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Ecofeminism Chapter One: Taking Empirical Data Seriously Ecofeminist Philosophical Perspective Trees, forests, and desertification, water and drought, food production, poverty and toxic waste and environmental issues, what is it to do with women?

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Ecofeminism

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Ecofeminism

Chapter One:

Taking Empirical Data Seriously


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Ecofeminist Philosophical Perspective

  • Trees, forests, and desertification, water and drought, food production, poverty and toxic waste and environmental issues, what is it to do with women?

  • Ecofeminism assert that there is a connection between the treatment of women, people of color, and underclass on one hand, and the treatment of non-human nature on the other

  • Ecological feminism claim that environmental ethics and feminism if they fail to take these connections seriously is erroneous

  • Establishing women-nature connection is liberating for both and it is a major issue of Ecofeminist philosophy


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  • Warren asserts that for all who are concerned to find solutions to the environmental destruction and subordination of women and other groups is to look at these connections in depth

  • Feminism Issues:

  • Feminist movement is committed to the elimination of male-gender power and privileged.

  • Hence, feminism attempt to end sexist oppression

  • During this effort feminists realized that liberation of women could not be achieved until our gender identities such as women of color, classism, ethnocentrism, and all the other isms eliminated

  • This means equal rights and equal pay and the plight of women cross-culturally

  • Ecofeminism insist that none humane-nature and naturism (unjustified domination of nature) are feminist issues

  • Ecofeminism is extending feminist critique of all oppressive domination toward others to include domination of nature


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  • Since community life depends on sustainable ecology, consequently, healthy environment is paramount element for women’s struggle

  • Forests, trees, and forestry:

  • In 1974, twenty-seven women of Reni in north India took action to stop tree felling

  • They threatened to hug the trees if lumberjacks attempt to fell them

  • This movement saved twelve thousand square kilometers of watershed

  • This women grass root movement was against commercial felling by contractors damages, a large numbers of unfelled trees

  • Monoculture plantations replaces valuable indigenous forests

  • This is one of the evidences of women-nature connection: trees and forests are intractably connected to rural and household economics govern red by women

  • As a result of first world development in India, multi-culture species have been replaced monoculture tress


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  • Women oppose monoculture development in favor of natural multi-cultural forestry

  • In developing countries, women are more dependent on forests products

  • Forest tress provide a numerous essential products for women; food, fuel, fodder, building materials and products, household utensils, gardens, and others

  • Women are first who suffer from environmental degradation and forest resources depilation

  • Women now must walk longer for fuel wood, fodder and food, some walk seven hours to obtain fire wood

  • Since more and more migrate to cities seeking employment, women must carry out men’s jobs in addition to their own

  • Degraded soils makes harder for women to continue their peasantry work and farming

  • This is in addition to the reduction of forest products as a source of income, which leaves women without income producing means

  • Women also face customs, taboos, and other constraints which limit their possibilities of earning income activities


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  • Women also are concerned about environment because they are the insiders, the best who know and understand their natural surrounding a epistemic privilege around forestry production because local women are the primary users of forest products

  • Women develop their knowledge out of their daily felt and lived experiences for generations

  • The invisibility of women’s role in forestry management and maintenance is the gender-biased misconception

  • Women see forestry as a source to provide for basketry, dyes, medicines, decorations, arts and crafts, trees for honey barrels to provide shade for other plants, tress for food, multicultural trees are useful for both men's and women's needs of different purposes

  • Orthodox forestry is that, it is better to have large scale production using a limited number of tree species than small-scale, community based forestry using wide variety of species

  • Multicultural forestry is responsive to community needs and reflect local priorities hence, monoculture development threaten the lively hood and well being of women


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  • Water: 8% of water is fresh, millions of people are having difficulties getting water for their survival

  • 50% of developing countries only have potable water facilities, 85% of all diseases in the southern hemisphere are due to inadequate water

  • 25 million deaths a year is the result to water-related illnesses, 15 millions are children

  • Women and children perform most of water-collection work

  • Contaminated water and hazard wastes are the major health issues in the heavily industrialized areas, 250 dump sites present a great potential health threat

  • One in six persons in USA drink contaminated water

  • Hence, water is an Ecofeminist issue


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  • Food and Farming:

  • Women farmers grow 59% of world’s foods and in some cases 80%

  • One third to one half of Third World farmers are women, yet, gender division of labor puts men in charge of cash-crops while women manage food-crops

  • Women in Africa produce 70% of food

  • Women work longer hours with fewer assets than men and have limited access to credits

  • This in addition to limited access for weeding, harvesting, and storing facilities this is due to lack of ownership and decision making power


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  • Technology: usually exported from north to south, all these regions have exasperated problems of trees, water, and food storage for women

  • Men in the other hand, are the primary recipients of tools and training in commodity production

  • This while women are more knowledgeable than outsider men

  • Although women are major food producers, men are recipients of all the training and access to machines, tractors, ploughs, irrigations systems, and water pumps


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  • Toxins: there is gender-related difference in reactions to environmental toxic substance which pose serious health threats to mothers, infants, and elderly

  • Environmental Racism: in USA, American woman face unique health risks due to Uranium Mining near reservations; 38% of pregnant women suffer miscarriages with high rate of birth defects including bone cancer

  • 2 million tons of Uranium wastes dumped on Native American lands

  • Reservations are also targeted for hazardous wastes incinerations, disposal and storage facilities


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  • The same study of Toxic Wastes and Race concluded that more than 15 million of African American and over 8 million Hispanic and ½ of American Indians live in communities with uncontrolled toxic waste sites

  • Low-income minority women today lead hundreds of grass-roots environmental organizations and are involved in radical environmental activities motivated by the irrationalities of capital growth in order to protect their families and communities health and well being

  • Environmental ageism: 8 million children are affected by lead poisoning of inner-city are largely African American and Hispanic children who live in crumbling asbestos infected housing and schools

  • 700 thousand children suffer from lead poisoning and learning disabilities


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  • Ecofeminism and Poverty: 78% of people living in poverty living in USA are women and children as a direct result of deforestations and desertification, the primary victims are women and children who live under the poverty standard

  • Sexist-Naturist Language: our language reflects our conception of inferior value of women and nature

  • Women as chicks, beavers, bitches, seen as inferior to human; at the same time feminizing nature in patriarchal culture women viewed s subordinate reinforces domination of nature

  • Consequently exploitation of women is justified by naturizing them

  • Taking Empirical Seriously:

  • Empirical data provided by Ecofeminism are significant and suggest the following

  • 1) The historical and causal ways of environmental destruction disproportion ally affects women and children

  • 2) The significant constructed invisibility especially about what women know about nature in policy-making affects women’s livelihood and ecological sustainability


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  • 3) Methodological neglecting and overlooking issues about gender, race, class, and age in formulating environmental policies are detrimental to women and children

  • 4) To safeguard against unintentional rationality which sanctioned or perpetuate environmental activities with adverse effects on women, children, people of color, and the poor

  • 5) Women grass-root organizations to advocate for women and environment

  • 6) Ethical significance of empirical data for theories about women, people of color, children, and nature)

  • 7) Ecofeminist insights are crucial for policy making and philosophical framework

  • 8) Linguistic and symbolic significance of language used to conceptualize and describe women and non-human nature

  • 9) Why one from “Ecofeminist perspective” should take empirical conclusions between women, people of color, children, and nature


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