[email protected] – Gender & Climate Adaptation

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Photo courtesy of Northern Climate Network

Ashley Beronja

On Friday, Jan. 22 from 12-1 p.m. the Northern Climate Network will host the first free virtual event of the semester, “[email protected] – Gender & Climate Adaptation,” as part of the ongoing virtual series [email protected]

The event will feature Sumit Vij of Wageningen University who will be discussing his work on gender and climate change adaptation for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Vij will share his “research expertise on climate governance, power and politics, transboundary water politics and peri-urban development” according to the event’s infopage, while diving deeper into the discussion of climate change by how people and the power they hold in politics affect climate change as well.

“What happens in [South Asia] is that there are already developmental issues which aggravates climate and then it makes it much worse for the people,” said Vij. “Apart from that, it is not just the climate induced issues but the political scenario where topics such as climate change are not given enough priority.”

The event will highlight two key focus points during the presentation: policy planning at the local level in Nepal and how participation works. Instead of stopping at what most people already know about climate change, Vij will share further research as to how gender-influenced participation plays a role in the decision making.

“I still feel that participation is a big issue there and an elephant in the room,” said Vij. “So I’m going to focus on that and question and critique it.”

According to Ryan Stock, assistant professor of the earth, environmental and geographical sciences department and president of Northern Climate Network, what makes this event topic so important is that discussions of climate change vulnerability are not nuanced. 

“Especially when discussing vulnerability of people from the global South, people tend to essentialize entire populations as equally vulnerable to climate-related impacts,” said Stock. “However, gendered social power and gender relations heavily influence climate change vulnerability.”

Stock continued by expressing how important climate change vulnerability should be assessed through an intersectional lens. Stock said that beyond gender other identites also mediate the uneven distribution of enviornmental harm. 

“Unless gender and other identities are considered when developing and implementing solutions to climate change, marginalized groups will continue to be disproportionately vulnerable,” said Stock.

Both Vij and Stock shared similar hopes for what people take away from the event. The goal for the end is to have those who attend walk away with a better understanding of the process that goes into climate change topics.

“It is my hope that after attending Vij’s presentation, people have a better understanding of how gender influences participation in decision-making and policy-making processes around climate change adaptation,” said Stock.

[email protected] is a monthly lecture series held monthly by the Northern Climate Network. Due to the current pandemic, [email protected] is now a monthly webinar series. To register for the upcoming virtual event, go to [email protected]’s page on the hub
For more information about upcoming events or general questions, join the Northern Climate Network’s Facebook group.