By Chloe Rigg
“I know I am made from this earth, as my mother’s hands were made from this earth, as her dreams came from this earth and all that I know, I know in this earth…all that I know speaks to me through this earth and I long to tell you, you who are earth too, and listen as we speak to each other of what we know: the light is in us.” -Susan Griffin
I’m sure everyone has heard this term at some point in their life. It’s usually associated with the “peace and love” hippie type. Most people might not know that this term was brought into popularity by the first ecofeminist movements of the 60’s and 70’s. I would like to start out by explaining my connection with ecofeminism, considering it is a rather spiritual movement for some. I am the hippie type most people think of when coming across terms like Mother Earth. I love tie dye, and kombucha is like 70% of my bodily fluids. I haven’t worn a bra consistently for around two and a half years, and my life ambitions include owning a completely sustainable farm.
So why ecofeminism?
Ecofeminism is a bond between nature and women due to the “mothering” nature/energies of both. Hence, the term Mother Nature/Earth. A part of ecofeminism philosophy is that because women and the earth are connected, they have both been seen as commodities in our patriarchal society, and consequently, have been oppressed along the same lines. I discovered ecofeminism not through traditional feminist outlets, but through my spirituality. I am a practicing pagan (mostly Celtic or Norse pantheon). This term usually confuses people. Paganism is a title given to pre-Christian, mostly polytheistic “religions.” (In a sense it’s a religion, but paganism was never organized like traditional religion, so I prefer the term spirituality). Paganism revolves around the environment around us and involves traditional ritualistic practices along with topics like herbal medicine, crystal energy, and natural witchcraft (don’t think Harry Potter). Ecofeminism connects my activist passions with my connection to the natural world and universe beyond that through nature.
What do ecofeminists do?
So, ecofeminism is pretty much just “feminism-green edition.” It’s incorporating fighting for environmental issues along with social issues and understanding that these issues are deeply connected. Incorporating green practices into feminism isn’t too much effort. It usually includes recycling, conservation, and cutting down on resource use. Any effort at conserving our environment or wasting less resources can have a major impact. Now, I will let you in on some ecofeminist tips that can benefit our Mother Earth…
Disposable plastics are an enormous problem for our environment. A infographic from plastic ocean has the numbers. Here are some basic steps you can take to cut down on disposable waste.
- Make homemade face scrubs. In the plastic oceans data, almost 300,000 plastic beads go into one tube of face scrub! Now, personal hygiene is important, and there are plenty of natural substances that can help the planet and your pores. One of the simplest is sugar. Either cane, granulated, or brown sugar have individual crystals that help exfoliate and tighten pores. Honey, coconut oil, and acidic fruits or berries contain natural ingredients that will keep your skin looking great and has no plastic waste.
- Carry a reusable water bottle/thermos. Over 500 million plastic bottles are used and thrown away each year. And, another huge waste are disposable coffee cups–which can look like reusable paper–but are usually lined with plastic resin. Therefore, investing in a sturdy water bottle can keep you hydrated and keep plastic out of our oceans. Furthermore, bringing a thermos to a coffee shop is a great idea because the bigger the thermos = more coffee. And who doesn’t want that?
- If you’re an individual with a uterus, there are ways to keep your period waste-free. 20 billion pads are thrown away each year in the US alone! Switching to reusable products, like period panties, cloth pads, or diva cups can make a big difference. Because periods are surrounded by stigma and taboos, natural period products can be seen as dirty or unhygienic. But in reality, these methods work as well as pads or tampons, and can make a big impact on the environment. I myself, swear by my diva cup and will never go back to disposable pads or tampons again. As an added bonus, the blood can be reused also–by plants. Period blood is packed with nutrients. So, if you were pregnant, the same nutrients would be used to grow a human. Plants can benefit a lot with these nutrients.
Some environmental issues cannot be fixed by individual action. Deforestation, overfishing, pollution, and habitat loss have all heavily affected the planet we live on. Although there isn’t too much you can do individually, here are a list of some great organizations to get involved with that are fighting to help stop these problems.
- Environmental Defense Fund is an organization focusing on broad environmental projects like wildlife habitats, climate change, and oceans. They also try to incorporate company partnerships to advocate for greener production practices. In addition, they try to work nonpartisan deals, so as not to become affiliated for the gain of a political party.
- The Nature Conservancy is an organization focused on protecting ecological regions/waters that have significant importance to the environment. Their main goal is conservation and making sure that we will have a sustainable environment for as long as possible.
- The Sierra Club Foundation is an established environmental group that was founded in 1892. They see environmental conservation as a movement and want to educate and empower people to protect the environment and improve human living standards as well. They are currently working on a clean energy solution better than coal.
Overall, ecofeminism is a movement that not only sees humanity, but a connection between humanity and the natural environment we live in. It’s taking a step back and understanding that the environment around us is as important as the society we live in, and that harmony and connection should exist between the two.
Ecofeminists strive for equality of all gender, race, and sexuality, and the ability to live in a thriving environment that has freed Mother Earth from her chains as well.