Fertile Ground: Intro to Ecofeminist Thought

Book Cover from Reweaving the World: The Emergence of Ecofemism, an anthology edited by Irene Diamond and Gloria OrensteinHello! I am here to blog about ecofeminism in today’s landscape. Bitch has already had a great ecofeminist blogger, and my intention is to look at a few different aspects of this multi-faceted topic.

Who am I, and why am I talking about this? For starters, I live and work as an organic farmer. I initially became interested in organic farming as I become interested in many things—wanting a tangible way to create some good in the world. I help plants grow and thrive, and I do it in the name of growing healthy food for people. We (my husband and I) get to take care and nourish of a bit of earth, using it to grow plants in the most natural way possible, saving it from being used to build a subdivision or parking lot. (Right now we actually rent land that is protected, but you get the idea.) Farmland and forested areas are hacked, clear-cut and smoothed over with layers of fog-colored concrete every day. Instead of vibrant trees and flowers, pale houses bloom right before our eyes to expand never-ending suburbia, as if keeping the oxygen-exhaling, chlorophyll-filed life forms around don’t matter. (They’re just a bunch of pesky weeds, taking up all that space! Really, the nerve!) Truthfully, our planet is sick. A major principle of permaculture is to “reforest the earth” in order to aid its healing. It doesn’t seem to be happening as urgently as it should, but, at the same time, there are positive things happening that give me hope.

Environmental destruction is a form of violent oppression, and many forms of life share this similar kind of experience. Ecofeminism focuses mainly on likening the oppression of nature to the oppression of women. As a topic, ecofeminism can supply an endless river of discussion; this blog intends to merely touch the tip of the (melting) iceberg, from topics ranging from food justice to beauty commercials to the history of witches. I also plan on integrating a race/class analysis, as race/class issues most certainly underscore many issues dotting ecofeminism (climate change disproportionately affects women of color in poverty-stricken countries above any other group in the world, for one big example). Like anything else, many topics are debatable within ecofeminism; I don’t think that women are necessarily closer to nature than men, but I see that women and nature often share a multitude of political fates. (Control and containment are prime examples that both face.) I see environmentalism and feminism entwined in sundry ways, linked together like a steel chain; in ecofeminism, they are held tightly together, breathing life into one another and each increasing the other’s strength. Both environmentalism and feminism are essential building blocks of the fine architecture of a just and healthy society.

On a personal level, ecofeminism works its way into my life daily. Many things I do I think of as ecofeminist acts. It’s healing an illness with plant medicine, it’s growing and canning tomatoes, it’s riding and learning to fix my bike, it’s planting fruit trees, it’s helping increase soil fertility, it’s guerrilla gardening in a park, it’s learning how to implement graywater systems, it’s fermenting a medicinally spiced kimchi, it’s learning to make biodiesel from discarded veggie oil for our tractor, it’s doing permaculture techniques at our farm. I intend to delve into these (and other) personal lifestyle choices, and how I think of them as part of my own homespun ecofeminist activism. So join me, won’t you, as we dig deep into certain aspects of ecofeminist theory and action! (Bonus: there are many plays on words that ecofeminism brings). All we need are the seeds of ideas and thoughts, and the people that can sprout them into action. (See? Seriously, there is an opulence of possible puns.)

by Alison Parker
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6 Comments Have Been Posted

What a lovely and genuine

What a lovely and genuine intro to this subject! This lady really knows her stuff. Thanks, Alison!

Looking forward to learning

Looking forward to learning more about this topic of ecofeminism! I work in a low-income, inner-city area of Chicago and we don't see a lot of trees or any real preservations of nature. I have thought of this as definitely a race/class issue, but discovering the connection to feminism will add some fuel to the fire!

Alison Parker on Eco-feminism

Really looking forward to reading what Alison Parker has to say-- what a rare combination of experience and talent!

As a student of range

As a student of range conservation, a wannabe agrarian, and a feminist, I'm excited to see this topic being addressed in Bitch. Thanks for offering some other facets of ec ofeminism to consider--I'm really looking forward to it.

What a well thought out,

What a well thought out, intelligent article on an interesting subject. This is the first article I've read about ecofeminism but now I'm yearning to learn more. Thanks for sharing this with us all. (:

Nice Work!

Looking forward to reading more!

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