“My name is Ursula Rakova. I come from Papua New Guinea, but I was born on the Carteret Islands in the Southwestern Pacific. My elders and my community have given me a huge task, to tell the world what is happening on my island and what climate change is doing to destroy our lives. My work involves organizing our people and moving them from the island to the mainland where we need to re-locate to safe and secure ground. We are being forced from our ancient island homeland to the mainland of Bougainville Province in Papua New Guinea where we must start new lives and find sustainable means to produce our food and survive. I want to make sure that my people have a future life for generations to come. I would say to people who believe that climate change is not happening, if you have...Read More
Women who see high tides destroy their food supply and submerge their homes. Women who watch a merciless cycle of unprecedented floods followed by droughts drown their children, wash away their livelihood, and then suck their crops dry again. Women who pick up the pieces, improvise solutions and, facing their very survival, carve out unconventional paths to leadership.
Climate Wise Women is a global platform for the promotion of women’s leadership on climate change. Through powerful personal narratives, Climate Wise Women gives a human face and voice to an issue that sits squarely at the nexus of the conversation on gender equality, environmental justice, food security, the eradication of extreme poverty, and public health.
Climate Wise Women presents public ‘conversations’ between women community leaders from around the globe at colleges and universities, for community and business groups, and at major world events on climate, climate justice, and gender equality, that engage both panelists and audience members alike. The Climate Wise Women, a rotating group of distinguished international community activists, share their compelling stories with those of local women leaders in an interactive format that brings home the very real connections between the developed and developing worlds.
Our goal is to deploy the time-honored art of storytelling at its most powerful level and make a significant contribution towards a global movement for climate justice and sustainable community.
In 2010, women from Biloxi, Mississippi, the Cook Islands, and Uganda spoke at 16 different events in North America. Climate Wise Women completed a European speaking tour and were featured at events at the UN General Assembly and at the COP 17 in Durban in 2011. Climate Wise Women participated in six events at the 2012 Rio + 20, including a cross-generational dialogue with Mary Robinson that was presented by the Ford Foundation. The SXSW (South by Southwest) Eco conference presented the Climate Wise Women as featured speakers in October 2013. In 2014 Ursula Rakova’s resettlement work on behalf of the Carteret Islanders, some of the world’s first climate refugees, was awarded a UN Equator Prize.
The Climate Wise Women will participate in the global climate change meetings in Paris, COP 21, in December 2015 and plan to lead a 2016 delegation of women leaders, funders and media to Papua New Guinea to highlight Ursula’s work and to document the successful initiatives she is leading for women’s economic autonomy.
The Climate Wise Women is a proud project of the Earth Island Institute www.earthisland.org
Climate Wise Women Constance Okollet and Ursula Rakova are featured in the new Weather Channel web series, The Twenty Five Most Influential Voices on Climate Change. The program will debut on June 10, 2015.
Climate Wise Women will be in Paris in December 2015 to make their voices heard at multiple events at the international climate change meetings, called COP 21, where a global climate treaty is to be decided.