The Women & Climate Connection

By Amy-Yanda-Lee, Executive Director of BeadforLife

As Earth Day draws near, I’m thinking deeply around the future of our amazing planet and my children. How can I personally contribute to a more sustainable future, so all children can thrive and live on with beautiful trees, lakes, mountains, oceans and all the things I’ve been so blessed to experience? We must all stand together to play our part, and supporting BeadforLife is an easy way to do that.

BeadforLife was founded on sustainability and human connection. By recycling paper to create beautiful jewelry, we’re turning trash into treasure. Paper calendars, maps, newspapers, books, magazines, and many other things are bringing beautiful jewelry to life around the world!

Yes, we train women in Uganda to hand-roll recycled paper beads that go into each vibrant jewelry piece. This is awe-inspiring for people when they initially learn about Beadforlife. “Get out! This is made from paper?” Yes, we all say, filled with passion while recalling the first moment we were mesmerized by touching the beads and hearing the story. Then, we explain the process of our eco-friendly glaze and that the women dry the beads in the hot Ugandan sun. Not only on Earth Day but every day, we focus intently on sustainable product development, and we make every effort to reuse and repurpose materials to minimize our financial and environmental impact. We also use intentional transport decisions across continents to reduce our footprint.

As we’ve evolved over the past 15 years, there’s a much greater sustainability practice beyond the paper. It’s sustainability through the world-class entrepreneurial training our bead makers have received, and that now lives on through our sister organization Street Business School. We’ve discovered that for women to create sustainable futures for their families, the combination of business skills and confidence is what truly empowers them to lift their families from poverty.

Along with our conscious efforts to combat climate change and preserve Mother Earth, there is another fascinating parallel-between women and our planet.

According to Women Deliver, women are the world’s best bet in the fight for a clean, healthy and sustainable planet.

In addition, environmentalist and author Katharine Wilkinson shares, in an article originally published by WIRED Magazine 1, how when women are empowered, the downstream effects on the environment will make a huge difference in combatting climate change. She also says when women are treated more professionally and equally, they have less children and their farming land will be more efficient. With women as the primary farmers in the world, producing 60-80% of food in lower income families, this makes total sense.

I feel so much pride for our work with this fascinating, supporting information. And while 1 billion people celebrate Earth Day this April 22, think about what 1 million BeadforLife items sold and how 1 million women empowered by Street Business School will help empower the planet and its people in a massive way. #million4million


  • Charlotte Shifrin

    Beautiful entry Amy. Thank you.

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