As the mothers of humanity, women have “the sacred responsibility to leave a healthy legacy for future generations,” says Carolyn Raffensperger, executive director of the Science & Environmental Health Network. “Yet women’s voices are largely missing in the central environmental issues.”
As a co-organizer of the inaugural Women’s Congress for Future Generations, Raffensperger hopes that bringing together hundreds of women―ecologists, writers, community organizers, lawyers, activists, and spiritual leaders―will help raise those voices.
“Women carry future generations in their bodies,” she says. “They are the first waters, the first food, the first world―and it’s time for us to speak.”
Other organizers of the event share their vision for how and why women need to participate in the environmental movement―and what led them to get involved.
Associate professor of sustainability, English, and women’s studies at Stony Brook University
"I’m a cancer survivor. After losing my parents to cancer, and after my own illness and recovery, I became a mother. I started to research the links between cancer and the environment. My path became crystal clear: I wanted to protect my child from environmental pollution, as well as all other children and future generations. Motherhood and cancer led me to the realization that we are on a path of ecocide―and I had to do something."
Rebecca Gasior Altman
Environmental sociologist and lecturer in the Community Health Program at Tufts University
I was fortunate to be part of a research team exploring environmental pollutants in urine, blood, house dust. I eventually arrived at the realization that the women whose homes and bodies we were studying were no different than mine. We all harbored these chemicals in our bodies, in the dust bunnies collecting beneath our furniture.
Author of 19 books, including Woman and Nature
My relationship to nature is intimate, sustaining, and spiritual. It is also kindred. I don’t feel in nature, I feel of nature. I feel nature as wiser than I and yet as equal, both surrounding me and in me.
Activist and organizer, author of The Spiral Dance and other books
I don’t believe women are in essence more saintly, caring, or good than men. But women have carried a set of cultural values, of caring for the next generations, of valuing relationships, nurturing, growth, and connection; and those values need championing in a society which accords its funding, its honor, and its privileges to the dealers of death over life, war over peace, profit for a few over the good of all. As women, we can reignite a movement based on the values of care and nurture.
The three-day Women’s Congress for Future Generations will convene on September 27 in Moab, Utah. For information, visit www.wcffg.org.