Friday, January 21, 2011

Thought Food: Eco-Feminism and the "Green Revolution"

What is Eco-Feminism?

A connection between ecology and equality! Though, to provide answers to this question in a western society saturated in historically rooted patriarhy, it seems like starting at the basics is necessary. As with any branch of feminism, a concrete definition is impossible and innapropriate in terms of valuing change and flux - transitions that are integrated in any given approach under this umbrella. However, Eco-Feminism as I understand it aligns traditionally oppressive forces and holds them at blame for the exploitation and destruction of our environmental surroundings, womens bodies and social status. These forces are also seen as being responsible for the degredation and enslavement of all people on a multi-level and interdisciplinary basis.


Some take this perspective deeper, correlating and celebrating the direct connection and parallels between females and "mother nature", or "pachamama". This includes womyn's 28 day menstrual cycle and the 28 day monthly lunar calendar. It is even possible to chart your period with the moon's movement! Common ignorance about nature's cycles, lunar activity and taboo nature of menstruation, are examples of how both women and nature are disregarded or disvalued regularly. Eco-feminism would surely seek to reverse this along with current practices such as those that cause deforestation and global warming (euphemistically referred to as "climate change"). Transforming our attitudes and actions is a priority in this discourse - so that womyn, the ecosystem, our planet and all its organisms can live sustainably in peace, honouring the biosphere and everything that it constitutes.

Author Carol J Adams has written the recently celebrated 20th anniversary of The Sexual Politics of Meat which "explores a relationship between patriarchal values and meat eating". She also keeps an active blog where more veg-feminist insights can be found. The following exerpts have been taken from a book of essays she edited: Ecofeminism and the Sacred. Hopefully they will help in considering approaches to changing the current environmental condition, crisis and ethic of exploitation. Respecting nature and all people are inherently connected activities! Please consider the:

“interrelationship of social domination and the domination of the rest of nature”

[Issues of sexism, racism, classism, and heterosexism and the domination of nature must be recognized to adequately understand oppression of women, people and nature]

“transformations: respect and a willingness to assess one’s own role in perpetuating domination and, upon discovering what that role is, changing it”

“While the Earth is poisoned, everything it supports is poisoned. While the Earth is enslaved, none of us is free” –from Alice Walker’s “Everything Is a Human Being”

“Euro-Western Cultural Attitudes”

“When the majority of this nation’s [America] people consider environmental preservation to be more important than plundering it for economic gain, then they (we) will develop more appropriate methods for providing the basic human needs for food, shelter, comfortable indoor temperatures, clothing, and – to some extent – unnecessary human ‘comforts’ such as exotic household gadgets, recreational toys and modes of transportation”

“Many environmentalists have stated that careful planning in the use of renewable resources and the recycling of non-renewable resources must become the norm rather than the exception in every community across our nation”

Human/animal/plant/mineral hierarchy = top down destruction

“mindful[ness] of their place within rather than above the rest of creation” = soulution
-from Carol Lee Sanchez’s “Animal, Vegetable, Mineral”

Ecology: “examines how natural communities function to sustain a healthy web of life and how they become disrupted, causing death to the planet and animal life. Human intervention is obviously one of the main causes of such disruption.”

Deep Ecology: “ examines the symbolic, psychological, and ethical patterns of destructive relations of humans with nature and how to replace this with a life-affirming culture.”

“interconnection between the domination of women and the exploitation of nature”
-from Rosemary Radford Ruether’s Ecofeminism: Symbolic and Social Connections of the Oppression of Women and the Domination of Nature”

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