen. When it has a peculiar odor and the water has darkened you will have an excellent free liquid fertilizer concentrate for your house plants and garden. Add several tablespoons to your watering bucket.
It has also been reported only young leaves should be used because older leaves develop gritty particles which can act as an irritant to the kidneys. So, from April until late June is the best time to eat and pick nettles. The rule of thumb is that they are best before midsummer and can become bitter once flower pods appear, as depicted here.
One of my all-time favorite soups is nettle soup. As soon as spring comes, I start foraging. I try to freeze some for the winter as well. The soup is so wonderful that the Queen of Sweden had it on the menu for her 50th birthday celebration. I have also seen it on the menu for Nobel banquets.
Nettle soup recipe: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/nettle_soup/
1/2 large shopping bag of fresh nettle tops
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 cup chopped shallots, onions or spring onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 pound of Yukon Gold or russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 cups stock of chicken or vegetable
1 to 2 cups of water
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or a couple sprigs of fresh thyme)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 to 3 tablespoons of cream
Blanch the nettles: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Wearing protective gloves, transfer the nettle tops into the boiling water. Blanch for 2 minutes. Strain in a colander. Cut away and discard any large stems from the nettles. (This should be easier to do now that the nettle stingers have lost their sting due to the blanching.) You should have 3 to 4 cups of blanched tender nettle tops and leaves for this recipe. Any blanched nettles not used at this point can be frozen for future use.
Sauté the shallots and celery: In a 6 quart soup pot, heat the olive oil and butter on medium heat. Add the chopped shallots and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add potatoes, stock, bay leaf, thyme: Add the chopped potatoes, the chicken stock, bay leaf, and thyme. If using unsalted or low sodium stock, add one teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes.
Chop blanched nettles, add to soup pot, add water, simmer: Roughly chop the blanched nettles. Add 3 to 4 cups of the chopped blanched nettles to the pot. Add enough water to just cover the nettles and potatoes, 1 to 2 cups. Return to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and the nettles tender.
Purée the soup: Remove the bay leaves (and thyme sprigs if using) from the pot. Using an immersion blender or working in batches with a standing blender, purée. Return to the pot and take off the heat.
Adjust seasonings, add lemon juice, add cream: Add salt to taste. Depending on the saltiness of the stock you are using, you may need to add at least a teaspoon or more to the soup. Add 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Add lemon juice. Right before serving, swirl in the cream. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Sprinkle with black pepper and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint to serve.
Most of us can identify a dandelion. Dandelions are found everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, anywhere between the tropics and the polar regions. The English name, dandelion, is a corruption of the French dent de lion meaning "lion's tooth", which refers to the leaf s shape. Dandelions are one of the most vital early spring nectar sources for a wide host of pollinators. And their seeds are food for birds.
There are many species but for the purpose here we are referring to the common dandelion pictured here. Common dandelions, which we want to look for, have only one flower on each stem. The entire plant is edible including the roots which can be boiled. But I have only used the leaves and flower. The leaves are best when the plant is young, it is less bitter before the flower appears. So early spring is the best time to pick and eat dandelions greens.
Dandelions are known for the health benefits. The greens are an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K. They also contain vitamin E, folate and small amounts of other B vitamins. Dandelion greens also provide amounts of several minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Dandelions are full of potent antioxidants. They are a rich source of beta-carotene and polyphenolic compounds, both of which are known to have strong antioxidant capabilities that can prevent aging and certain diseases. In studies on animals, dandelions have been shown to reduce inflammation and aid in controlling blood sugar levels. They are a mild diuretic so they can contribute to maintaining blood pressure. In some parts of England, they are called Piss-a-weed since it makes for more frequent urination. But dandelions have been used by humans for food and as an herb for much of recorded history. They were well known to ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, and are recorded to have been used in Chinese traditional medicine for over a thousand years. The plant was used as food and medicine by Native Americans. Dandelions most likely arrived in North America on the Mayflower, not as stowaways, but brought on purpose for their medicinal benefits.
Dandelions can also be beneficial in the garden. They have been cultivated in small gardens to massive farms. They are a good companion plant; its roots bring up nutrients for shallow-rooting plants. It is also known to attract pollinating insects, which provide them in return for food, and release ethylene gas, which helps fruit to ripen.
The entire plant is edible and nutritious. The most common way to prepare dandelions is to blanch young dandelions, allow them to cool, chop and then sprinkle with olive oil, lemon juice and salt pepper and any desired herb. Blanching removes some of the bitterness. Young leaves can also be added raw to a salad. The yellow flower can be pulled from the plant and eaten raw. They can be eaten whole or torn apart.
If you have plant allergies be cautious in eating an abundance of dandelions flowers. Allergic reactions can occur.
Preparing the greens:
Preparing the flowers:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T29nfc0GRoE (flowers in three differ ways)
Lamb's quarters or PigWeed (Chenopodium Album) also called Fat Hen in New South Wales
Lamb’s quarters are believed to be native to Europe. Archaeologists analyzed carbonized plant remains found in storage pits and ovens from Iron Age, Viking Age, and Roman sites in Europe showed the use of lamb's quarters . And recent archaeological studies have shown that the seeds were stored and used by the Blackfoot Native American tribe during the sixteenth century.
The leaves are light green on the top and whitish underneath, with some teeth along edges, and are goosefoot-shaped or somewhat diamond-shaped. The plant tends to grow upright at first, reaching heights of 10–150 cm (rarely to 3 m). Lamb's quarters can be identified by the telltale dusty white coating on new growth and the undersides of leaves. and when moist, water simply beads and runs off. This whitish “powder” is an important identification factor. How to this plant view here: http://www.ediblewildfood.com/lambs-quarters.aspx
It is a purifying plant and helps to restore healthy nutrients to poor quality soil. This unique plant tends to spread quickly no matter the soil condition. Lamb's quarters can be found in most places in nature, such as parks, roadsides, gardens, open fields and clearings etc. The species is cultivated as a grain or vegetable crop (in lieu of spinach), as well as animal feed in Asia and Africa, whereas in Europe and North America, it is commonly regarded as a weed in places such as potato fields. In Australia it is prevalent in all states and regarded as an environmental weed in New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia. This invasive plant is capable of increasing crop losses, but it can aid also in pest control. If you have allergies, avoid picking this plant when it is in flower or producing seeds. The flowers are very small, greenish, densely grouped together into small, granular clusters along the main stem and upper branches. They have five green sepals but no petals.
Lamb's quarters , a favorite among foragers, who mostly gather it for the leaves, tastes like a mild version of spinach. In many regions of the world, particularly in the regions of India and Pakistan, people intentionally grow lamb's quarters as an agricultural crop. The leaves are exceptionally high in vitamins A and C, as well as in calcium, iron, and protein. It ticks all the boxes! Its plentiful seeds provide a nutrient-packed meal for birds, especially in the food-scarce late fall. One lambsquarter plant can produce up to 75,000 seeds. And the seeds can also serve as a powerful flour additive, porridge ingredient, or bread enhancer. The seeds are high in protein, vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium and are closely related to Quinoa, which is grown specifically for its seeds.
My mother-in-law was very pleased to have this plant in WW11 in occupied Norway. It was commonly in use to replace any green vegetable. She loved to serve it creamed to her children, using the same recipe as one would for creamed spinach or nettles. Depending on where you live Lamb's quarter is a summer plant. It might be difficult to find in the north in the early spring. The good news, you can also pick into the late summer and fall, since it unlike most plants does not become so bitter later in the season.
You can treat or prepare lamb's quarters the same way one prepares spinach. Lamb's quarters contains some oxalic acid, as does rhubarb, kale, spinach cocoa powder, beets etc., therefore when eating this raw, smaller quantities are recommended. Cooking removes this acid. Steaming this edible weed is one method of cooking, or can be added to soups, sautés, stir fried dishes, omelets and much more. Unlike dandelions, which are best in the spring, lamb's quarters can be harvested through the summer season.
Lamb’s quarter frittata
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly, preferably with a mandolin
1 pinch salt and pepper
3/4 cup lamb’s quarters tips (top 4 to 6 inches of tender leaves and stem), roughly chopped
2 .5 ounces Gruyère or swiss cheese, grated
2 tablespoons cream
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Add the sliced potatoes, salt, and pepper. Cook for 8 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside in a large bowl.
Cook the chopped lamb's quarters in the same pan for 2 minutes, or until just tender and deep green. Add a tablespoon of water as it cooks, if it becomes dry.
Combine the cooked lambs quarters, eggs, cheese, and cream in a large bowl.
Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a large saucepan at medium heat, then pour the entire egg-lambs quarters-potato mixture into the saucepan and stir the top around so that it browns evenly.
Add more ground pepper, then flip it once it's lightly browned. Cook until it's set in the middle, and serve 4 to 6 immediately.
Find more recipes here:
Naomi Ages published Climate Change in the Time of Corona in Climate Action Team 2020-04-03 12:57:00 -0400
This is a heavy topic for a first blog. But these are heavy times, as we confront a pandemic that has echoes of the climate crisis: who is affected; who is most vulnerable; who is on the front lines of responding; who has the resources to protect themselves and their loved ones and who does not have that privilege; the adequacy of government measures or their insufficiency; the political, technological, and scientific solutions; the short and long term effects on the economy; the toll on our individual and collective mental health. The list goes on. The COVID-19 pandemic, is, unfortunately, a terrible window into the impacts of climate change that are coming, and some that are already here.
Obviously, we, collectively, are preoccupied with the pandemic. We want to keep ourselves, our families, and our communities safe. “At this frightening stage of the crisis,” The Conversation points out in a piece about the convergence of the two crises, “ it’s difficult to focus on anything else.” Yet, we know that Climate change isn’t letting up just because there is a global pandemic.” We know that we are in a climate emergency, and “watching the C-19 outbreak unfold is like watching a time-lapse of the climate change crisis,” says the climate scientist Michael Mann in this recent editorial. He and his co-author use the opportunity to remind us that the time to act on climate change, just like COVID-19, is here.
But what can you do about climate change during a pandemic? A lot of the same things you can do anyway. It may feel obvious, but in the words of the Climate Action Team: Go Green/Vote Blue. There is a shocking overlap between climate denial and COVID denial, often propagated by the same right-wing and Republican politicians and networks that are blocking climate action. Denying and ignoring the science about the virus had drastic negative consequences, just as it is having for climate change.
So one of the best things you can do is vote for candidates up and down the ballot who have solid plans to address climate change locally, nationally, and globally. And you should multiply that by helping turn out others to vote for them too. If your DA chapter needs help learning about candidates’ climate plans, volunteer to do that research (or get in touch with the Climate Action Team!). Does your chapter have a get-out-the-vote program? If so, make sure you’re signed up. Here are some voter contact and GOTV actions (each highlighted word here is a separate link) you can do from home, or in remote groups. Once you’ve committed to that, here is a great list from Grist.org that ranges from the personal to the political for climate action, taking into account the need for social distancing.
Finally, a reminder that the 50th anniversary of Earth Day is coming up, and the Climate Action Team put together a Toolkit full of original, inspiring ideas for ways to get yourself and your community involved and educated (virtually). There is also amazing wearable and shareable content for you to use to encourage your networks to Go Green/Vote Blue, like this seed packet.
This is the first blog in a hopefully weekly series about current events, climate change, and women, a part of the Climate Action Team’s 2020 Go Green/Vote Blue campaign. We hope you’ll get involved!
Naomi Ages published Global Women’s Caucus Climate Action Team Welcome in Climate Action Team 2020-04-01 07:58:41 -0400
Climate change is a singular issue. It intersects with every other issue we face, exacerbates existing inequalities, manifests injustice, and threatens the lives and livelihood of the entire planet. This means we must address it via these myriad lenses, so that the solutions bring everyone forward in a more just way.
Climate change is then, of course, a women’s issue. Empowering women is one of the best tools we have to find solutions and make progress on this issue. This page is the place to learn more about the unique challenges that women face from climate change, and what we can all do about it right now.
The Women’s Caucus Climate Action Team