08/09/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Women And The Environment: A Call For Women's Wisdom In Environmental Policy

The more we experience the effects of climate change, the clearer it becomes that everyone on the planet has a huge stake in what we decide to do now. That is why it is appalling that women are still being overlooked as key to the solution.

When storms and mudslides devastate a neighborhood, women shoulder most of the cleanup, stay home from work or school the most and take care of the injured. When drought hits the developing world, it is women whose crops and animals suffer most, as they produce most of the food in Africa and Asia. Women are the ones who risk assault to go further and further in search of water and firewood.

Women, in short, are the most affected by the disruptions of climate change. But women also have the most experience in coping. Women drive less, consume less and have smaller carbon footprints than men. Women's initiatives are creating green jobs and slowing environmental damage worldwide. Yet women are generally left out of policy deliberations on what to do about global warming.

It is time for this to change. Next year's new Congress will consider legislation to mandate new greenhouse gas emission standards and invest in measures to grow a greener U.S. economy. Election season offers politicians the chance to stand out from their opponents by recognizing women's centrality on this issue and pledging to involve them in its solution. So far, it isn't happening.

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More on the environment from the Huffington Post.