Natural disasters have always been a fact of life. The reality of the earth’s rapidly changing climate, however, has meant that they happen with more frequency and devastating impact. In particular, natural disasters disproportionately impact the lives and livelihoods of women, girls and other vulnerable populations unequivocally making climate change a feminist issue.
For small island developing states like St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the impact and destruction that comes with natural disasters is often swift and severe. On April 9, the dormant La Soufrière volcano on the Caribbean island, with a population of just over 110,000, violently erupted for the third time in its documented history. The eruptions, which are still ongoing, have displaced tens of thousands of people, covered the country and neighbouring islands in thick blankets of toxic volcanic ash and impacted the entire population’s access to basic amenities like clean water, electricity, food and resources. It is likely for La Soufrière eruptions to continue for months and the volcano’s pyroclastic flow continues to pose a fatal threat to anyone and anything in its path.
Young feminists continue to play a critical role in supporting communities through humanitarian response. This has also been the case with La Soufrière’s eruption. FRIDA grantee partner Red Root SVG, who support women, girls, LGBTQI+ folks and other marginalised people in their community in St. Vincent and Grenadines, have been on the frontlines of emergency response. They have been mobilising resources and providing critical access to food, clothes, menstrual products and other essential items to those most affected. FRIDA grantmaking advisors from the Caribbean have also been collecting donations to directly support young-feminist led response on the ground.
Click here to donate directly to Red Root SVG
In recent years, philanthropic donors have responded to the world’s rapidly worsening climate change crisis by facilitating billions of dollars in emergency response aid. While this aid has been life saving and fundamental to restoration of liveable conditions, the repeated process of acting after a disaster has struck and not realising the urgency of climate change is benefitting no one. As a young feminist fund acutely aware of the need to support climate justice movements, FRIDA recognises that philanthropy must approach the issue of climate change and natural disaster in a way that is proactive through an intentional investment in climate resilience.
In addition to prioritising climate justice as an urgent issue and approaching it intersectionally, we must acknowledge the monopoly of mainstream media that continues to sideline even the most pressing news from Global South nations. The media coverage for the volcanic eruptions that are having far-reaching consequences in the entire Caribbean region has been minimal at best and dismal at worst. Lack of news coverage of something so catastrophic is also an attempt to infantilise or normalise a natural disaster and that needs to be called out.
Climate justice is a collective movement and can only succeed if every single one of us take responsibility in acknowledging it, responding to it and building awareness around it. This means equal participation and support from funders, activists, community organizers, media and the State alike. We are in this together–let’s start now!
Click here for more information on how you can donate towards rescue operations in St.Vincent and the Grenadines