Urgenda’s approach to intersectionality
Lent, N.L. van
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This thesis looks at the ways in which intersectionality is incorporated in the projects of the climate movement Urgenda. Urgenda is a Dutch climate movement whose main goal is to facilitate the transition towards a sustainable future in the Netherlands. If Urgenda wants to achieve this goal, its projects should target the entire Dutch society. In this thesis, it was researched whether the projects hold an intersectional design. Intersectionality recognizes that different forms of discrimination, whether it is classism, racism, sexism, etc. form a unique kind of discrimination when combined. This kind of discrimination differs per individual and their unique social status. Intersectionality can also be applied to climate change and shows that every individual relates to climate change differently because of their unique social status. If Urgenda’s projects effectively take intersectionality into account, Urgenda would meet its main goal to make the entire Dutch society more sustainable. Urgenda’s sustainability projects were evaluated based on the five criteria for intersectionality by Elliot et al. (2017). It was found that the projects often met two or three criteria and only one out of nine projects complied with all five criteria of intersectionality. This concluded that the projects hold an intersectional design to some account, but there is still room for improvement. Four different recommendations are given that might help Urgenda design its projects in a way that all the projects meet all criteria of intersectionality. These recommendations are based on conducted interviews with Urgenda members and members from the climate action group ‘Code Rood’ and the climate research institute ‘DRIFT’. First of all, I recommend Urgenda to create awareness of the concept of intersectionality among its members. Secondly, Urgenda could establish a more diverse board of leaders which represent the Dutch population. Thirdly, these leaders should engage in trainings about the privileges that exist in relation to climate change. And finally, Urgenda should form alliances with other social movements to establish a broader platform to recruit participants. The thesis ends with a few points of discussion and recommendations for further research.