KATHERINE QUAID is Nez Perce, Paiute, Cayuse, a citizen of the Confederate Tribes of Umatilla and born and raised in rural central Oregon, in the Warm Springs community. Her dedication to climate justice is tied to the lands of her ancestors and the many communities nationally and around the world that are fighting for a healthy future. She is passionate about sharing her voice for climate justice, and collaborating with frontline women across Turtle Island (USA) and globally in resistance movements and climate solutions as the Communications and Outreach Coordinator for the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN). She has experience organizing for social justice in communities in Oregon and Vermont, where she learned the importance of community care, and bringing love and joy into the larger movement. Katherine attended school at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon and has a degree in Sociology and Anthropology with a focus on Indigenous movements and education. In her free time Katherine spends time with the Earth, beading with her family, and learning new languages. She also sits on the board of The Field Academy, a summer school dedicated to accessible and socially just experiential learning.
What does climate justice mean to you? / Why do you fight for climate justice? I fight for my communities, my loved ones, and for the land of my ancestors, and all animal and plant beings. I fight for climate justice because we must address the root causes of our climate crisis—Colonization, White Supremacy, Capitalism, Patriarchy—if we genuinely want to build the world we seek, one built on love, care, and deep reciprocity with each other and Mother Earth. There are so many ways in which the climate crisis and fossil fuel extraction worsens existing inequities and oppression. In this way, justice and liberation are non-negotiable. For me, fighting for climate justice means we must center, uplift and fight for Indigenous sovereignty, Black liberation, Immigrant rights, economic justice, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and support frontline communities who are experiencing the brunt of climate chaos and systemic violence.
In what ways are you/your organization addressing climate justice? As a communications person I’m really passionate about addressing the climate crisis through storytelling. As part of my work with WECAN I have the opportunity to share and amplify the stories of women and femme leaders worldwide who are building community-led climate solutions, leading frontline resistance, advocating for gender-responsive and just climate policies at the local, national, and international level; and so much more. I am able to use my skills and passions to amplify their leadership, solutions, and voices in the climate justice narrative. It is an honor to capture the power of the women’s climate justice movement through articles, photos, and video. Storytelling is a powerful way to capture people’s hearts and minds by ensuring the inclusion of voices that have historically been excluded from the climate and environmental movements.
What advice would you offer to a young climate justice advocate/leader? A few lessons I’ve learned so far that I can offer to younger climate justice leaders are to take care of yourself, create boundaries, and bring joy. This work is hard, it’s sad, it’s frustrating, grief-ridden, and it can be isolating. I’ve been able to find balance and stability to do this work for the long haul through community care, acts of resilience, joyful moments with colleagues and loved ones, and setting strong boundaries so I don’t burn out. Burn out is real and I hope as a young leader you can find what works for you and do what feels good and brings you joy in the long run.