opening ourselves with the hinging daylight hours

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Ecofeminist Literature Review

After taking a one year hiatus, I will begin posting again to this blog. There have been some elemental shifts in my experiences living in and around the forests and the mountain farms. I have been writing agroforestry and community-based propagation handbooks for restoration. My organization Penns Valley Conservation Association has planted over 12,000 trees in the last two years toward ecological mamagement and water quality. I will be integrating research in food-system forestry, as well as local and regional potential for value-added products and the service economy.  The garden has extended, into the forest.   Bringing together theories of ecosystem management into an integration with socio-economic sustainability. What are the best management practices toward community-based forest farming?  Plant trees to meet our needs in urban and rural places. Trees keep our water clean and give us fruit, nuts, oils, greens, shade, structure to the land the banks , and timber. Forests are regenerative in nature, and although it does take time for the tree to grow , it will make a difference if we do it the most regenerative and native way.

A friend of mine Lydia Wylie-Kellermann piece of walking the stations in Detroit-

Suggested Eco-feminist Reading from a  publicly sourced list:

Ivone Gebara, Longing for running water
Rosemary Radford Reuther, Integrating Ecofeminism, Globalization, and World Religions

Octavia Butler's parable series (eco-feminist sci fi);
Ursula LeGuin's Always Coming Home; not necessarily feminist but great ecofiction,
The Earth Abides by George R. Stewart;
The MaddAddam Triology by Margaret Atwood

Rosemary Radford Ruether Gaia & God: An Ecofeminist Theology of Earth Healing.
Sallie McFague "Body of God",
Wangari Maathai "Unbowed."
The textbook "Ecofeminism" by Vandana Shiva

Rosemary Radford Reuther

What is Ecofeminism? Ecofeminism represents the union of the radical
ecology movement, or what has been called 'deep ecology', and (*womanism- added insert by Andrea Ferich) feminism.
The word 'ecology' emerges from the biological science of natural
environmental systems. It examines how these natural communities function
to sustain a healthy web of life and how they become disrupted, causing
death to the plant and animal life. Human intervention is obviously one of
the main causes of such disruption. Thus ecology emerged as a combined
socio-econo mic and biological study in the late sixties to examine how
human use of nature is causing pollution of soil, air and water, and
destruction of the natural systems of plants and animals, threatening the
base of life on which the human community itself dep ends.1 Deep ecology
takes this study of social ecology another step. It examines the symbolic,
psychological and ethical patterns of destructive relations of humans with
nature and how to replace this with a life-affirming culture.2 Feminism (*insert Womanism  Andrea Ferich) 
also is a complex movement with many layers.  


Toward an Ecofeminist Ethic and Culture

There are many elements that need to go into an eco-feminist ethic and
culture for a just and sustainable planet. One element is to reshape our
dualistic concept of reality as split between soulless matter and
transcendent male consciousness. We need to d iscover our actual reality
as latecomers to the planet. The world of nature, plants and animals
existed billions of years before we came on the scene. Nature does not
need us to rule over it, but runs itself very well and better without

Instead of modeling God after alienated male consciousness, outside of and ruling over nature, God in ecofeminist spirituality is the immanent source of life that sust ains the whole planetary community. God is neither male nor anthropomorphic. God is the font, from which the variety of plants and animals well up in each new generation, the matrix that sustains their life-giving interdependency with each other.29 In ecofeminist culture and ethic mutual inter-dependency replaces the hierarchies of domination as the model of relationship between men and women, between human groups and between humans and other beings. All racist, sexist, classist and anthropocentric assumptions of the superiority of whites over blacks, males over females, managers over workers, humans over animals and plants must be culturally discarded. In a real sense the so-called superior pole in each relation is actually the more dependent side of the relationship. But it is not enough simply to humbly acknowledge dependency. The pattern of male-female, racial and class inter-dependency itself has to be reconstructed socially, creating more equitable sharing in the work and the fruits of work, rather than making one side of the relation the subjugated and impoverished base for the power and wealth of the other.
Finally ecofeminist culture must reshape our basic sense of self in relation to the life cycle. The sustaining of an organic community of plant and animal life is a continual cycle of growth and disintegration. The western flight from mortality is a fligh t from the disintegration side of the life cycle, from accepting ourselves as part of that process. By pretending that we can immortalize ourselves, souls and bodies, we are immortalizing our garbage and polluting the earth. In order to learn to recycle o ur garbage as fertilizer for new life, as matter for new artifacts, we need to accept our selfhood as participating in the same process. Humans also are finite organisms, centers of experience in a life cycle that must disintegrate back into the nexus of life and arise again in new forms. These conversions from alienated, hierarchical dualism to life-sustaining mutuality will radically change the patterns of patriarchal culture. Basic concepts, such as God, soul/body and salvation, will be reconceived in ways that may bring us much closer to the ethical values of love, justice and care for the earth. These values have been proclaimed by patriarchal religion, yet contradicted by patriarchal symbolic and social patterns of relationship.

 But these tentative explorations of symbolic changes must be matched by a new social practice which can incarnate these conversions in new social and technological ways of organizing human life in relation to one other and to nature. This will require a n ew sense of urgency about the untenability of present patterns of life and compassionate solidarity with those who are its victims. Rosemary Radford Ruether is a writer and active campaigner for women's spirituality. She authored the first ecofeminist book, New Woman/ New Earth: Sexist Ideologies and Human Liberation in 1975. Her most recent book is Gaia and God: An Ecofeminist Theolo gy of Earth Healing. (Send stamped S.A.E. if you would like notes and excised mid-section.) The Women's Environmental Network runs a number of green campaigns and also organises occasional talks by prominent ecofeminists: WEN, Aberdeen Studios, 22 Highbury Grove, London, N5 2EA (Tel. 071 354 8823).

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