Earth Circle

WDN’s Earth Circle has been a place where I can transform my passion for environmental justice and my fury at those who show utter disregard for the environment into action that makes a difference.WDN Member

Our Vision

WDN’s Earth Circle seeks to address and better understand the interconnectedness of global environmental issues, with a particular focus on the disproportionate impacts on women and indigenous communities and the power they have to effect change.

Our members are concerned about climate justice issues ranging from global climate change to our broken food, water, and energy systems, and the dire consequences of these policies and systems on the well being of all of our communities.

Ultimately, through our collective funding and personal actions, we hope to integrate our progressive values into sustainable national policies that respect our mother earth and all who live here. We seek to support highly strategic initiatives that strengthen the power, knowledge, and voices of frontline communities by connecting them to resources, tools, and each other to support long-term, effective movement-building.

WDN members participated in the 2014 People’s Climate March in New York. © Robert van Waarden | Survival Media Agency


Our Current Focus

The Earth Circle is working to 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.

For updates on the Earth Circle’s work and other environmental issues, visit our blog.

In 2014 the Circle granted $17,375 each to Earthworks, to fund the purchase of an infrared camera that takes video of otherwise unseen methane gasses at fracking sites, and Food and Water Watch, to fund an organizer in Ventura County — among the most-fracked places in California. In 2015, we focused on fighting fracking and Tar Sands exploration, funded communications and advocacy campaigns that elevate the stories of the communities most impacted by climate change, and supported the environmental justice work of indigenous, women-led organizations.

Our Story

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.

Since 2010, the Earth Circle has granted an impressive total of $336,250 to the following organizations: 

  • Western Environmental Law Center – Total: $13,750, in 2010, supporting the All Against the Haul campaign, which resulted in a victory over ExxonMobile.
  • Advocates for the West – Total: $29,100, September 2010-May 2011, supporting the All Against the Haul campaign.
  • Honor the Earth – Total: $ 61,950, April 2011- August 2014, provided general operating support and supported organizing against the Tar Sands pipelands in the Northern Plains.
  • Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation – Total: $13,000, May 2013,  Delegation to Shell shareholder meeting, which ended in Royal Dutch Shell withdrawing a major Tar Sands development proposal.
  • Food & Water Watch – Total: $17,375, July 2014, supporting a community organizer in Ventura County.
  • EarthWorks – Total: $17,375, July 2014, purchase of infrared camera.
  • Climate Justice Alliance – Total: $34,350, December 2014, supporting CJA’s Our Power Campaign.
  • Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign – Total: $34,350, December 2014, supporting the Financial Uncertainty Report.
  • Earthworks – Total: $30,000, August 2015, to support phase II of their successful Citizens Empowerment Project.
  • Food and Water Watch – Total: $20,000, August 2015, to support the staffing of a community organizer to mobilize the majority-Latino population in Ventura County, CA.
  • WECAN – Total: $30,000, August 2015, to support their programming and organizing to create a collective voice of women to address climate justice and demand action.
  • WildEarth Guardians – Total: $20,000, August 2015, to support their Navajo micro-grant program and their grassroots organizer in New Mexico to stop fracking in Chaco Canyon.
  • Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation – Total: $15,000, January 2016, to support hiring a central coordinator for a two-day Indigenous Peoples’ Summit on climate change.