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"Sister" Group Urges Action on Climate Change

March 31, 2010

MIAMI, Fla. - Flooding in northern Florida, record-breaking cold temperatures across the state resulting in crop losses, water scarcity -- all are signs of what scientists call "climate change," and they are mobilizing women to organize to work toward global solutions. Oxfam America recently gathered women leaders in Washington, D.C., as part of the international humanitarian organization's "Sisters on the Planet" movement, which is documenting the impact of climate change worldwide and pushing for adaptation answers.

Annie Betancourt, former Florida legislator, congressional candidate and 1st vice president of the Florida League of Women Voters, is one of the "sisters." She says Florida is feeling the impact.

"This winter was a very, very cold winter. We suffered, we saw the extremes. It seems like the four seasons are confused. They're changing, erratically."

Water shortages both here and around the world are another result of climate change, she says. In some nations, it is challenging to find enough water and food to meet the daily needs of survival, she adds, pointing out that often it's women who bear that responsibility. Betancourt says the "sisters" are working to educate people from the most-affected nations, and give them tools to cope with the change.

"They were blaming themselves. It was 'our fault' that we don't have water. It was 'our fault' that we have famine. It was seen as a cultural problem."

Here in Florida, Betancourt says everyone can help others survive and thrive by making an effort to conserve.

"We all need to conserve water, to learn about the environmental changes and take action. I think each and every one of us is capable of making changes, and hopefully it will have a ripple effect."

"Sisters on the Planet" advocates funding adaptation solutions, especially for vulnerable nations affected by climate-related disasters.

For more information contact Laura Russo at Oxfam America, 202-496-1169.



Gina Presson , Public News Service - FL