edited by Greta Gaard Temple University Press, 1993 Library of Congress HQ1233.E26 1993 | Dewey Decimal 304.2
Drawing on the insights of ecology, feminism, and socialism, ecofeminism's basic premise is that the ideology that authorizes oppression based on race, class, gender, sexuality, physical abilities, and species is the same ideology that sanctions the oppression of nature. In this collection of essays, feminist scholars and activists discuss the relationships among human begins, the natural environment, and nonhuman animals. They reject the nature/culture dualism of patriarchal thought and locate animals and humans within nature. The goal of these twelve articles is to contribute to the evolving dialogue among feminists, ecofeminists, animal liberationists, deep ecologists, and social ecologists in an effort to create a sustainable lifestyle for all inhabitants of the earth.
Among the issues addressed are the conflicts between Green politics and ecofeminism, various applications of ecofeminist theory, the relationship of animal liberation to ecofeminism, harmful implications of the romanticized woman-nature association in Western culture, and cultural limitations of ecofeminism.
In the series Ethics and Action, edited by Tom Regan.
Environmental practices among Mexican American woman have spurred a reconsideration of ecofeminism among Chicana feminists. Christina Holmes examines ecological themes across the arts, Chicana activism, and direct action groups to reveal how Chicanas can craft alternative models for ecofeminist processes. Holmes revisits key debates to analyze issues surrounding embodiment, women's connections to nature, and spirituality's role in ecofeminist philosophy and practice. By doing so, she challenges Chicanas to escape the narrow frameworks of the past in favor of an inclusive model of environmental feminism that alleviates Western biases. Holmes uses readings of theory, elaborations of ecological narratives in Chicana cultural productions, histories of human and environmental rights struggles in the Southwest, and a description of an activist exemplar to underscore the importance of living with decolonializing feminist commitment in body, nature, and spirit.
Greta Gaard Temple University Press, 1998 Library of Congress GE197.G33 1998 | Dewey Decimal 363.70525
In the 1980s, ecofeminism and the U.S. Green movement seemed to offer some of this country's most powerful and promising solutions to problems of social and environmental justice. A decade later, ecofeminism has become more a perspective than a movement, and divisions within the Greens have deepened as its national focus has shifted from issue-based politics to party building. Why have these movements faltered?
A member of both movements, Greta Gaard bases her analysis on her personal experience as well as extensive secondary sources and interviews with key theorists, activists, and speakers across the United States. By allowing each movement's members to speak for themselves, she traces the separate origins and development of each movement, explains their connections, and reveals the light that each can cast upon the other and on the difficulties facing social action in general.
Beginning with the ecofeminists, Gaard describes the paths -- environmental causes, the feminist peace movement, the feminist spirituality movement, the animal liberation movement, and the anti-toxics movements, as well as experiences of interconnectedness -- that have led women (and a few men) to articulate an ecofeminist perspective. Tracing the movement from the 1980s to the present, she defines its present strands as liberal ecofeminism, radical ecofeminism, socialist ecofeminism, and social ecofeminism.
Gaard illustrates the development of the U.S. Greens from a national movement into a political party. She defines the various factions -- the Left Greens, the Youth Greens, and the Green Politics Network -- that influenced the movement's direction and underlay the debates during Ralph Nadar's 1996 presidential campaign. She shows how the history of these three groups can be seen as stages in the transition from a leftist and sometimes anarchist action that places the Green movement squarely within the pattern of other social movements around the world.
Despite the significant influence that ecofeminists have had in shaping the Greens as a national movement, many have chosen to withdraw from the Greens. Gaard looks at the reasons for member disaffection and draws disturbing conclusions about the compatibility between liberal feminism and cultural ecofeminism and patriarchal politics. She also presents the divisions within the Greens as ongoing battles within the new left, the radical ecology movement, and various social justice movements. She focuses on three general areas -- conflicts over philosophy, conflicts over representation, and conflicts over strategy -- to make suggestions for how to bring about the kind of social transformation envisioned by both the Greens and the ecofeminists. Arguing that the Concord Principles represent a populist form of liberal democracy that fundamentally betrays both ecofeminism and Green philosophy, she uses the 1996 Nadar campaign as a departure point to developing an ecofeminist theory of radical democracy and to speculate on future directions for Green politics and for ecofeminism. Her analysis illuminates the nature and direction of each of these important movements and the pressures and conflicts experienced by all social movements at the end of the twentieth century.
In this thoughtful and highly readable book, Noël Sturgeon illustrates the myriad and insidious ways in which American popular culture depicts social inequities as “natural” and how our images of “nature” interfere with creating solutions to environmental problems that are just and fair for all. Why is it, she wonders, that environmentalist messages in popular culture so often “naturalize” themes of heroic male violence, suburban nuclear family structures, and U.S. dominance in the world? And what do these patterns of thought mean for how we envision environmental solutions, like “green” businesses, recycling programs, and the protection of threatened species?
Although there are other books that examine questions of culture and environment, this is the first book to employ a global feminist environmental justice analysis to focus on how racial inequality, gendered patterns of work, and heteronormative ideas about the family relate to environmental questions. Beginning in the late 1980s and moving to the present day, Sturgeon unpacks a variety of cultural tropes, including ideas about Mother Nature, the purity of the natural, and the allegedly close relationships of indigenous people with the natural world. She investigates the persistence of the “myth of the frontier” and its extension to the frontier of space exploration. She ponders the popularity (and occasional controversy) of penguins (and penguin family values) and questions assumptions about human warfare as “natural.”
The book is intended to provoke debates—among college students and graduate students, among their professors, among environmental activists, and among all citizens who are concerned with issues of environmental quality and social equality.
“As long as humans have been around, we’ve had to move in order to survive.” So arises that most universal and elemental human longing for home, and so begins Greta Gaard’s exploration of just precisely what it means to be at home in the world.
Gaard journeys through the deserts of southern California, through the High Sierras, the Wind River Mountains, and the Northern Cascades, through the wildlands and waterways of Washington and Minnesota, through snow season, rain season, mud season, and lilac season, yet her essays transcend mere description of natural beauty to investigate the interplay between place and identity. Gaard examines the earliest environments of childhood and the relocations of adulthood, expanding the feminist insight that identity is formed through relationships to include relationships to place. “Home” becomes not a static noun, but an active verb: the process of cultivating the connections with place and people that shape who we become.
Striving to create a sense of home, Gaard involves herself socially, culturally, and ecologically within her communities, discovering that as she works to change her environment, her environment changes her. As Gaard investigates environmental concerns such as water quality, oil spills, or logging, she touches on their parallels to community issues such as racism, classism, and sexism, uncovering the dynamic interaction by which “humans, like other life on earth, both shape and are shaped by our environments.”
While maintaining an understanding of the complex systems and structures that govern communities and environments, Gaard’s writing delves deeper to reveal the experiences and realities we displace through euphemisms or stereotypes, presenting issues such as homelessness or hunger with compelling honesty and sensitivity. Gaard’s essays form a quest narrative, expressing the process of letting go that is an inherent part of an impermanent life. And when a person is broken, in the aftermath of that letting go, it is a place that holds the pieces together.
As long as we are forced to move—by economics, by war, by colonialism—the strategies we possess to make and redefine home are imperative to our survival, and vital in the shaping of our very identities.
The New Ecological Order
Luc Ferry University of Chicago Press, 1995 Library of Congress GF21.F4813 1995 | Dewey Decimal 304.2
Is ecology in the process of becoming the object of our contemporary passions, in the same way that Fascism was in the 30s, or Communism under Stalin? In The New Ecological Order, Luc Ferry offers a penetrating critique of the ideological roots of the "Deep Ecology" movement spreading throughout Germany, France, and the United States.
Traditional ecological movements, or "democratic ecology," seek to protect the environment of human societies; they are pragmatic and reformist. But another movement has become the refuge both of nostalgic counterrevolutionaries and of leftist illusions. This is "deep ecology." Its followers go beyond practical critiques of human greed and waste: they call into question the very possibility of human coexistence with nature. The human species is no longer at the center of the world, but subject to a new god called Nature. For these purists, man can only soil the harmony of the universe. In order to secure natural equilibrium, the only solution is to grant rights to animals, to trees, and to rocks.
Ferry launches his critique by examining early European legal cases concerning the status and rights of animals, including a few notorious cases where animals were brought to trial, found guilty, and publicly hanged. He then demonstrates that German Romanticism embraced certain key ideas of the deep ecology movement concerning the protection of animals and the environment. Later adopted by the Nazis, many of these ideas point to a profoundly antihumanistic component of deep ecology that is compatible with totalitarianism.
Ferry shows how deep ecology casts aside all the gains of human autonomy since the Enlightenment. He deciphers the philosophical and political assumptions of a movement that threatens to infantalize human society by preying on the fear of the authority of a new theological-political order. Far from denying our "duty in relation to nature," The New Ecological Order offers a bracing caution—against the dangers of environmental claims and, more important, against the threat to democracy contained in the deep ecology doctrine when pushed to its extreme.
"A book of intellectual power, full of insights, invention, and not without temerity, from one of the best political philosophers today."—Le Figaro
"Few books have analyzed in depth this phenomenon of the ecological movement as the most recent book by Luc Ferry has done. . . . It is a book that absolutely must be read."—Le Point
Surprisingly, glimmerings of ecofeminist theory that would emerge a century later can be detected in women’s poetry of the late Victorian period. In Reconceiving Nature, Patricia Murphy examines the work of six ecofeminist poets—Augusta Webster, Mathilde Blind, Michael Field, Alice Meynell, Constance Naden, and L. S. Bevington—who contested the exploitation of the natural world. Challenging prevalent assumptions that nature is inferior, rightly subordinated, and deservedly manipulated, these poets instead “reconstructed” nature.
Contemporaries were shocked when author Mary Noailles Murfree revealed she was a woman, but modern readers may be more surprised by her cogent discussion of community responses to unwanted development. Effie Waller Smith, an African American woman writing of her love for the Appalachian mountains, wove discussions of women's rights, racial tension, and cultural difference into her Appalachian poetry. Grace MacGowan Cooke participated in avant-garde writers' colonies with the era's literary lights and applied their progressive ideals to her fiction about the Appalachia of her youth. Emma Bell Miles, witness to poverty, industrialization, and violence against women, wrote poignant and insightful critiques of her Appalachian home.
In The Tangled Roots of Feminism, Environmentalism, and Appalachian Literature Elizabeth Engelhardt finds in all four women's writings the origins of what we recognize today as ecological feminism—a wide-reaching philosophy that values the connections between humans and nonhumans and works for social and environmental justice.
People and the land in Appalachia were also the subject of women authors with radically different approaches to mountains and their residents. Authors with progressive ideas about women's rights did not always respect the Appalachian places they were writing about or apply their ideas to all of the women in those places—but they did create hundreds of short stories, novels, letters, diaries, photographs, sketches, and poems about the mountains.
While The Tangled Roots of Feminism, Environmentalism, and Appalachian Literature ascribes much that is noble to the beginnings of the ecological feminism movement as it developed in Appalachia, it is also unyielding in its assessment of the literatures of the voyeur, tourist, and social crusader who supported status quo systems of oppression in Appalachia.