"Finding Intersections of the Climate Crisis and My Reproductive Choices"
For a long time I didn't realize how many choices I had in my life. I chose what to wear throughout elementary, middle, and high school. I chose what classes I wanted to take. I chose when I had my first kiss, and I chose when I lost my virginity. I chose whether I used tampons or pads. In high school, I even chose to go on birth control to "regulate" my period, which in the end was a terrible mistake. Discovering how much freedom I have had surrounding these choices, I realize my current position of great privilege and power. Not until college did I realize this, surrounded by people from all walks of life like at City College of San Francisco; many who shared their lack of choice. So now, I am putting my choice to action. Many women like me who live in the Bay Area, or even more generally many areas of California, have the freedom to choose whether or not to have children. Now to say something radical... My choice of whether or not to have children, AND, my freedom to be educated at the graduate level, has everything to do with human impact on our planet. I know how to practice safe sex. I know how to, and I have the legal capabilities, to abort my unwanted baby if needed. I know how to reduce my carbon footprint, and I know that having a child would increase my carbon footprint by ten fold. I know that women around the world do not have these choices, nor do they have access to the education that I do. Many woman do not choose to have children, but instead have a culturally-embedded obligation to do so. I hope to bring more awareness locally to how we as a gender, can empower ourselves through recognizing the choices that we do have, and integrate this freedom to choose, into the global discourse of how humanity will become resilient to the effects of climate change. I want the next generation of children to all have the same choices that I have had, and I specifically stand for girls around the world to desire whatever they want in their life, whether that includes being a parent, or NOT!
I am by no means an expert on this intersection, nor am I an expert in climate science, or reproductive justice, as independent fields. However, through the research and work I have already done, in my opinion, I believe that both the masculine, AND the feminine must coexist in harmony. Maybe it is a generalization, but for the most part GROWTH indicates progress. I could dive deep into the history of how patriarchy and colonialism has lead to this paradigm, which embodies capitalism and materialism; but, I find it more practical to share my goals for the NOW. We no longer have the resources to thrive on this paradigm of growth. We can no longer act as if the planet is a sweat shop cooking up natural resources. Sure, we really do not need Black Fridays, or Big Gulps. But on a deeper level, we really do not need to be reproducing at the rate that we once were. We, as in..HUMANS! What we do need is to empower women, and insure that girls and boys around the world have access to an education that will give them the freedom to choose how they have sex, and whether or not they will have a child.
Currently I am organizing a symposium, called "A Case for Climate and Sex," which will integrate speakers, artists, and advocates, into an open dialogue about how the climate crisis has everything to do with reproductive health and choice. I hope you can join me on October 27th, from 11am-5pm at Humanist Hall in Oakland, CA. The speakers include a clinical sexologist, a Climate Reality mentor and presenter, the founder of Ecobirth.org, and a member of WECAN (Women's Earth and Climate Action Network). Tickets will be advertised soon through the website www.climateandsex.org (launching soon!). Please support this endeavor financially if you can here.
Rose Paratore is a student on the hunt for the intersections of the climate crisis and reproductive health. Through earning her Bachelor's degree in Cultural Anthropology at UC Davis, combined with experience working with the Climate Reality Project and Environment CA, she will bring her interest in people and drive for climate resilience to her Master's degree in Public Health at UC Berkeley. During this time, she hopes to integrate as much research surrounding reproductive health and rights into her Environmental Health Sciences program.