The Scope of Ecofeminism

Greta Guard covers the rise and reach of ecofeminism in her chapter in Companion to Environmental Studies (Proctor et. al.) The roots of ecofeminism lie in the activism of women. Notable examples include the Green Belt Movement headed by Wangari Maathai and Lois Gibbs activism around Love Canal and the establishment of the EPA’s Superfund program. Ecofeminists accredit women with a place the forefront of environmental activism. The root of this phenomena is often attributed to women’s role as caretakers in their communities. At the beginning of its conception, ecofeminism made many comparisons between women and features of the nonhuman natural environmental, equating the treatment of women to that of land, ecosystems and nonhuman beings. More recently, ecofeminism has replaced this reductionist rhetoric with more grounded explorations of gender’s role in people’s experience of their environment and climate. Guard provides examples of how ecofeminism encompasses climate justice, sexism, ageism, ableism, hetersexism, and speciesism in its theory.

My main critique of this passage is Guards failure to explicitly discuss how ecofeminism includes/addresses environmental racism. While she mentions climate justice and gives various examples of how ecofeminist activism includes addressing environmental racism, she should had include a section about it. My understanding of ecofeminism is that it while gender/sexuality inequality is an important focus of it, in its contemporary form the main goal of ecofeminism is to address all inequalities in our society and their interrelatedness. While Guard touches on how the effects of environmental racism can manifest in issues of ableism and climate justice, she does not discuss the ecofeminist perspective on environmental racism. Her description of ecofeminism and it’s connection to/perspective on climate injustice need to include environmental racism as it is one of the largest facets of this issue.

Ecofeminism is important to my capstone topic because its perspective on addressing inequality provides a framework for many other theories including posthumanism, ecocritisism, and queer ecologies. The artworks and artists I am focused on studying all engaged with inequality in various ways whether advertently of inadvertently. Any discourse around worlds, real or imagined, will include discussion of equality/inequality and the related theories and frameworks.

Castree, Noel, Mike Hulme, and James D. Proctor. 2018. Companion to Environmental Studies. London ; New York: Routledge.

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