Ecofeminism is one of the essential trends of coherent society that includes many ideas and concepts prevalent in the modern world. One of its fundamental ideas states that balance is a core component of nature that should be observed to guarantee that the planet will be able to evolve and recover from the pernicious impact of human activity. The ruthless exploitation of its resources, as well as the discrimination and oppression of women, becomes central reasons for the fast deterioration of the state of the environment and the health of the nation, which proves the ideas of this movement.
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Today, females become more active concerning environmental issues and the need for change to stop the deterioration of the climate. Regarding ecofeminism, their involvement is one of the essential parts of a new balanced society that can enter the phase of sustainable development. Accepting the importance of women’s contribution to the protection of nature, the given project introduces the following research question:
What are the main sources of women’s activism around climate change, and how this relates to their oppression as women in patriarchal societies?
The answer to this question will help to understand the fundamentals of ecofeminism, the importance of balance, and women’s role in contemporary society.
Definition of Ecofeminism
In general, ecofeminism can be determined as the belief that the domination of women and nature is the basis for the hierarchy of male and female and relations (Greta, 2015). At the same time, women and the earth are taken as the core of the natural world and its future existence. These elements symbolize sustainability, health, and reproduction, the factors that play leading roles in the life of any individual. From the ecofeminist perspective, the domination of men and the exploitation of women result in the destruction of the environment and appearance of multiple issues that deteriorate the health of the nation. For this reason, there is a critical need for finding the balance that can be achieved by the promotion of feminism and green incentives that will help to save the planet. In this regard, ecofeminism becomes a combination of these elements.
Today, this paradigm acquires its topicality and becomes one of the recognizable movements across the world. One of the leading factors for the popularization of ecofeminism is the fast-deteriorating state of the environment, which is mainly associated with the core features of patriarchal society. The desire for power, dominance, and fierce rivalry precondition the choice of specific forms of relations with the planet presupposing its draining (Greta, 2015). In this regard, ecofeminism, with its emphasis on the reconsideration of these patterns, broad women’s involvement, and the balance becomes a solution that can satisfy all parties and improve the state of the environment. Additionally, the focus on human rights and equality creates the ground for the successful spread of this idea and its empowerment in various regions of the world.
Ecofeminism and Nature
A critically important feature of ecofeminism is its strong links with nature. Since the first stages of the development and evolution of this paradigm, the planet has been considered a unique place that should be protected. Similar to women and their oppression, nature also suffers from male conquest who try to dominate and control both women and resources available for them. In this regard, ecofeminism, as a subset of environmental ethics and politics, devotes much attention to issues associated with nature (Greta, 2015). The climate, pollution, deterioration of the atmosphere, and multiple other factors can be considered the primary concern of this theoretical framework as it aims at the elimination of women’s oppression and restoration of balance if all spheres of human activity, including society’s relation with nature.
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Mainly because of this unusual combination of its leading goals, ecofeminism becomes one of the significant forces and sources of women’s activity regarding climate change. Females are traditionally more concerned about such issues as environmental health, habitats, and livelihoods (Greta, 2015). For this reason, nature and its current state acquire the top priority of this paradigm. Ecofeminism insists on the necessity to reconsider social domination and eliminate roots for hatred of nature and its ruthless exploitation as the survival of species, including human beings, depends on the ability of the planet to evolve and preserve balance. In this regard, the given concept remains closely linked to multiple environmental concerns that are associated with a patriarchal society because of its character. Women, with their better understanding of health and climate, can become the main actors facilitating change and eliminating all forms of unwise relations between individuals and with the planet.
Goodes Mythology and Ecofeminism
The concept of ecofeminism is rather new; however, there are multiple perquisites for its emergence that can be traced to past times. The idea rests on various ancient mythologies and visions created by people with an attempt to describe the rules of nature and the way it works. Many created goddesses represented characteristics of the earth and its basic features (Baring & Cashford, 1993). For this reason, ecofeminism becomes closely connected to goddess mythology and such recognizable images as Athena, who embodies multiple qualities such as wisdom, power, creativity, and protection. Moreover, today, the existing environmental issues can be analyzed from the perspective of women’s activism and the need for balance in relations with nature and between genders, which is one of the basic assumptions of ecofeminism. In general, the reconsideration of society’s relations with the planet seems the most effective method that can be used to solve many environmental problems and create new positive tendencies.
The importance of the goddess mythology regarding ecofeminism and environmental issues is also evidenced by the fact that in multiple mythologies, women had been taken as the expression of sanctity and unity of life (Baring & Cashford, 1993). In the course of development and alterations in people’s mentalities, new changes to these archetypes were applied; however, the myth of the godets remained one of the prevailing forces shaping the worldview of individuals over time (Baring & Cashford, 1993). Today, there are also some unacknowledged or even unconscious, implicit forms in which this concept is reflected or manifested. For instance, ideas of feminism can be correlated with the myths of powerful goddesses who were responsible for multiple spheres of human activity. These factors show that the desired balance can be found by appealing to ancient beliefs and trying to restore important knowledge about the role of women in society.
Links between Women and Nature
Ecofeminism also accepts the idea that male and female relations with nature are different. In the majority of cases, women respond faster than men by adapting to multiple coping mechanisms regardless of how effective these methods are (Onwutuebe, 2019). It can be explained by the fact that they understand the peculiarities of the environment and the way nature works better. Being responsible for procreation and children’s upbringing, women possess the inborn qualities that help them to survive in rapidly changing settings by understanding their sources and how they should act to restore the balance (Onwutuebe, 2019). For this reason, there have always been multiple and strong links between females and the environment that helped to preserve the appropriate equilibrium and avoid critical deterioration of living conditions. However, with the development and empowerment of the patriarchal society and intense oppression, women lost their opportunity to impact policy-making and be involved in global relations with the planet.
Today, under the impact of feminist movements and critically deteriorating climate, the power of women’s voices starts to increase. At the same time, due to the spread and popularization of ecofeminism, there is also a better understanding of the importance of females in the selection of an appropriate paradigm in relations with nature. Women’s prior desire remains the same as they want a world that is safe for children, and that does not pose a threat to them (Bolen, 2005). For this reason, their understanding of the environment and nature helps them to avoid unwise exploitation patterns and consider the most topical problems by using perspective different from the patriarchal one.
Causes for Women’s Activity Regarding the Climate Change
Climate change remains one of the main concerns of the modern world as it preconditions multiple adverse effects on almost all regions. These might include sea-level rises, tropical cyclones, droughts, flooding, and other hazards that impact the quality of people’s life (Tanjeela & Rutherford, 2018). In almost all cases, women are more vulnerable to these factors if to compare with men because they are poor (Onwutuebe, 2019). Additionally, globally, a significant number of females work in the agricultural sector that is highly exposed to alterations in the environment and climate changes (Onwutuebe, 2019). For this reason, one of the sources of women activism regarding the discussed issue is their belonging to the risk group. Being the first to face multiple adverse effects, they struggle to stop the ruthless exploitation of the planet and its resources and avoid critical outcomes.
Another fundamental source of women’s activism is their high responsibility for the lives of the next generations. Care about children is one of the basic instincts that drive women in their actions and attempts to protect their offspring (Greta, 2015). Deterioration of climate directly impacts the health of the nation as the poor quality of water or air will contribute to the appearance of chronic diseases among young people. For this reason, women are become more concerned with the problem and realize the need for immediate action.
The desire to improve their current position and avoid oppression can be taken as one more essential source of women’s activism regarding climate change. For instance, in areas such as Bangladesh, or Nigeria, the worsening of the climate means higher amounts of low-paid work for women and their further discrimination as they have to spend hours in queues for fresh water or some other products (Onwutuebe, 2019; Tanjeela & Rutherford, 2018). From this perspective, the improvement of climate also means the elimination of humiliating forms of cooperation.
Relation Between Women’s Eco-Activism and Their Oppression
Regarding the ideas mentioned above, multiple links between women’s eco-activism and their oppression become clear. Belonging to the cohort that suffers from climate change most of all, they engage in action to protect themselves and their children from the further deterioration of the environment and new forms of discrimination. Today, many females have little or even no choice of occupation but to work in the agricultural sector presupposing small-scale farming (Onwutuebe, 2019). It deprives them of the chance to realize themselves in other spheres of human life, socialize, and impact global decision-making. In this regard, eco-activism becomes one of the forms to struggle against various types of oppression and attract the attention of the patriarchal society to the problems that are critical at the moment.
Those women who are responsible for securing food, water, fuel, and products for their homes face significant challenges and become even more oppressed as they have no opportunities to devote attention to their personal development and growth (Onwutuebe, 2019). For this reason, eco-activism and feminism become tools that might help this cohort to struggle for their rights by improving the conditions under which they live and making their lives easier. The upgrade in quality also means the improvement in education, which will contribute to a better understanding of their roles in the life of the planet and preserving balance fundamental for the survival of nations. That is why the growth of women’s awareness about climate change issues is directly related to their desire to destroy all forms of discrimination that affect them.
The Importance of Balance in Human Relations with Nature and in Gender Relations
Applying the ideas of ecofeminism to concepts and situations mentioned above, it is possible to conclude that the primary cause for these outcomes is the absence of balance in relations with nature. In patriarchal societies, power is one of the core values, which means that following this concept, humanity will continue to exploit the planet (Greta, 2015). At the same time, the wiser and more effective approach to the cooperation with nature might presuppose the look for new forms that could help to avoid substantial damage to its resources. A new balance can be achieved by analyzing the most problematic climate issues from the perspective of an equal, not patriarchal society.
That is why balance is a key to solving the problems mentioned above as the inclusion of oppressed women in the international discourse might help to add new and fresh ideas and eliminate many problematic issues in relations with nature and between genders. Establishment of a new paradigm and reconsideration of archaic and not effective forms of cooperation that presuppose discriminative attitudes and unfair distribution of jobs is one of the critical aspects in creating a favorable environment that will help to stop the further climate change (Greta, 2015). Women, with their traditionally deep understanding of nature and disregard of power issues, are critical elements of balance that should be achieved today to guarantee that the next generations will survive and enjoy the world without discrimination.
The idea of balance offered and discussed here can promote the appearance of multiple positive effects, and some of them can be visible even today. First of all, due to the high popularity of ecofeminism and its spread, many women from many regions, including the most oppressed ones, start to realize the need for action and engage in activities that help to solve the climate change problems and improve their states (Williams, 2018). It results in the cultivation of a new environment characterized by female’s inclusion in important social processes and their ability to struggle for a better quality of life for themselves and their children.
The second beneficial effect is the emergence of fresh ideas regarding climate change and the positive tendency towards the decrease in the number of oppressed women. For a bigger part of history, thoughts of females regarding numerous social concerns had been disregarded because of the dominance of men and their traditional values such as power, money, and wealth (Greta, 2015). However, today, under the impact of ecofeminism and aggravation of climate concerns, women acquire the platform and opportunity to express their ideas regarding the nature and society’s relations with it and be heard by actors who impact policymaking. It can be taken as a significant achievement of ecofeminism and individuals’ struggle for their rights and the elimination of various forms of oppression.
Considering all the facts mentioned above, it is possible to predict the further evolution and empowerment of ecofeminism as one of the practical tools to struggle against oppression and drawbacks of patriarchal society, including overconsumption, overproduction, ruthless exploitation of nature, and abuse. Humanity now stands at the line, and its crossing means irreversible changes in the environment and destruction of the planet (Greta, 2015). That is why the concept of eco-activism and balance should acquire the top priority as one of the possible ways to save humanity and avoid new adverse effects.
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There is already a tendency towards the increase in the number of women who are concerned about climate change and the need for action. In the future, their quantity will continue to grow because of the shift of priorities from the domination of certain groups towards cooperation and compromise (Williams, 2018). In multiple areas characterized by the complex environmental situation, females play leading roles in struggling against the destruction of nature and their oppression. It becomes a useful measure to cultivate equality and tolerance, two qualities that are important for the modern world. For this reason, it is possible to predict the future positive changes in this sphere as there are radical changes in people’s mentalities and the need for action to save the world for the next generations.
Altogether, today women become more concerned about environmental issues and climate change. It happens under the impact of ecofeminism, the myth of goddess, and the correct realization of the need for balance and female’s inclusion in the international discourse as a source of fresh ideas. The factors that serve as the facilitators of eco-activism include women’s more vulnerable position to alterations in the climate, their traditionally strong links with nature, the desire to save children, and eliminate various forms of oppression. Possessing a better understanding of compromise and balance because of their nature, they become more active in their attempts to reconsider patterns that are used today and stop the further destruction of the planet. The importance of this movement is evidenced by the fact that there are positive perspectives regarding the future evolution of these ideas and concepts and the increase in the number of females engaged in the given movement. The balance is fundamental today, and women will help to achieve it by adding their understanding of the new paradigm.
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Bolen, J. (2005). Urgent message from mother: Gather the women, save the world. York Beach, ME: Conari Press.
Greta, G. (2015). Ecofeminism and climate change. Women’s Studies International Forum, 49, 20-33.
Onwutuebe, C. J. (2019). Patriarchy and women vulnerability to adverse climate change in Nigeria. SAGE Open, 9(1). Web.
Tanjeela, M., & Rutherford, S. (2018). The Influence of gender relations on women’s involvement and experience in climate change adaptation programs in Bangladesh. SAGE Open, 8(4). Web.
Williams, L. (2018). Women and climate change impacts and action in Canada: Feminist, Indigenous, and intersectional perspectives. Web.