Our planet, and the people who call it home, face enormous and mounting challenges. WDN’s Earth Circle seeks to bring environmental issues that impact people front and center in the national conversation. Our members are concerned about issues ranging from global climate change to our broken food and energy systems, to the devastating consequences of these policies and systems on the health, livelihood and well being of communities. Ultimately, we hope to integrate the values of sustainability, human rights and justice into national policy so that all people may live free and happy lives on a healthy planet.
Since it began in 2008, the Earth Circle has hosted educational teleconferences with important thought leaders such as renowned Native American activist Winona LaDuke on the topic of climate change and communities of color, and Oran Hesterman, on the topic of food justice.
In May 2009, we organized a two-day convening on climate change in Washington, DC to learn from an array of innovative thinkers about how climate change is transforming our planet and what we can do about it.
In 2010, WDN’s Earth Circle helped initiate a grassroots coalition called All Against the Haul, focused on stopping the creation of a major industrial corridor for the transport of Asian-made equipment to expand the Tar Sands mining operations in Alberta, Canada. The proposed corridor is to go through Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Montana for the creation of the Kearl Project. When fully developed, the Kearl Project strip mine will cover approximately 125 square miles, and will be responsible for average emissions of 3.7 million tons of greenhouse gases per year. By raising $40,000 in critical seed funding, the Earth Circle enabled local activists to start the campaign, which included legal, public education and grassroots organizing strategies. The project began after a WDN trip to Montana in which members were exposed to compelling stories from Native communities and others about the devastating impact of the Alberta Tar Sands on their health and livelihoods. In July 2011, a Montana District judge ruled in favor of a preliminary injunction that stalled the construction project.
In June 2012, the All Against the Haul Coalition achieved a big victory when ExxonMobil and its partners withdrew their application for permits to transport oversized loads over public roads in Montana and Idaho to the Alberta Tar Sands in Canada. Read more about this success story on our blog.
The Earth Circle is working to provide important resources, organize educational calls and trips, build dialogue, advocate for issues, and strengthen a community within WDN around the critical and urgent issues that we all face.
We are especially interested in looking at systemic solutions, studying the particular orientation, knowledge and skills women leaders are bringing to address the environmental challenges that we face.