For many of us, protecting the environment seems like a luxury. It is something you worry about after you have fed your family, provided clean water to drink, heated your home and secured healthcare for your kids. However, over a billion people depend directly on the environment and the natural resources it provides to meet those exact same needs every day. With over 60% of the world’s poor currently living in ecologically vulnerable areas, maintaining environmental quality is an issue of survival for a vast number of people worldwide. Of those who depend on natural resources for survival, the majority are women and they are growing food in increasingly fragile soils and under dramatically changing climatic conditions, looking for water that is increasingly scarce, and extracting wood for energy from forests that are disappearing at alarming rates.
Despite these challenges, there is good news. When women have access to healthy natural resources they have time to grow their businesses, their daughters have time to study and their families have fewer health issues. These gains allow women more time and money and that translates into a pathway out of poverty and more resilient communities.
All around the world, organizations have approached environmental degradation as a separate issue from poverty, they have not fully engaged women in finding solutions for environmental degradation, and they have not ensured that women accrue benefits from conservation efforts. New Course was established to help change the way individuals think about the links between people and the environment as well as the way organizations develop and deploy solutions. But most importantly, New Course was established to ensure that the ideas, the passion and the vision that women have for their future and for future generations is used to build a world free of poverty and filled with healthy ecosystems.
For many women around the world, protecting the environment isn’t a luxury. It’s a survival strategy.
We invite you to learn more about New Course’s efforts to change the course of women’s lives through conservation, sustainability and poverty alleviation. When we change the course of their lives, we will change the course of ours.