Picking Your Battle Part 2
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people . . . with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” Environmental justice, like my last post about social justice, can relate to feminist efforts. Ecofeminism combines feminist philosophies to these types of ecological or environmental justice concerns. As feminism already focuses on gender equity and other identity intersections, these and other beliefs are continued in ecofeminism.
One way that I have been involved in ecofeminism is by participating in an education effort through Global Population Speak Out: https://populationspeakout.org. Their book, Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot, focuses on providing “seeds of change: spreading awareness, promoting discussion, and inspiring action” to combat global environmental challenges. This book provides a voice for a variety of animals, plant life, and people through pictures, linked together by a simple, yet powerful narrative. Although humans have developed in many ways, this book reminds us of what we have also lost or ignored along the way. It teaches readers that there is an ever-widening gap between those with access to money and resources and those who don’t, which will worsen as overpopulation continues. And because humanity is just a part of the planet, the book also makes readers think about how we can focus not only on helping each other but the animals and environment around us as well.
Because ecological problems are often more detrimental to women’s lives, and because overpopulation often results from a lack of resources for women, this book directly relates to my ecofeminism concerns. For example, Musimbi Kanyoro describes in her foreword: “rapid population growth is a fundamental driver of individual as well as societal problems that deny dignity, especially to women who bear the burden of reproduction and caretaking of communities.” Population growth then relates to global concerns about opportunities, resources, and sustainability that could result in irreparable damage to the planet. Just as feminism faces the challenge of patriarchy, capitalism (consumerism) and colonialism create challenges for feminists and the environment. The pictures in this book depict the stark reality facing people and the environment in a very clear and frighteningly, realistic manner.
So how can we make a difference as individuals? You can start by teaching others what you learn from Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot and/or other books like it. (I have made two copies available for those interested at the Women’s Center.) You can also learn from indigenous populations who stress reciprocity over consumerism (http://www.pachamama.org/blog/reciprocity-in-an-internconnected-world). The everyday choices that make your life more sustainable and environmentally friendly are very important. For examples and tips, feel free to check out the following links: https://www.regenerative.com/sustainable-living; http://www.ecochallenge.org; http://sustainablelivingassociation.org/workshops/. Through your own awareness and action, you can inspire others and create meaningful conversations that lead toward change. The difference starts with you, on Earth Day (April 22nd) and every day.