Interview SeriesLiving Within Our Means

Feminist perspectives on sustainability ahead of the Earth Overshoot Day 2022

Germany's Overshoot Day, the date by which per person, Germany’s natural resource consumption surpasses earth’s capacity to regenerate them in the space of a year, passed on May 4, 2022. The USA already passed it in March this year. In contrast, a person in Indonesia or Jamaica will only reach the same milestone of unsustainability in December. Reflecting vast inequalities and differences in global consumption, access, and stewardship of natural resources (with those protecting more often consuming the least, such as indigenous populations), the entire world's Overshoot Day is set to occur on July 28, 2022. If people across the world lived like those in the US and Europe, we would need many planets. But we only have one.

As mothers, educators, environmentalists, social and health workers, grassroots organizers, or holders of knowledge, women are often at the forefront when it comes to social and ecological change movements; they are the ‘worker bees’ of many sustainability efforts, often underpaid and under-appreciated. Yet, in decision-making functions, they are still dramatically underrepresented, reflecting a patriarchal system still permeating global sustainability debates.

On the occasion of Earth Overshoot Day 2022, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Washington, DC is publishing a series of short interviews, specifically with a focus on female change-makers from a variety of professional backgrounds. We aim to elevate their views on what needs to change and how a structural feminist transformation to a more just and sustainable world can be achieved. The interviews feature not only feminist perspectives on economic, political, environmental, and social transformations, but also highlight approaches on how to maintain individual resilience and well-being in a time where many of us feel overburdened by the breadth of global challenges.

All the artwork is by Molly Crabapple, a feminist voice and leader in the arts.

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Anna Cavazzini

Anna Cavazzini has been a member a Member of the European Parliament for The Greens/EFA since 2019. She gives her thoughts on what needs to be done to secure a circular economy and a just transition.

Human rights and gender equality are key to making production sustainable ... That is why I am fighting for an ambitious, mandatory due diligence legislation in the European Parliament, and a ban of products made with forced labor.
Anna Cavazzini

Keya Chatterjee

Keya Chatterjee is the Executive Director of US Climate Action Network (USCAN) and author of the book The Zero Footprint Baby: How to Save the Planet While Raising a Healthy Baby. She lays out how to defend democracy and fight the climate crisis.

Do what you are passionate about. Do what brings you joy. Find a way to help your community using that joy. If you are good at art, make chalk drawings for your neighbors. Play music for them, make lemonade for them, feed them, grow food for them if you like to dig around in the dirt.
Keya Chatterjee

Hilda Flavia Nakabuye

Hilda Flavia Nakabuye is a Climate, Gender and Environmental Rights Activist, Public Speaker, Writer and Founder of Fridays For Future - Uganda. She exlains how climate justice necessarily means social justice.

The idea of emphasizing our similarities rather than our differences. We have seen the system of emphasizing how different we are during colonialism and it clearly didn't work, we need to focus and embrace our similarities. We need love to heal the world.
Hilda Flavia Nakabuye

Emilia Reyes

Emilia Reyes is an international advocate for women's rights and expert on gender responsive public policies and budgets and sustainable development, including comprehensive disaster risk management and climate change. She highlights the necessity of degrowth and the issues of our global neoliberal system.

Human rights are a framework that must structure our technical approaches but also provides a principled path to make decisions when confronted with the unprecedented multiple and cascading crises we are currently facing collectively. Human rights should be the starting and the ending point when making the right decisions for the well-being of people and the health of the planet.
Emilia Reyes

Tarcila Rivera Zea

Tarcila Rivera Zea from the Quechua-Chanka Nation of Peru has been an important indigenous activist and recognized defender of the rights of indigenous girls, women, youth and peoples for more than 40 years. She provides wisdom on how to educate young people to value Mother Earth.

We need to review the foundations of education with a view to valuing the contributions of collectives and of every living being providing for our sustenance. An education based on strengthening dignity and respect for others has become indispensable. Respecting other people’s life and their right to self-determination and valuing intercultural coexistence and mutual respect oriented toward peace-building and harmonious relations would be ideal.
Tarcila Rivera Zea