Living Within Our Means
Feminist perspectives on sustainability ahead of Earth Overshoot Day 2022
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.
On May 4, 2022, Germany reached its “Overshoot Day”: the date by which, per person, Germany’s natural resource consumption surpasses earth’s capacity to regenerate those resources in the space of one year. In the US, Americans reached their Overshoot Day as early as March 13 of this year. In contrast, a person in Indonesia or Jamaica will only reach the same milestone of unsustainability in December.
National Overshoot Days reflect the vast inequalities and differences in global consumption, access, and stewardship of natural resources: those who protect our natural resources, such as indigenous populations, tend to consume the least.
As educators, environmentalists, social and health workers, grassroots organizers, mothers, 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. Women also remain dramatically underrepresented in decision-making functions, reflecting patriarchal structures that still permeate global sustainability debates.
On the occasion of Earth Overshoot Day 2022, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Washington, DC is publishing a series of short interviews with feminist change-makers committed to fighting for people and the planet. We aim to elevate their views on what needs to change in global consumption patterns 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.
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
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
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
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
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