Climate change is an issue of worldwide concern, causing many global leaders to frequently pronounce plans and ideas that aim to mitigate its effects.
Yet the voices that are less often heard in these conversations are the ones of those most affected by the negative effects of a changing climate.
Research shows that poor communities are often most affected by natural disasters caused by climate change. Women make up an estimated 70 percent of people living below the poverty line and are therefore disproportionately affected by these disasters.
To create an opportunity to add more voices to the conversation, Women’s Voices of Glynn County will partner Saturday with the Glynn Environmental Coalition and Marshes of Glynn Library to host a forum on “Women and Climate Change and Impact.”
The forum is free and will be held at 2:30 p.m. at the Brunswick library.
“Climate change is a critical issue that we’re all facing, and Women’s Voices of Glynn County is focused on society issues of concern,” said Martha Dismer, a member of Women’s Voices of Glynn County and an event organizer. “We thought this was really an appropriate time to address this issue.”
Panelists at the event include women from a variety of coastal Georgia organizations, including 100 Miles, the Nature Conservancy, Oceana and the Susie King Taylor Institute.
Janisse Ray, an author, naturalist and environmental activist, will be the featured speaker. Her book “Ecology of a Cracker Childhood,” has received wide acclaim. Her talk will focus on the emotional toll of climate change and how that burden affects women in particular.
“I want to look at the grief of climate change just briefly and how we can become more resilient in our regular lives,” Ray said. “We can become more emotionally resilient to loss and change and grief. I don’t have all the answers. I’m really doing a lot of research to do my little part of the panel, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while now and am really interested in.”
The panel discussion will focus on issues that affect coastal Georgia.
Hermina Glass-Hill, who runs the Susie King Taylor Institute in Liberty County, will address the need to integrate people of color into the environmental movement.
“It will also focus on the human right of persons of color to engage the environment in recreational ways but also in spiritual ways for reconciliation and healing from past historical trauma,” she said.
Ashby Nix Worley, coastal resilience manager for The Nature Conservancy, will discuss the conservancy’s ongoing project to assess and plan for flood risks.
“Climate change can impact different groups of individuals differently, especially when there are certain populations that may be more vulnerable to climate change,” Worley said.
Georgia’s current marsh and beach protection laws will also be part of the conversation, as well as ocean conservation.
Women’s Voices of Glynn County plans to come together at a meeting after the event and develop an action plan using the information shared during the panel discussion, Dismer said.