The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

50° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Climate Wise Women talk global warming

Valentina Martinelli / Arizona Daily Wildcat 

From left, Constance Okolett, from Uganda, Ulamila Kurai Wragg, from the Cook Islands, and Sharon Hanshaw, from New Orleans Louisiana, talk about how climate change has affected each of their countries in the Cesar E. Chavex Building on April 22, 2010.
Valentina Martinelli
Valentina Martinelli / Arizona Daily Wildcat From left, Constance Okolett, from Uganda, Ulamila Kurai Wragg, from the Cook Islands, and Sharon Hanshaw, from New Orleans Louisiana, talk about how climate change has affected each of their countries in the Cesar E. Chavex Building on April 22, 2010.

On Earth Day, students ducked out of unusual rain and packed shoulder to shoulder in a small classroom to listen to the Climate Wise Women speak.

The Climate Wise Women are a group of four women from around the world who share their testimonies about climate change and how their communities are organizing.

“”We want to give you a human face,”” said Ulamila Kurai Wragg, a Climate Wise Women speaker from the Cook Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. Wragg is a journalist and the coordinator of the Pacific WAVE Media Network.

Wragg shared how her island’s way of life has altered because of climate change.

“”What my children are seeing now, I do not know if their children will see,”” Wragg said. “”We are losing our island.””

She said her island saw five cyclones within three weeks during the time Hurricane Katrina hit the United States.

“”You would never see that in the news because we are just little dots in the ocean,”” Wragg said.

Climate Wise Woman Sharon Hanshaw did cosmetology for 21 years in Biloxi, Miss., until Hurricane Katrina hit, changing her community and its way of life.

After Katrina, Hanshaw became the executive director of Coastal Women for Change. Hanshaw shared with the audience how women in her community came together and are still working to help fix the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

“”The grassroots people and the people in office, we have to connect with them and with you all,”” Hanshaw said. “”It means all of us together. That is going to change the way they think about it.””

One common link between the Climate Wise Women’s stories was the lack of seasons and how farming is forced to become guesswork.

“”We are just gambling with our life,”” said Climate Wise Woman Constance Okollet.

She is from Uganda and is the chairperson of the Osukura United Women Network.

Okollet shared how constant flooding and drought from climate change has destroyed her village’s way of life.

“”It comes, it does the damage, and it goes. People are now living in camps, something we used to not do,”” she said.

Diana Liverman of the Institute of the Environment at the UA said she wanted people to know that the UA does have people who care and who are working to solve climate change.

“”We are one of the universities that has more research working on climate change than most others,”” she said.

Liverman, the Climate Wise Women and other speakers all stressed the urgency of the situation.

“”We need to do it fast, we can’t wait another five years because climate change is already happening,”” Liverman said.

Joni Adamson, an ASU environmental humanities professor, said she tries to teach courses that help students think about ways to create change.

“”There are things that we do in our everyday lives that are causing these changes,”” Adamson said.

More to Discover
Activate Search