WDN’s Earth Circle seeks to bring environmental issues that impact people of color and indigenous communities 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.
Our Current Focus
The Earth Circle is working to provide important resources to our membership and organize engaging programs and advocacy opportunities around critical climate justice issues. We seek to mobilize all of our resources as women donors — our philanthropic dollars, our access for advocacy, and our portfolios for investor activism.
We will continue to focus on fighting fracking and Tar Sands exploration, supporting communications and advocacy campaigns that elevate the stories of the communities most impacted by climate change, and backing the environmental justice work of indigenous, women-led organizations.
Since it began in 2008, the Earth Circle has hosted educational programming with important thought leaders such as renowned Native American activist Winona LaDuke on the topic of climate change and communities of color; Sheelah McClean, co-founder of Idle No More, who lifted up the stories of indigenous women organizing at the forefront of the environmental justice movement; and Anjali Appadurai of [earth], who highlighted youth-led organizing efforts for international climate 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. 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’s climate change delegation to Washington DC for our 2013 Women on the Hill advocacy program focused on stronger pipeline safety regulations and also raised concerns about fracking in meetings with congressional leaders and other policymakers. Members of the Earth Circle were instrumental in developing WDN’s 2013 pre-conference seminar on climate justice — one of our most well-attended pre-conference programs — as well as a program in partnership with the Values Based Investing Circle focused on investor activism.
Recent funding efforts have supported Honor the Earth, for grassroots organizing in Northern Plains communities against Tar Sands pipeline expansion, and the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation to send a delegation to the Royal Dutch Shell annual general meeting. The Circle has also supported frontline community organizing efforts with Climate Justice Alliance, Food and Water Watch, Earthworks, and the Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign.