What is ecofeminism?

some definitions from Mary Mellor and Maria Mies and Vandana Shiva

Mary Mellor (UK):
"Ecofeminism is a movement that sees a connection between the exploitation and degradation of the natural world and the subordination and oppression of women. It emerged in the mid-1970s 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."
--- From the introduction to "Feminism & Ecology" by Mary Mellor, New York Univerity Press,1997, p.1

Ecofeminism: An Overview
Lois Ann Lorentzen, University of San Francisco, and Heather Eaton, Saint Paul University (2002)
"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 1980s and 1990s among women from the anti-nuclear, environmental, and lesbian-feminist movements. The “Women and Life on Earth: Ecofeminism in the Eighties” conference held at Amherst (1980) was the first in a series of ecofeminist conferences, inspiring the growth of ecofeminist organizations and actions..."

"Uprooting the Patriarchy" "Ecofeminists say 'no more waiting'... We are in a state of emergency and must do something about it now... around the world, economies, cultures and natural resources are plundered, so that 20 percent of the world's population (privileged North Americans and Europeans) can continue to consume 80 percent of its resources in the name of progress."
-- Lynn Wenzel quoted in "Uprooting The Patriarchy" by Joy Pincus, WIN Magazine

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Maria Mies (Germany), Vandana Shiva (India):

"Th(e) capitalist-patriarchal perspective interprets difference as hierarchical and uniformity as a prerequisite for equality. 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. As activists in the ecology movements, it became clear to us that science and technology were not gender neutral; and in common with many other women, we began to see that the relationship of exploitative dominance between man and nature, (shaped by reductionist modern science since the 16th century) and the exploitative and oppressive relationship between men and women and prevails in most patriarchal societies, even modern industrial ones, were closely connected…

If the final outsome of the present world system is a general threat to life on planet earth, then it is crucial to resuscitate and nurture the impulse and determination to survive, inherent in all living things…

Ecofeminism, a 'new term for an ancient wisdom' grew out of various social movements - the feminist, peace and ecology movements - in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Though the term was first used by Francoise D'Eaubonne it became popular only in the context of numerous protests and activities against environmental destruction, sparked-off initially by recurring ecological disasters. The meltdown at Three Mile Island prompted large numbers of women in the USA to come together in the first ecofeminist conference - 'Women and Life on Earth: A Conference on Eco-Feminism in the Eighties' - in March 1980, at Amherst. At this conference the connections between feminism and militarization, healing and ecology were explored. As Ynestra King, one of the Conference organizers, wrote:

'Ecofeminism is about connectedness and wholeness of theory and practice. It asserts the special strength and integrity of every living thing. For us the snail darter is to be considered side by side with a community's need for water, the porpoise side by side with appetite for tuna, and the creatures it may fall on with Skylab. We are a woman-identified movement and we believe we have a special work to do in these imperilled times. We see the devastation of the earth and her beings by the corporate warriors, and the threat of nuclear annihilation by the military warriors, as feminist concerns. It is the masculinist mentality which would deny us our right to our own bodies and our own sexuality, and which depends on multiple systems of dominance and state power to have its way.'

Wherever women acted against ecological destruction or/and the threat of atomic annihilation, they immediately became aware of the connection between patriarchal violence against women, other people and nature, and that: In defying this patriarchy we are loyal to future generations and to life and this planet itself. We have a deep and particular understanding of this both through our natures and our experience as women."...

-- From the introduction to Ecofeminism by Maria Mies and Vandana Shiva, 1993

For more resources on ecofeminism:
aim to provide audio, visual and textual resources combined with the best online resources in ecofeminist philosophy and its related fields.

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