Ecofeminist activism may have grown out of the feminist and environmental movements of the 1970s but it is here to stay. From teen climate activist Greta Thunberg to environmental feminist rockstar Vandana Shiva, it is girls and women who are taking the lead in the modern environmental and climate change movements across the world.
And it is in this spirit of ecofeminism that we share the words of female environmentalists and writers on their thoughts and views of redirecting energy away from destructive, individualistic, exploitative and extractive tendencies on the planet (often related to masculine energy) to energy that is collaborative, life-affirming, regenerative, caring and interdependent (commonly related to feminine energy).
Because a sustainable world depends on it.
1. “Ecofeminism is a movement that sees a connection between the exploitation and degradation of the natural world and the subordination and oppression of women.” — Mary Mellor in her book Feminism & Ecology
2. “We are either going to have a future where women lead the way to make peace with the Earth or we are not going to have a human future at all.” —Vandana Shiva
3. “Domination of women has provided a key link, both socially and symbolically, to the domination of earth, hence the tendency in patriarchal cultures to link women with earth, matter, and nature, while identifying males with sky, intellect, and transcendent spirit.” — Rosemary Radford Ruether
4. “Ecofeminism adds that patriarchy devalues women, and therefore devalues nature, because nature is seen as mother. Women and nature get trashed together. Anything patriarchy associates with women is also trashed: caring, compassion, mothering, emotions, looking after nature, valuing life over money. To survive the climate emergency, we need to know we’re part of Mother Nature. To value nature, we must honour women too, and vice versa.” — Dido Dunlop
5. “If this world is to be healed through human efforts, I am convinced it will be by ordinary people whose love for life is even greater than their fear.” — Joanna Macy
6. “We must remember that one of the most insidious ways of keeping women and minorities powerless is to let them only talk about harmless and inconsequential subjects.” — Mitsuye Yamada
7. “Ecofeminism is an activist and academic movement that sees critical connections between the domination of nature and the exploitation of women.” — Lois Ann Lorentzen, University of San Francisco, and Heather Eaton, Saint Paul University (2002)
8. “We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack. We are given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.” — Sonya Renee Taylor
9. “I offer my expertise, emotion and activism. I offer my mind, my heart and my hands.” — Zuzana Caputova, President of Slovakia and environmental activist
10. “Ecofeminism is an integral facet of the women’s movement because it addresses the severing of Women and Mother Nature, and the exploitation of both.” — Lissa Brown
11. “Now, after the material resources of the colonies have been looted, their spiritual and cultural resources are being transformed into commodities for the world market.” — Maria Mies in her book Ecofeminism
12. “The left called it ecofeminism, the right said: We save the families – but the idea was the same.” — Arlie Russell Hochschild
13. “What is acted out on the female body parallels the larger practices of domination, fragmentation, and conquest against the earth body, which is being polluted, strip-mined, deforested, and cut up into parcels of private property. Equally, this pattern points to the fragmentation of the psyche, which ultimately underlies and enables all of this damage.” — Jane Caputi
14. “Intersectional ecofeminism also underscores the importance of gender, race and class, interlinking feminist concerns with human oppressions within patriarchy and the exploitations of a natural environment that women are often more reliant upon but also its guardians in many cultural contexts.” — Fatimah Kelleher
15. “This earth is my sister; I love her daily grace, her silent daring, and how loved I am. How we admire this strength in each other, all that we have lost, all that we have suffered, all that we know: We are stunned by this beauty, and I do not forget: what she is to me, what I am to her.” — Susan Griffin
16. “In Western patriarchal culture, both women and nonhuman nature have been devalued alongside their assumed opposites–men and civilization/culture.” — Lisa Kemmerer in her book Sister Species: Women, Animals and Social Justice
17. “Women must see that there can be no liberation for them and no solution to the ecological crisis within a society whose fundamental model of relationships continues to be one of domination. They must unite the demands of the women’s movement with those of the ecological movement to envision a radical reshaping of the basic socioeconomic relations and the underlying values of this [modern industrial] society.” — Rosemary Radford Ruether
18. “Do not avert your eyes. It is important that you see this. It is important that you feel this.” — Kamand Kojouri
19. “Because people and especially men feel superior, the environment, animals or women can be exploited.” — Emilie Hache
20. “The liberation of the earth, the liberation of women, the liberation of all humanity is the next step of freedom we need to work for, and it’s the next step of peace that we need to create.” — Vandana Shiva
20. “The feminism that has mattered to the media and made magazine headlines in recent years has been the feminism most useful to heterosexual, high-earning middle- and upper-middle-class white women. Public ‘career feminists’ have been more concerned with getting more women into ‘boardrooms’, when the problem is that there are altogether too many boardrooms, and none of them are on fire.” — Laurie Penny in her book Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution
Have any other favourite quotes that deserve to be on this list? Feel free to share in the comments below.
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