The Beginnings of Ecofeminism

The term “ecofeminism” or ecological feminism was first used to describe the joining of feminism with the radical ecology or environmental movement, by French feminist Françoise d’Eaubonne, in her books Le féminisme ou la mort, 1974 (Feminism or Death) and Ecologie-feminisme:revolution ou mutation (Eco-feminism: Revolution or Mutation?). Long before the term was first introduced, naturalist Rachel Carson used the future principles of the ecofeminist movement in her work. In her 1962 book, “Silent Spring”, she focused on the notion that while humans make up only a small part of nature, they possess an unbalanced ability to negatively impact upon it. This important text challenged governmental environmental practice and called for real change in the way humans treat nature.

Ecofeminist work spans an eclectic range of areas, encompassing the diverse arts, social activism, academia, religion, and the environmental sciences. Ecofeminists share a deep awareness for the need to preserve and promote the integrity and symbiosis of all life on the planet, and propose a paradigm shift to a more feminine way of being.

Ecofeminism explores the relationship between existing social institutions such as patriarchy, capitalism and imperialism and issues pertaining to the domination of women, and the exploitation of nature.

The messages of the original, and subsequent ecofeminists were not heeded, and now we find ourselves in a far more serous battle with capitalist endeavor. Has the planet already passed the point of no return? Is there any hope for the future of humanity? What will motivate people to action and affect real, positive change? I will be considering these questions in my research.

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