Grassroots Change for Climate Action
Why Grassroots Change Matters
Climate change can be a daunting problem to think about. After all, it is a global issue. The good news, however, is that there are numerous people who have been at the forefront of change in their communities for a long time.
One such leader was Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan woman who, upon realizing that 90 percent of forest in her home country had been cut down, took the issue into her own hands. She planted one tree after another on her own. However, she soon realized that she couldn’t do this work alone. She then started paying a small amount of money to women and girls who planted saplings all over the country. This was the start of the Green Belt Movement.
With the simple act of planting trees, not only was more carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere, but a transformational change was happening in the women and girls who were engaging in these efforts. They began to see the direct impact of their collective grassroots action. This built their confidence and power in a male-dominated society. In total, 30 million trees were planted, and with each one both people and the environment were being transformed.
How We’re Making a Difference
Like Wangari, there are many other people who are spearheading grassroots efforts to confront climate change. These efforts either fall into the category of mitigation, which reduces or prevents worsening of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, or adaptation, which involves reducing the potential damage due to the effects of climate change. Many of these efforts simultaneously produce co-benefits for the most marginalized groups.
One such project is our partnership with Solar Sister in Tanzania, which tackled energy poverty by building and supporting a sisterhood of clean energy entrepreneurs – a network of women in Tanzania who reached the most remote areas with affordable solar lamps, mobile phone chargers, and fuel-efficient stoves. This project not only reduced reliance on fossil fuels but strengthened women’s self-sufficiency and economic power. While entrepreneurs gained access to a new and profitable income-generating opportunity, experiencing increased autonomy, household decision-making power, self-confidence, business, communication, and leadership skills, mobility, and community status, customers benefited from using the clean energy products.
Another example is our partnership with CREATE! to rehabilitate existing wells and install solar pumps, making clean water available to 2,500 people in the communities year round for household and agricultural needs in Senegal. This is a crucial adaptation strategy during a time when rainfall patterns are more unpredictable. This allowed the communities to be able to grow vegetables year-round where previously, production would only happen during rainy seasons. Additionally, through this partnership’s reforestation campaign paired with the improved cook-stove training program, the community was also able to reduce firewood used by 79%. These programs have not only provided reforestation and clean water, but also have relieved the women in the community from the four hours of cooking and firewood collecting time previously spent, which they can now use for new opportunities.
Being active supporters of grassroots efforts like these means that we are not only supporting powerful initiatives that are changing the world, but ensuring that values of equality, democracy and sovereignty are protected. With the launch of our newest area of focus, Climate Impact, we are affirming our commitment to working towards a more just and beautiful future, one that is impossible to achieve without addressing the impact a changing climate has on less developed countries.
The most vulnerable people around the world are feeling the burden of climate change. Which is why this #GivingTuesday, we invite you to join us in raising funds to support partnerships specifically focused on empowering people most affected by climate change.
Make an impact to protect the vulnerable through a donation or start your own fundraising campaign.
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One Day's Wages is a grassroots movement of people, stories, and actions to alleviate extreme global poverty
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