Sisters on the Planet (SOP) enlists women leaders to put a human face on climate change, especially the face of women, and create awareness with both US citizens and members of Congress. It is a tool to reach out to audiences beyond environmentalists, such as women's groups and faith groups. High level Ambassadors will work to influence strong US climate legislation with a particular emphasis on garnering funding for the poorest here and abroad, so they have the capacity to cope with climate impacts.
In 2009, climate change legislation will move forward in Congress, and the US will participate more fully in the international negotiations in Copenhagen. The individual and collective voices of Oxfam's Sisters on the Planet Ambassadors and grassroots supporters, as well as the variety of allies and organizations using Sisters on the Planet, will undertake new engagement strategies to attract powerful allies and raise awareness about the issue of climate change, beginning with a celebrity site visit to Tanzania in October, which will be leveraged/supported by activities in the US including lobbying government officials, media outreach, and Sisters on the Planet screening events.
New Sisters on the Planet (SOP) Initiatives
- In the run up to Copenhagen and US Congressional activity, Sisters on the Planet Ambassadors will:
- Engage local and national media,
-Lobby in district offices,
-Speak at SOP events in their states,
-Participate in a DC lobby day.
-Honor women working on climate at SOP awards ceremony for the closing event at Governor Schwarzenegger's Climate Summit.
- Celebrity SOP trip to Tanzania: Minnie Driver, Joy Bryant, Majora Carter and SuChin Pak will be traveling with Oxfam America to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, to witness firsthand how climate change is undermining the livelihoods of poor people in the region. During and after the trip we will:
-Create high profile events for Celebs to attend,
-Work with local, regional and national media in-country and on the continent,
-Before, during, and after the trip work with media (video footage, blogs, photos, interviews, etc.).
- Recruit new SOP Ambassadors in target states where there are 'swing' female Senator climate change legislation votes: NC, MO, MI and AR (5-10 grass top Ambassadors per state).
- Recruit Female Members of Congress in the House and Senate to be SOP Ambassadors and work with their staffers to create opportunities for these members to highlight their commitment to climate change action.
Climate change is a global humanitarian crisis and poor women, who depend on natural resources for their survival, are on the front line. Across the world, millions of poor and vulnerable people already living on the edge are finding their lives and livelihoods increasingly threatened by climate change. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change fourth assessment report, released in 2007, confirmed that climate change is contributing to global weather extremes and exacerbating the spread of disease and premature deaths in developing countries. In the U.S., as the recent report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program showed, low-income and other vulnerable populations will also be disproportionately affected by predicted climate impacts.
Even as efforts increase to address the climate crisis by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it is the poor who are already on the front lines, suffering the most acute effects of a problem they have done the least to cause. Solving the challenges of climate change requires not only a massive reduction in greenhouse gas emissions but also the development and implementation of strategies that will help the most vulnerable people respond to the impacts of climate change. These efforts will have the added effect of protecting our national and global security by building the human security of others.
Our goal is to build a broad-based US constituency that is educated and engaged on climate change issues - particularly as they relate to women in poor communities, who are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. They often depend on rainfall (instead of irrigation) to water their crops. They are typically responsible for providing their household's water, food, and fuel. And they are less likely to have the education, opportunities, or resources to adapt to climate shifts. In addition, traditional roles leave women little time to take part in community discussions, so their perspectives and needs often go unheard.
If we achieve our goal of adequate adaptation financing in US climate legislation, the most vulnerable developing countries would be the first to benefit as would island countries. The developing countries that qualify as 'most vulnerable' will be identified by the Administrator of USAID upon implementation of the program. However, we anticipate that those countries designated as 'Least Developed Countries' by the United Nations would be of the first to receive support.