As singer-songwriter Emeli Sande prepares to add her considerable voice to March4Women on International Women’s Day on Sunday, she tells us why she wants to ensure those most hurt by climate change can be heard.
The climate catastrophe across the world feels deeply personal to me. It is a shocking injustice that those who have done the least to cause it are suffering most.
My heritage comes out of drought-ravaged Zambia; these people are my people.
My family in Serenje say their crops are failing, that last year was the worst harvest they can remember. They are hit twice, with drought and then flash flooding.
There is not enough water in the reservoirs to create the hydroelectricity the country runs on – so power cuts are a part of life for many, affecting businesses and the economy. And drought pushes it ever closer to famine.
It is only over the past couple of years I have come to fully understand how climate change is affecting the people in Sub-Saharan Africa – how it is devastating those who already have a plethora of hardships to deal with.
Like so many injustices, it is affecting women and girls most acutely, because gender inequality ensures they are most vulnerable. I want to share my platform with those who don’t have one of their own.
Music has given me a voice and I want to use it to speak for others.
So when Helen Pankhurst asked if I would sing at March4Women this International Women’s Day, I said yes in a heartbeat.
The event is bringing the feminist and the climate movements together to say climate justice and gender justice are intertwined.
We cannot achieve one without the other. We’ll be calling on all governments to make climate justice and gender justice priorities.
We’ll demand a rapid shift to net zero emissions; limiting global temperature rise to below 1.5C; more funding for climate responses; and for women and girls to be at the centre of national climate plans.
It’s a beautiful thing so many people coming together to make these demands.
It feels like a chance to sing the story of my family right in front of Parliament. I hope those in power listen.
- Join Emeli Sande, activist Helen Pankhurst, Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson, singer RAYE and more at March4Women in London on Sunday.
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