Say more about the connection between climate change and patriarchy.
The cause of climate change is greenhouse gas emissions. But to me, the question is, well, why do we have such an abundance of these emissions, and why have they been so hard to rein in? And when we start to ask those questions, we find ourselves confronting a system that has been very focused on hierarchy, control, exploitation and, frankly, decision making that has largely sat with a relatively narrow set of folks. And, certainly, women have not been at the table anywhere near equally in shaping the status quo that we find ourselves in. And the same is true for people of color. The same is true for Indigenous peoples.
How is gender connected to climate solutions?
We talk so much in climate about solutions at scale, which we need. We need regenerative agriculture around the world. We need a 100 percent clean electricity system, we need means of mobility that don’t rely on fossil fuels. We need all of that, of course. But I think sometimes we overlook the values. Because we’re not just trying to build a zero-emissions future, right? We’re trying to build a future also in which we can thrive together.
And to me, patriarchy is fundamentally predicated on some people thriving at the expense of other people. And of course, the same is true of white supremacy. Addressing both of those things is at the heart of climate work.
In your book, you describe the need for climate leadership that is more “characteristically feminine.” Tell me more about that.
Sherri Mitchell, an Indigenous attorney, activist and author from the Penobscot Nation, talks about the feminine as heart-centered wisdom and the masculine as action in the world.
When we think about the things it’s going to take to address the climate crisis and build a genuinely life-giving future, that’s going to take a fundamental reorientation to care. It’s going to take collaboration, connection, compassion, creativity, all of these things that fall within this realm of the feminine, regardless of gender identity.
Can you give an example of an area where you would like to see this reorientation manifested?
When we look at climate philanthropy, there are still really significant imbalances along the lines of race and gender. Most of the money that’s being invested in the climate movement is going to work that is led by white men. And we want them on the team. They just can’t be the whole team.