By Leesa Sluder

In November, Earth Equity Advisors was one of the sponsors for the North Carolina Women’s Summit held in Asheville, and we gave away a signed copy of the book Drawdown Katharine Wilkinson, the lead author of the book, was a speaker at

our 2017 Speaker Series event.  At the Women’s Summit, I reconnected with a childhood friend, Callie Warner, whose family ties in Asheville go back several generations.  She was sponsoring a community gathering at her home to discuss the Drawdown book, and we bonded over our delight in growing up in Asheville, and our life long love of the beautiful mountains.

These Drawdown events are happening in communities all over the world, as concerned citizens wrestle with what we can do as individuals to reverse climate change.  The news on climate change is so distressing—-these groups are designed to harness this energy and try to move the dial in positive directions. The Drawdown book is a detailed roadmap of 100 ideas (already available) that a group of scientists have quantified from a cost/benefit perspective.  Our session at Callie’s home was led by Jen Powell, utilizing a format and outline provided by the Pachamama Alliance .  One of the most striking concepts discussed to reverse climate change was Educating Women and Girls and Family Planning  . These two ideas together are described as the most powerful, impactful way to reverse climate change— I would have guessed that a new technology development would be the silver bullet savior for the earth, however it turns out that this human component of supporting and connecting with each other can have a powerful result.

I started thinking about initiatives that I’m aware of to support women and girls, and in the past two months, I’ve attended events that provide examples of work in this arena.

Pisgah Legal Services hosted their Poverty Forum in the fall—70% of  their clients are women, and their work supports thousands of women in our region to shift their life trajectory, particularly as they work around complicated domestic violence cases.

YWCA of Asheville has a MotherLove program for pregnant high school girls  YWCA’s MotherLove program aims to help pregnant and parenting teens stay in school and graduate, access higher education and vocational training, develop the skills and knowledge needed to become strong parents and delay another teen pregnancy.   This program has successfully helped the participants graduate from high school and a majority have started programs in college.

Mama Maisha an organization founded by local Asheville physicians Reta and Jeff Graham, and works for safe delivery of babies and family planning education in Tanzania.  It is the first Safe Motherhood Intervention project in the Mara region of Tanzania. After visiting Tanzania twice, I was very excited to learn about the giving hearts of the Grahams’, and it all started here in Asheville.

I’m sure there are numerous initiatives supporting educating women and girls that happen day in and day out, and I am excited to connect these efforts to the climate change challenge of our world.  The small steps of these dedicated people, working on these projects and numerous other projects, will start moving the dial in a positive direction.

If you would like to learn more about the Drawdown project or attend a local meeting in Asheville with other concerned citizens, please let our office know or contact Jen Powell at