April 22, 2022

By Aline Coutinho

This year’s theme for Earth Day is “Invest in Our Planet”, with a special call to solve the climate crisis with bold and innovative action as well as equitable implementation. The issues of sustainability and environmental protection are increasingly being acknowledged as intertwined with those of gender justice. Last year, we published a blog post discussing how considerations of gender have increasingly informed climate policy and action. This year, Smart Prosperity Institute is launching the Shed Light, Build Resilience series which consists of two reports looking at the gendered implications of climate change in Canada through an intersectional lens.


What is the Shed Light, Build Resilience series about?

The Shed Light, Build Resilience series, with support from Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), seeks to shed light on what is known and what remains to be known about gendered vulnerability to climate change in Canada, particularly through an intersectional lens. The goal is to synthesize the most recent evidence on the gendered implications of climate change to inform future research and more gender-sensitive action to build resilience and climate preparedness in Canada.

Although climate change threatens everyone, the implications will be felt unevenly across communities and social groups. Climate change impacts are not gender neutral, and protecting the Earth against the threats of a changing climate should incorporate gender considerations to avoid maladaptation and unintentionally reproducing or exacerbating gendered inequities.

The Shed Light, Build Resilience series consists of two reports. Both take an intersectional approach to the discussion of climate change impacts, focusing on distinct, yet complementary, conversations: the first on livelihoods, and the second on resource-based communities.


Report 1: A focus on livelihoods in Canada

There is strong scientific consensus that climate change will disrupt ecosystems and increase the frequency and severity of climatic events, affecting species and their habitats. Climate change will also affect livelihoods and human well-being, as evidenced by a recent IPCC report. Indeed, livelihoods in Canada are already sustaining the shocks of climatic changes, and evidence mounts that these impacts are felt unevenly across communities and social groups.

This first report seeks to answer the question: What are the gendered and intersectional impacts of climate change on livelihoods in Canada?

To answer this question, the report examines health, food security, work, housing, and migration and displacement in a variety of Canadian contexts, including Arctic, rural, coastal and urban communities in Canada.


Report 2: Gendered implication of climate change in resource-based communities

Cognizant that natural resource-dependent communities are disproportionately vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change, this second report focuses on Canadian agriculture, mining, fisheries, forestry, and energy sectors to better understand gendered experiences and intersectional impacts of climate change within resource-based communities.

This second report aims to answer the question: What are the gendered and intersectional impacts of climate change on resource-based sectors and communities, and the people who depend on natural resources for jobs, income, cultural services and benefits?


Combining evidence to inform climate adaptation and build resilience

Taken together, these two reports can help inform climate policy through a gendered and intersectional perspective, providing insights into how climate policy and adaptation efforts are likely to interact with gendered experiences of climate change in different communities.

Recognizing the current dearth of information and the need for rigorous research at the nexus of gender, intersectionality and climate change, this series brings together the best available evidence to inform the design of inclusive climate adaptation efforts and to improve the resilience of communities and equity-deserving groups. The evidence allows for better foresight exercises as it sheds light on how problems can evolve in a changing climate, while enabling communities, practitioners, and policymakers to reduce unintended consequences of climate change and anticipate, prepare, and build resilience to meet future challenges.


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