Women are disproportionately affected by the impact of climate change. Cleaner cooking resources are kept at arms length for women as male head of households dominate purchase decisions. As if the back-breaking work to collect wood to keep the fire burning was not hard enough, women get sick from the soot emitted from these very fires they light every day.
Solar lamps provide light so girls can study at night and walk to latrines in the dark. Solar technologies allow midwives and doctors to deliver babies safely in the night, helping to stem the tide of maternal deaths in low-income countries. And sustainable farming practices enable women to more securely feed their families.
In addition to the chronic health risks from cooking over smoky fires, collecting fuel for cooking is often a danger in and of itself. This is unfortunately especially true for women living in zones of conflict or displaced from their homes who are vulnerable to sexual assault and physical attack as they leave their communities in search of fuel.
This week's announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to cut carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants by almost one-third is a great step in the right direction. But global warming is not only caused by carbon dioxide. Climate change is a multifaceted problem that requires a multifaceted set of solutions.