See much valuable information at the website of Ariel Salleh Ecofeminism: An Overview "Ecofeminism is an activist and academic movement that sees critical connections between the domination of nature and the exploitation of women Ecofeminist activism grew during the s and s among women from the anti-nuclear, environmental, and lesbian-feminist movements. It emerged in the mids alongside second-wave feminism and the green movement. Ecofeminism brings together elements of the feminist and green movements, while at the same time offering a challenge to both. It takes from the green movement a concern about the impact of human activities on the non-human world and from feminism the view of humanity as gendered in ways that subordinate, exploit and oppress women. Our aim is to go beyond this narrow perspective and to express our diversity and, in different ways, address the inherent inequalities in world structures which permit the North to dominate the South, men to dominate women, and the frenetic plunder of ever more resources for ever more unequally distributed economic gain to dominate nature… "…everywhere, women were the first to protest against environmental destruction.
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Vandana Shiva was one of the women involved in this movement, which resisted industrial forestry and logging in rural India. Local women physically put their bodies between the machinery and the forest that provided their livelihood—literally hugging the trees Callicott, Vandana Shiva is a woman whose work is focused on embracing not only the principles of feminism, but also the principles of ecology. In fact, as an ecofeminist, she sees these two movements as interconnected and believes that the worldview that causes environmental degradation and injustice is the same worldview that causes a culture of male domination, exploitation, and inequality for women.
Both her activism and theory has had a global and concrete focus. A tireless author, speaker and activist, Shiva has written over 13 books that reveal the true impact of globalization on the lives of women and men in developing countries. She has founded several organizations, including The Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology, Navdanya, and Bija Vidyapeeth, an organic farm and center for holistic living.
Born in , she began training as a nuclear physicist. This was a pivotal moment that caused Shiva to critique science and the worldview behind scientific ideology. Ecofeminism distinguishes itself from other theories of feminism, which maintain the hierarchical worldview of the Western world.
Shiva and other ecofeminists are explicitly anti-war and anti-capitalist, because both war and capitalism are seen as patriarchal structures. The historical context that radicalized Vandana Shiva and many others was the Green Revolution and the vast globalization of the mid to late twentieth century. Shiva refers to this model of economic development as maldevelopment.
Cash crop industrial agriculture caused farmers to go into debt to the multinational seed and chemical companies, and when their crops failed, the result was over 20, farmers taking their own lives by drinking the chemical fertilizers and pesticides sold to them by the corporations that held their insurmountable debt.
Vandana Shiva credits Article Under this article, it is illegal to save seeds and plant them the following year if a corporation holds a patent on that plant. For a farmer, this means that he or she cannot be independent, but must now pay the corporation every year to plant that seed.
For the corporation, it means that it can appropriate any life form such as basmati rice, which had been developed over thousands of years in India through traditional breeding and selection techniques , apply for a patent, and is thereby granted complete legal and biological control over that species, anywhere in the world. In resistance to these violent forces of globalization, Vandana Shiva founded Navdanya in , an organization in India that saves seeds, promotes biodiversity, empowers women and children, and protects indigenous knowledge.
To the western worldview, the patenting of seeds or the deforestation of the Himalaya may seem completely unrelated to feminism. This disconnect is due to the fundamental dualistic nature of the western worldview, where the nature of reality is divided into opposing parts, and hierarchically arranged.
Thus, humans are seen as separate to nature, technology is seen as superior to indigenous knowledge, men are superior to women, and humans are superior and separate from animals, etc. The alternative worldview promoted by Shiva is one of partnership and cooperation. Shiva believes different definitions of freedom, knowledge, and progress are needed for the liberation of both women and the environment, from those definitions held by Western culture since the Enlightenment.
For women in the affluent North such a concept of universalism or commonality is not easy to grasp. Survival is seen not as the ultimate goal of life but a banality—a fact that can be taken for granted. Modernization brings with it new forms of dominance to subsistence cultures. Subsistence, on the other hand, has been shown to be a model of interdependence and cooperation. She explains that oppression will continue in the Western worldview because it devalues what she terms the feminine principle.
This concept is often confused with the promotion of gendered femininity, but Shiva sees the feminine principle as the larger creative force in the world. Shiva proposes that the feminine principle is killed in Western women by the association of passivity as a category with the feminine As natural resources become more and more limited on our finite planet, a shift in our worldview will become compulsory.
We must acknowledge that we are part of the larger web of life that provides for our survival, and therefore it is imperative that we protect that fragile web of life, not as dominators—men over women and humans over nature—but as partners with every other life form on the planet.
References Callicott, J. Berkeley: University of California Press. Democracy Now! An Hour with Vandana Shiva. Holden, Madronna. WS Ecofeminism Class notes. Oregon State University. Mies, Maria and Vandana Shiva. Halifax: Fernwood Publications. Shiva, Vandana, ed. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers. Shiva, Vandana. Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Development. London: Zed Books. Share this:.
In the book, the author argues that oppression, domination, exploitation, and colonization from the Western patriarchal society has directly caused irreversible environmental damage. These texts helped to propel the association between domination by man on women and the domination of culture on nature. From these texts feminist activism of the s linked ideas of ecology and the environment. It is also an activist and academic movement that sees critical connections between the exploitation of nature and the domination over women both caused by men.
What is ecofeminism?
It has also been adopted by other disciplines through the writing and activism of Arundhati Roy and Vandara Shiva. Ecofeminism stresses the indissoluble connectedness — both physical and conceptual — of the earth itself, and all life on it. Humans, as a part of this community depend on earth and sea, and the life this generates for survival;but they are even more fundamentally of it,one component part of the living whole. The tenets of Enlightenment reason rely for their continuing power on a number of linked and hierarchized binarisms: nature and culture; black and white; civilization and savagery; the human and the animal. Central to such rethinking is the dismantling of those dangerous and divisive dualisms of patriarchal economies whose modern roots in Western cultures are traceable to the dictates of reason. Reason is interrogated not, as Plumwood stresses, to instantiate the unreasonable, but to understand the historically and philosophically contingent bases of the subjugation of women, nonwestern people and the natural world. As its affirmation of the shared ground of all being suggests,ecofeminism especially in the United States has strong spiritual as well as political and scholarly dimensions;modern retrieval of the traditional confluence of material and spiritual being intimately connected to place and the earth in many pre-colonized cultures.
Mies and Shiva were the first to show the sad parallels in nearly all spheres of life, in the North as well as in the South. Their book belongs to the classical texts of a feminism that developed a more profound critique of modernity as "capitalist patriarchy" than Marxism, ecoscience and gender studies had done. Twenty years later the global spread of neoliberalism has resulted in the "death of nature", even of Planet Earth, and the death of women in many ways, leading to the emergence of new social movements worldwide. Not only does it interconnect the destructive tendencies of the capitalist patriarchal global politics of homogenization, fragmentation and colonization, but it also offers the subsistence perspective as a form of resistance and liberation within the limits of nature. It helps us to understand why women are taking the lead in the struggle to resist global forces endangering our survival and to forge a new society. The courage, radicalism and lucidity of Mies and Shiva twenty years ago still guide us on the path ahead.