Activism and Ecofeminism

Environmentalism, Activism & Feminism 

Environmental degradation affects women and children more drastically than men in regions all over the world. In many areas, indigenous women are responsible for feeding, clothing, and fetching water for their families. Based on this, women feel the brunt of environmental changes the most. For example, women who have to fetch water for their families, may discover their water source has been contaminated by toxic chemicals from factory run-off. In areas of the world where poverty is rampant, children risk their health and educations in order to help bring in some money. This can be seen in the daily lives of children living in the slums in Reciefe, Brazil. Children submerging themselves in polluted canals to search for aluminum to sell. “These children should be at school, instead they are helping their family try to survive” (Corrêa).

Poverty and filth are not the only issues plaguing Brazil. Brazil is a Christian country and as such their values, ideals, and traditions are rooted in the church. Ivone Gebara, author of A Latin Perspective explains how the Christian church continues to oppress women with its patriarchal beliefs. “Power is a man’s issue, especially public power. Because of this God is considered to be a super power and has a masculine face” (Gebara 1). It is therefore no surprise that feminism and ecofeminism are not known within the context of the church. Since women are seen as being only there to procreate and stand behind by their men, their voices are often muffled. Religion and feminism are not cohesive, since most religions teach a patriarchal belief that men are the head and women are simply there to be a male supporter.

For many years, women have been at the forefront of environmental issues. The Chipko movement is a good example of this. In the 18th century, the Chipko movement began in India. Women from 84 villages throughout India, followed a woman called Amrita Devi to risk their lives in an attempt to protect the trees from being felled. After this movement, the Maharaja granted protection for the trees. In 1973, the movement surfaced to protect the trees once again. These protests led by women were successful. “By 1980 the Chipko protests won a victory of a 15 year ban on green felling in the Himalayan forests.” “Unity is power, without unity women cannot fight for their rights anywhere.” (Nawal El Saadawi)
Brenda White Bull

Indigenous men and women in South Dakota in the area of Standing Rock Indian Nation have been fighting against the Dakota pipeline for years. Women describe being brutalized by police, which they believe is attributed to their being “brown and female” (Mclaughlin). Prairie Mc Laughlin tells a story of being arrested and stripped by male and female officers when she refused to strip naked upon her arrest for protesting. Brenda White Bull, a descendant of Sitting Bull spoke at the UN about how women were being treated by military and police forces at Standing Rock.

The story of Standing Rock is a similar situation that affected Alaska with the construction of the Alaskan Pipeline in the 1970’s. Environmental groups tied up the construction of the pipeline in court battles for years. The oil company eventually won and was able to build it, but only under very strict environmental laws that were to protect land, water, and animals. In the case of the Alaskan indigenous people who fought against the pipeline, the oil companies and the U.S. government agreed to settle with them for $1 B, and 44 million acres of land. To this day, some of the indigenous people of Alaska believe that they were treated fairly. They not only benefitted economically from jobs constructing the pipeline, but they also believe that had the oil companies not approached them for the land, they would still be fighting the United States government for their land rights.

These cases are clearly examples of environmentalism vs. capitalism. The oil companies have deep pockets, they can easily come in and influence politicians to get what they want. Big corporations lobby for their causes in Congress, and can help write laws to benefit themselves. Once they have the backing of the United States Congress, they can tap into military and police forces to aid in their projects to completion. That is exactly what happened in South Dakota. Unfortunately, in South Dakota, they are using police forces to get what they want rather than with financial incentives. Oil companies who have the backing of the government pull the rug out from under indigenous people. It’s a complete abuse of power and greed at the cost of women and children, who often times feel the brunt. In the case of South Dakota, the men are offered jobs away from the family. The women are left to raise the family alone. Women are being raped and attacked by male pipeline workers who come in to the work camps. A clear example of how women and nature are taken by male domination.

Another indigenous tribe in North America are the Inuit of Canada. In a Q&A interview with Maatalii Okalik, President of the Inuit National Youth Council, Michele Rosano writes about the struggles women of the Inuit tribe face because of climate change.  “Inuit women have a close relationship with food security” (Maatalii). In the Inuit tribe, women are responsible for cleaning, and drying animal skins to clothe their families. Many of these women claim that the changing climate has affected the animals skins. Leading to poor quality. Inuit men are responsibility for hunting, but because of “ the warmer climate, the sea ice is thinner, and men go missing while hunting, leaving women alone to raise their children, a problem that is on the rise within the tribe” (Okalik).

These stories continue throughout the world. As we learned about the Green Belt Movement in Africa, we are reminded again how women are subjugated. Starvation is a real threat among many women and children in African countries. The Green Belt Movement, created by Wangari Maathai, empowers women through planting trees. By urging women to plant trees, she is setting them up for sustainability. Her movement is powerful, it has spread all over Africa into the U.S. and Haiti. In Kenya alone, women have planted 20 million trees. “When you plant a tree and see it grow, something happens to you. You want to protect it, you value it” (Maathai). I can’t agree more with this feeling. I had a vegetable garden for years, and it was not only therapeutic for me, it was satisfying to step outside my door and pick ripe tomatoes to feed myself and family. I nurtured my garden, in return it yielded many vegetables that nourished us. I agree there’s power, pride, and self satisfaction in that, especially for a woman.

These examples I’ve provided herein are further proof of what ecofeminists have been saying for years. Women and nature are subjugated by men in the name of capitalism, power, and greed. By taking natural resources, and degrading the environment, women and children are left to find creative ways to try and survive. Programs like the Green Belt Movement do help, but it’s not available everywhere. We need more education, and laws that protect indigenous women and children around the globe. We need to become more aware of the connection of patriarchy and environmental degradation. Women can pull themselves out of these dire situations with just a little bit of education, and support from other women. These stories are why feminism, and Ecofeminism are so important for women and children everywhere.

Annotated Bibliography

Maatalii Okalik, is an Inuit woman who grew up in Canada in a traditional Inuit family. She is 27 years old, and the recipient of the 2017 inspire award. She is a political advocate and has been called the voice of the next generation. She is the president of the National Inuit Youth Council and promotes Inuit language and culture among her peers and children. She also does work on suicide prevention education. She spoke at Canada’s parliament to address the senate on indigenous rights. She also spoke to the Cop22 in Morocco. She’s studying for her degree in human rights and political science with a minor in aboriginal studies.

Corrêa, Talita. “The Brazilian Slum Children Who Are Literally Swimming in Garbage.” Vice, 30 Jan. 2014,

Gebara, Ivone. “Ecofeminism: A Latin American Perspective .”, Cstraight Media -. “Key Speeches & Articles.” Speak Truth to Power | The Green Belt Movement, 4 May 2000,

Levin, Sam. “At Standing Rock, Women Lead Fight in Face of Mace, Arrests and Strip Searches.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 4 Nov. 2016,

Politis. “Q&A With Maatalii Okalik.” Canadian Geographic, 13 June 2016,

“The Chipko Movement.” The Chipko Movement,


Intersectionality and Ecofeminism

Ecofeminism intersectionality

Kimberlé Crenshaw

Intersectionality is a term coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989. Crenshaw wanted to draw attention to how underrepresented black women were in the feminism movement. She felt it was important that we understand that not all women are united under the cause of feminism. Click on the photo of Crenshaw for her Ted Talk on Intersectionality.

An example of intersectionality is; What oppresses me, as a white woman living in California is very different than what oppresses a black woman living in the south. Intersectionality is a term that is used to explain the web of various ways in which a person is oppressed in society. Audre Lorde is another black feminist who criticized the women’s movement for ignoring social categories and promoting a sisterhood that doesn’t exist. It’s not fair to unite women of the world to fight for equality when not all forms of oppression are considered.

Eco feminists claim to have used intersectionality long before Crenshaw coined the term. “Ecofeminism is an area of study concerned with understanding the interconnectedness between the domination of women and the domination of nature.”(Kings 70) “Ecofeminist intersectionality recognizes that women are likely to be amongst those most affected by environmental degradation, with those at the margins of society often experiencing these effects to the harshest degree.” (Kings 71) Women of color face a harsher reality in the global south than do women in the north, they are most affected by environmental degradation. In the writings of animal activist and feminist Carol J. Adams, we learned about intersectionality through an ecofeminist lens. Adams wants us to understand that non-human animals and humans are interconnected. By bringing into focus the connection between nature and meat Adams connects the subjugation of women and animals in connection with nature. This explanation of intersectionality doesn’t cover all areas of life only that of women, nature, and animals. It fails to cover all other areas. I don’t feel as though Ecofeminism adequately covers intersectionality. “Although it is certainly true that ecofeminism did often engage with intersectional approaches, it did not adopt intersectionality as the conceptual tool we currently understand it to be” (Kings72).

Click photo for video

It’s important to understand that everyone has different experiences. We all see ourselves differently. As social scientist Charles Cooley wrote in his book The Looking Glass Self, “How one’s racial identity is experienced will be mediated by other dimensions of one’s self; male or female, young or old, wealthy, middle-class, or poor, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or heterosexual, able bodied or with disabilities.” (Tatum 1) We are what we think others think we are. This is the concept by Cooley in which we learn about who we are through the eyes of others. If this is the case, then we will all have very different views of ourselves. Therefore, all of our experiences will be different and we cannot simply fit into one category. “A spider’s web preserves the necessary complexity of intersectionality and the potential ‘stickiness’ of cultural categories, which can often leave people stuck between two or more intersecting or conflicting social categories.” (Kings 68)

Click photo for more information

“Ecofeminism lacks a black woman’s standpoint and focuses on white women’s oppression. The ecofeminist movement, like the mainstream environmental movement has been mainly white and middle class dominated and lacks intersectionality.” (Cain)

We were introduced to Majora Carter in a Ted Talk titled Greening The Ghetto. She spoke of how black people were twice as likely to live in areas where there are greater risks to their health such as areas where pollution is greater. She also mentioned that black people are five times more likely to live within walking distance of a power plant or chemical factory (Carter). Majora Carter is working on greening up the South Bronx. She has already begun her work to create more green space. Being a black woman, who grew up poor, and in an environmentally degraded area of New York City, she represents more of a real look of how she intersects with class, gender,  and race. “Black women of degraded communities are “the waste products of capitalist production and excessive consumption,” and at the front lines of environmental degradation”(Cain).

There is a great quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. wherein he stated; “No one is free until we are all free.” This is a true statement under the guise of intersectionality. We cannot become one until all life forms and beings are represented. Intersectionality reminds us that there are life forms in every area that are oppressed under various dominant groups. Audre Lorde does a wonderful job in defining oppression in America in her quote;  “Somewhere, on the edge of consciousness, there is what I call a mythical norm, which each one of us within our hearts knows “that is not me.” In america, this norm is usually defined as white, thin, male, young, heterosexual, christian, and financially secure. It is with this mythical norm that the trappings of power reside within this society. Those of us who stand outside that power often identify one way in which we are different, and we assume that to be the primary cause of all oppression, forgetting other distortions around difference, some of which we ourselves may be practicing.”

― Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches


Cain , Cacildia. “The Necessity of Black Women’s Standpoint and Intersectionality in Environmental Movements.” ,
Carter, Majora. “Greening the Ghetto .” ,
Kings, A.e. “Intersectionality and the Changing Face of Ecofeminism.” Ethics and the Environment, vol. 22, no. 1, 2017, p. 63., doi:10.2979/ethicsenviro.22.1.04.
“Standing up for Trees.”,
Tatum, Beverly Daniel. Complexity of Identity Who Am I?

“The Intersectionality Wars.”,

Annotated Bibliography; 

Kimberlé Crenshaw graduated with a law degree in 1984 from Harvard Law. She is a professor of law at UCLA and Columbia Law School. She has published quite a few journals on the subjects of intersectionality, racism, law, and civil rights. All of which have been published in the Harvard Law Review, National Black Law Journal, Stanford Law Review and Southern California Law Review. She is well known for coining the terms “intersectionality and Critical Race Theory.” Crenshaw has been honored for her work in feminism, law, and civil rights by many prestigious universities, magazines and organizations. When people think of the term “intersectionality” they think of Kimberlé Crenshaw.





Women, The Government and Environmentalism

This week’s reading by Kari Norgaard and Richard York, introduced us to the concept of environmentalism, the government, and gender equality. It was a concept I never really put together until now. The environment is a hot topic around the world, especially in political arenas. Many world leaders are ultra focused on climate policies and how to implement the best plans to help cut back their total emissions and reduce their carbon footprint. According to Norgaard and York, women who hold political office tend to be more proactive about environmental issues. I found this claim to be true as I began doing my own independent research.

Jacinda Ardern New Zealand’s Prime Minister

Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister for New Zealand is very passionate about climate control issues. Ardern has called the climate emergency her generation’s “nuclear free moment” and made tackling it a priority for her coalition government.”(AingeRoy) The New Zealand government is taking large steps toward reducing their emissions drastically by 2050. They have committed to planting a billion trees, implemented strict policies for farmers to reduce their emissions or face extremely high taxes, and putting a cap on the number of cows that dairy’s can have. New Zealand’ Environmental Performance Index (EPI) is currently ranked number 17 in the world by the UN. Ardern is pushing for net zero emissions by 2050, from watching her speak, it appears as though she is passionate about seeing that come to fruition.

The information about New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern falls in line with York and Norgaard’s findings. Their research suggests that “nations with greater gender equality may be more prone to protecting the environment.” We see this with New Zealand, Denmark, Germany and Norway. “Women tend to take environmental risks like nuclear power or toxic substances more serious than men do.” (Norgaard & York 508). It’s not surprising that women tend to think more along the lines of environmental protection. Women have been conditioned by society to be nurturers and caregivers. Given that it would be natural that women would be more concerned about the air they breathe or the water their children drink and so on.  

Denmark’s prime minister Mette Fredriksen

     The Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen, is another woman who is leading her country on the road to reducing their emissions. Her pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 70% by 2050 is laid out in an 18 page agreement titled “a fair direction for Denmark.” In this agreement she pledges to cut the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2030. “As it is, Denmark reached an emissions reduction of 35% in 2018” (Stam June 2019). Denmark’s EPI score is 3rd in the world according to 2018 data by the Environmental Performance Index.

     In 1990, the “UN estimated that in order for women to influence key outcomes and be taken seriously, a threshold of 30% of women in parliament was required. As of 1999, only 8 of the 130 nations met this threshold.” Those nations included Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, South Africa, Germany, Iceland, Norway and Sweden (Norgaard & York 514). These numbers have increased since 1999. Below is a graph showing the number of seats held by women in across various national Parliaments. In 2018, Sweden had the leading number of women in its Parliament reporting at 47%.  Sweden ranks number 5 in the world on their EPI. Despite the fact that their leader is a male, they have a large number of female members in their Parliament. (click on graph to view)





Norgaard and York posits that “gender equality and environmental concern are linked to the relationship between gender and the environment. ” Their study suggests that “societies that are less sexist are more environmentally responsible.” They mention further that a country like Singapore for example has a very low number of women in Parliament. As such, their environmental record is poor, ” holding one of the 10 worst environmental records in the world” (Norgaard & York).

     It’s a shame that the United States still has a disproportionate numbers of women in high ranking government positions. Women make up only 26% in the Senate and 23% in the House. The United States has an EPI score of 27 as of 2018. That number is not likely to rise with Trump in office. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is very vocal about climate change and is trying to come up with ways to cut emissions in the U.S. You can view her speech here; This is further proof that women take on the challenge of environmental issues in a big way. “The youngest woman to be ever elected to congress, and an example of a millennial in power, AOC has been using her political position to draw attention to social and environmental issues as well as women’s rights and equality. Her work on and in promoting the Green New Deal in the U.S. has made her the voice of climate change concern in a political environment heavily criticised for climate change denial” (Wyns, A). AOC has moxy, she isn’t afraid to fight for what she believes in. With more women like her in the American government, we may have a chance for equality. 

It’s important that nations begin to equal out the number of men and women in high ranking government offices. It’s imperative for gender equality. It’s not only important for equality, but for our planet.  We need an equal balance for equality. When one class has more power than another, oppression occurs. Environmental organizations like WEDO can help create awareness and empowerment among women to join the environmental fight. The more empowered women feel the more apt they are to get involved in government, to enact policy change. We saw this happen in congress in 2018 Trump’s election.

Annotated Bibliography  Eleanor AingeRoy is a journalist for the Guardian. She graduated from the University or Technology in Sydney. She was a freelance journalist prior to becoming a full-time writer for the Guardian. She is only 25, but tackles some very heavy story lines including covering the current Covid-19 outbreak in New Zealand.


Ainge, E., Climate change to steer all New Zealand government decisions from now on, 12/2019, accessed 3/22/2020.

Davidson, J. AOC Reads the Green New Deal Into the Congressional Record 2/27/20, accessed 3/21/2020


EU Stats, Women in EU parliament and governments


Norgaard, Kari and Richard York. “Gender Equality and State Environmentalism.” Gender and Society August 2005: 506-522.

McDonald, J. New Zealand Takes the Lead on Climate Change, The Diplomat, 11/2019, accessed 3/22/2020.

Stay, C. New Danish government puts climate change centre stage, 6/2019, accessed 3/21/2020




Abortion and Ecology

This blog is particularly difficult for me to write this week. As I sit here in Germany writing this my daughter is laying in a hospital bed 3,800 miles away in the midst of a very painful miscarriage at 10 weeks of pregnancy. There’s nothing I can do to comfort her, I feel completely helpless. I am only able to comfort her by telephone while she attempts to pass my dead grandchild. It’s heartbreaking and hearing the pain in her voice is almost too much for me to bear.

Even at this moment where I feel sorrow and deep sadness for my daughter and the grandchild I will never meet, I am still pro choice. I believe in allowing women to have the final say over their own bodies. I believe we should support Planned Parenthood and the rights of women everywhere to have safe abortions. It is my opinion, that a fetus which is unable to survive on its own outside of its host/mother is not a viable human and therefore does not have rights above the mother’s. I would consider my views on abortion to be moderate. I believe that there is a moral break in the biological process of development.

My Own Experience;
I became pregnant at the age of eighteen. I considered abortion, because at that time I was young and in an unhealthy relationship. Ultimately, I couldn’t go through with it and opted to give birth to my son. Subsequently, I went on to have two more children with the same man who became my husband. I don’t regret having my children for one second, even though that relationship ended after thirteen years in a painful divorce. Fast forward thirty one years and my life is great. I’ve had success and failure, but I have three amazing children, of whom I’m immensely proud.

The topic of abortion is a tough one and un-winnable. Neither side of the argument will concede to the other. The position of one side vs the other are totally different. The pro-lifers believe that abortion is morally wrong based on a religious, moral or ethical belief. The pro-choicer’s believe that women should be able to choose what is best for them and their bodies. Then in the middle are those who are on the fence because they can see both sides. The debate isn’t cut and dry, you have women all over the globe without access to healthcare, contraception, and abortion services. These women are subject to struggle with having to care for multiple children.

Abortion and the Environment;  Ronnie Hawkins, author of Reproductive Choices, brings up the connection between abortion and the environment. “1.2 billion people live in poverty around the world, women bear a larger share of the burden of poverty” (Hawkins 690). Based on this fact, women would naturally seek to limit the size of their families, but in areas of the global south, how do they do that? Women in third world countries lack access to resources for women’s healthcare services.

Hawkins also brings up a good point about the land use in an over populated world. The more people that inhabit the Earth, the more resources they use up, depleting resources on a more rapid basis. This makes complete sense to me considering that by 2100 the population of the world is expected to reach 11.2 billion ( The world is in bad shape as it is with global warming, polluted oceans, unhealthy air quality, toxic water and fish. How will 11.2 billion humans survive on a planet that’s too hot and polluted? The wealthier nations may take a different view on this, but in looking at it in terms of ecology, it seems that population control might be a good place to start. Safe, legal, and accessible abortions will save the lives of women all over the world. There will always be a need for abortion and if we don’t provide safe ways to obtain them, women will seek illegal abortions which can lead to death. 

During the 1920’s to the 1960’s, before the legalization of abortion in 1973, women resorted to illegal abortions at the cost of their lives or reproductive health. Women in parts of the United States would seek underground abortions by doctors who used Lysol to perform them. “Lysol advertised their product as an effective form of birth control, advising women to douche with it in diluted form after sex, thus powerfully linking the product to the notion of family planning” (Flanagan). Women would seek out these abortion doctors where they would receive an injection into their uterus of Lysol to remove the pregnancy. Women would end up in the emergency room on the brink of death with organ failure caused by Lysol. These stories are why Planned Parenthood and other organizations geared toward helping women are crucial. “It was illegal to advertise contraception nationally before 1977, so the Lysol ads performed a coy bit of misdirection—they said that if women didn’t douche after sex, they would lose their “dainty,” or “feminine,” or “youthful” appeal” (Flanagan).

What About The Children?
2.9 million cases of child abuse are reported in the United States. Five children suffer abuse related deaths everyday (  I can’t help but wonder what that number would look like if more women had access to affordable, legal abortions. For too long women have not been equal and this is one more example of patriarchal control. The right to abortion simply means that women have rights over their own body. While I am no proponent of using abortion as birth control, I do support a woman’s right to make decisions that are in her and her body’s best interest. The opposers are not going to raise these children or financially provide for them, to me the more responsible choice for some women is abortion.

annotated bibliography; 

Caitlin Flanagan is an author who contributors to the Atlantic magazine an east coast magazine. She was born and raised in Berkeley, California and attended the University of Virginia. She authored To Hell with All That—an exploration, based on her Atlantic articles, of the lives of modern women. Some of her work includes; extended book reviews about conflicts of modern life—by professional women.

Works cited;

11 Facts About Child Abuse,

Flanagan, C., The Dishonesty of the Abortion Debate, The Atlantic Magazine, Dec. 2019 Issue

Gordon, j., The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy,

Hawkins, Ronnie Zoe. “Reproductive Choices: The Ecological Dimension.” Contradictions: Controversies in Feminist Social Ethics. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1993. 690-693.

Valentin, J., Abortion isn’t about the right to privacy. It’s about women’s right to equality, Tue 14 Oct. 2014,







Women-Nature Association

This week we investigate the connection between the sexualization of non-human animals and women. Carol Adams, author of The Sexual Politics of Meat draws a direct connection between men, patriarchy, and the treatment of women. This is achieved through advertising. “Violence against people and animals is interdependent, caring about both is required” (Adams). We see the sexualization of women in connection with meat. The fact that the meat industry appeals to men by using sexualized animals to sell their meat is what Adams refers to as the pornography of meat.

This image shows a pig in thigh high stockings, red heels and a garter belt. She appears to have long lashes as if to imply she’s wearing makeup. Her dress hiked up to show parts of her rump. She has a glass of wine insinuating that she’s approachable and ready for whatever comes next. This is obviously a sexualized photograph. She is supposed to be appealing to catch a man’s eye. This is a ham advertisement, selling ham by sexualizing the pig on the advertisement. This is an example of what Adams calls; “Anthropornography gives you a hooker on your plate. Nonhuman animals are whoring for you. Nonhumans want you, too. Suffering? Slaughtering? Inhumane acts? No. They want it.” This is begging the proposition of “eat me” and because the pig is female, it’s directly connecting the non-human animals to a human female. This perpetuates ongoing patriarchy. This is aimed at getting a man’s attention.
I chose this image to point out how advertisers use food to manipulate people to buy meat. This advertisement for example says Tofu it’s Schwules Fleisch, which translates to (tofu is gay meat) in German. This is directly connecting tofu to homosexuality. The fact that this advertisement makes a connection with someone’s sexuality is troublesome to me. This is an example of gendered food. By insinuating that eating tofu is gay, effeminate, or unmanly, it must be a feminine food, made for women and not for men.

This image is pretty blatant, it comes right out with the sexualized message. The hamburger has female legs with red heels which has always been associated with sex. The message is clearly insinuating sex. This could create arousal or plant the seed of sex in a man’s mind. It is associated with meat, and women, it directly connects the two. “These images are part of the structure of our culture, we fail to notice that consumable animals are invariably portrayed as feminine, as sexual, as available to men, just like female humans” (Adams).
This is a PETA advertisement. Its intention is to draw similarities between humans and meat. Because PETA is focused more on animals rights than women’s rights, it’s reinforcing the objectification and consumption of women.  In this advertisement “PETA sacrifices women’s rights for animal rights” (Florio).

This picture is analogous to the the PETA photo of Pamela Anderson. This image shows the non-human animal sectioned off in cuts of beef, just like the photo above does with Ms. Anderson. This directly connects humans and meat sources. Begging the question that if you consume one animal, what is the difference in consuming all?

Adams wants us to understand that non-human animals and animals are intersected. We are a society that sexualizes our foods, genderizes our foods, and normalizes violence by hunting for our food. If we really look closely at factory farms, and the mass killings that are carried out, there’s little difference from what Hitler did in the concentration camps. Holding mass amounts of “beings” waiting to be slaughtered. Society has conditioned us to dehumanize meat and look at it as just food. Not as a being that was alive, breathing and felt fear and pain when being killed. We have removed the emotion from our meat consumption, therefore we have allowed ourselves to be complacent with a genocidal type of activity.

Finally, eating meat can be a healthy practice for humans. “Let’s not forget that many non-human animals are omnivores too” (Florio). “The fact that women are compared to animals that will be butchered and consumed, suggests that women should serve as subservient members of society, “ for the pleasure of men. (Florio)

“Auschwitz begins whenever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and think; “They’re only animals”(Adams).

Adams, Carol J. “The Politics of Carol J. Adams.” Antennae. Annie Potts. Ed. Glovanni Alol. 2009. 12-24.

Florio, Angelica. “The Sexualization of Meat What It Means to Be an ‘Ass Man.’” Cipher Magazine

Kemmerer, Lisa. “The Pornography of Meat By Carol Adams.” Philosophy Now (2006).

Annotated Bibliography; 

Angelica Florio is a freelance writer who has published articles in several magazines and publications. Her article in Cipher magazine is directly related to this weeks topic of non-human animals and women. She references Adams in her writing and brings up some good connections on the topic. Florio writes about the media and  its power and influence on our culture. She has published articles in Playboy, Glamour, Vox and Hellogiggle to name just a few.





Vegetarian Ecofeminism

Vegetarian Ecofeminism. 

This image to me represents a human’s relationship to meat. I see what could be a male like figure, but that is unclear. This figure has a knife inserted into the meat as if it had killed the animal itself. It shows domination over a piece of flesh that it is about to consume. The image of the meat is sterile. It does not correlate to an animal or body part. It appears like just a thing on a cutting board. Perhaps the meat industry would prefer that we see meat in this way. Emotionless, faceless and non bloody? I’m sure animal rights activists would prefer we see images of animal cruelty when we are about to consume meat products. This character is faceless and emotionless as well. Maybe the professor wants us to see that the sterile meat and emotionless figure is how we see our meat. As not being an animal, but just as food that we consume.

As part of this weeks reading material, there was an article in titled Meat Heads, by Zoe Eisenberg. The article mentions the relationship between food and the differences between men and women. In the media and in Western society we see time and time again a man chowing down on a rare or bloody piece of beef and a woman politely eating a salad or a plate of greens. This image plays into the stereotype that men need meat to build strong muscles and women are too ladylike or feminine to eat a “manly” piece of steak.  It’s not often we see a man ordering a salad or something without meat in films or commercials. It further perpetuates the idea we already have about men eating the way they wish to and women carrying the burden of watching their “waistlines” to avoid gaining weight and becoming unattractive to men. “ In western society everything comes down to marketing. The idea that the bloodier the steak, the more manly the man is backed by the entertainment industry” (Ayinde Howell, vegan blogger

In order to change these societal stereotypes of men and meat, we should focus on more men especially athletes who are vegan or vegetarian. There are several top athletes who have elected to follow either a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. Olympic medalist, track star, Carl Lewis is a vegetarian. While Colin Kaepernick, former quarterback for the 49ers is a vegan. These men are what society would consider “manly” men who have ditched the beef for carrots and broccoli.

In western countries, we are becoming more and more aware of the antibiotics, steroids, and hormones that the meat industry injects into our meat supply. Still our society elects to turn a blind eye and to follow keto diets, and feast on giant steaks. “Steroids are considered dangerous to athletes, but animals that have been genetically engineered and chemically induced to grow faster are considered a different issue” (Curtin).

America is very diverse when it comes to restaurants and eating out. There is really no reason that people in the United States need to stick to a meat heavy diet. There are so many restaurants that offer vegetarian and vegan options these days.

Gendered food
Gendered foods is a socially constructed idea that has been fed to us through the media for years. Women are expected according to society to be more dainty eaters. We continuously see how movies portray women on dates where they order just a salad, while the man orders meat. Here is a good example of a film perpetuating this stereotype of gendered food. It shows the woman ordering soup, salad and fish as her entree. The man then asks for information about the old 96er, a giant 96 oz. steak.

In the essay written by Deane Curtin, Contextual Moral Vegetarianism, Curtin writes that “women are often associated with vegetables and passivity, ladies luncheons offer dainty sandwiches with no red meat.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at a women’s event where the offer is a vegetable platter, a fruit plate and finger sandwiches made with tuna fish or egg salad.

Ecofeminist perspective on non-human animals.

In the essay written by Greta Gaard, she informs us about the ecofeminist belief regarding non-human animals. She believes that even in the relationship between humans and domestic pets, that we humans are oppressors. “ To be a pet is to have all of life’s decisions controlled by someone else; when and what to eat, how to act, whom to socialize with, whether or not to reproduce. If the situation were offered to humans, we’d call it slavery”(Gaard).

As much as I agree that humans do oppress animals. I don’t know that I necessarily agree with Gaard’s perspective of the domestic pet/human relationship. Think for a moment about human babies, it’s much the same if you look at it. We are in complete control of our infants, and up until those infants grow into the appropriate age to be safely afforded freedoms of their own. We make all of the decisions for our children, just as Gaard describes how we do with our pets. We decide when and what our babies and young children eat. We choose their clothes, their toys, their bed times, their schools, even with whom they go on play dates. Until they are able to form their own friendships, we choose their friends. We certainly wouldn’t allow our two year old to run free out in the street simply because he asked. Neither would we allow our beloved pets to run free in the streets for the same fears, that they may become injured or killed. Gaard conveys the importance of providing the best life we can for our domestic pets, and I completely agree. Just like a human baby, our pets didn’t choose to come live in our homes. We made the choice, as such it’s our responsibility to provide the best home and environment possible.

Ecofeminist approach to non-human animal companions
I accept my complicity in a system of inter species domination, that was created when man domesticated animals for his own pleasure. I serve as an ally to the animals to whom I’ve committed my life. I provide them with love, compassion, quality food, clean water and clean bedding. Gaard advocated for the bird in the video/pizzeria in a similar way. I believe this is an ecofeminist position on the relationship between non-human domestic animals and humans.

I do agree that once upon a time we made the decision to domesticate animals, and as a result we have a relationship with animals wherein they are completely reliant upon us for their survival. So, it is up to us and to ecofeminist to educate people on the proper care of animals. As far as non domestic animals such as those the meat and dairy industry see as food sources, I agree that the treatment of those animals is atrocious. While I’m not a vegan or vegetarian, I limit my meat consumption to no more than three times per week. I have fish one day and usually a form of poultry. However I do eat eggs and cheese. I try to buy responsibly, by buying bio (organic) meat, cheese and egg options. The bio market near my house offers cruelty free options of meat and eggs. Their suppliers are local farmers nearby, where chickens are free range and grass fed.

According to the essay written by Deane Curtin,“there’s a connection through food between the oppression of women and the oppression of non-human animals. Many western societies view non-human animals as food sources, or as inferior beings, so it’s easier for most to ignore the inhumane treatment of food source animals like pigs, chickens, cows and the like. Curtin talks about moral vegetarianism, an idea that we should try at all costs to avoid abusing or causing the pain and suffering of a sentient being for our own enjoyment or consumption. “For economically well-off people in technologically advanced countries, they have a choice of what food they want to eat”( Curtin). Ecofeminist, vegans, and vegetarians believe that non-human animals should no longer count as food.

How science is stepping in

Scientists around the world are working on new meatless options. They are creating meat using animal cells through a process called in vitro cell culture. Could this become the new way we enjoy a burger? This option will certainly upset the meat industry,  but it could save lives. I believe that reducing our meat consumption is the best way to protect non-human animals. However, since we will never eliminate meat eaters completely, we can at least lobby for a more humane treatment of food source animals. “Factory farms are responsible for most of the 6 billion animals killed for food every year in the United States. If there were improved regulations, and strictly enforced rules against inhumane treatment of food source animals, these numbers could certainly decrease.

Cultured meat,

Curtin, Deane, Contextual Moral Vegetarianism, spring 1991,, Feb. 20,2020

Dawson, Allen, These 19 elite athletes are vegan — here’s what made them switch their diet, 01, No. 2018,

Eisenberg, Zoe, Meat Heads: New Study Focuses on How Meat Consumption Alters Men’s Self-Perceived Levels of Masculinity, Jan.13,2017 February 21,2020 Article:

Gaard, Greta, Ecofeminism on the Wing, (2001) 19-22 Feb. 21,2020

Annotated bibliography
Greta Gaard is a writer, associate professor, activist, environmentalist and ecofeminist. She is currently a professor of English in Wisconsin. She works to bring awareness to the association between non-human animals and male domination/female oppression. She is a published author of several ecofeminist publications.




Understanding Place

Oceanside Beach, Oceanside, Ca.

Growing up, I lived in a suburb outside of Los Angeles, California. Roughly a 30 minute drive to the beach without traffic. Often times during my life when I was pondering a difficult decision or struggling with something I sought solace and peace at the ocean’s edge.

North shore Oahu, Hawaii

I often found myself drawn to the power of the ocean. When I would sit on the sand and stare out into the vastness of the Pacific, I felt so small. My problems suddenly felt insignificant. The sounds of the city silenced by the sounds of the waves crashing in front of me. The experience always left me feeling at peace. Watching the ocean you realize how much power it holds, and how that power has never been conquered, it has only been harnessed for use. I can connect my feeling about the ocean to something Barbara Kingslover wrote; “Wilderness puts us in our place. It reminds us that our plans are small and somewhat absurd.”

Atlantic Ocean off Lisbon, Portugal

Water is a vital resource for all living things. We humans cannot live without it. Perhaps that is why I find it so fascinating, because it is my life’s elixir.

The human body is made up of sixty percent water. Water is used in making energy through a process called hydroelectricity. A lot of our fruits and vegetable are made up of mostly water. Tomatoes for example are ninety percent water. There are very few living thing on earth that can survive without water. Terry Tempest Williams asks the question “How do the stories we tell about ourselves in relationship to place shape our perceptions of place?” I think this is a very good question that we should all ask ourselves. For me, I feel that the story I tell about my connection to water shapes my appreciation for water and how vital it is for life. “Story bypasses rhetoric and pierces the heart. Story offers a wash of images and emotion that returns us to our highest and deepest selves, where we remember what it means to be human.” (Williams p.3) I hope through my story of water and the connection I feel to it, it brings some clarity to my reader about how we are small in comparison to nature.

Adriatic Sea in Dubrovnik, Croatia

In this weeks reading by bell hooks she connects the earth with the African American culture in the American South. Farming the lands and living from the crops you grow require water. It’s a vital resource that everyone in the world needs to survive and thrive. bell hooks expresses the importance of humans connection with the natural world. Like I feel connected to water, others feel connected to earth, soil, mountains, and deserts. “Wherever we live, we can restore our relationship to the natural world by taking time to commune with nature, to appreciate the other creatures who share the planet.” (Hooks p.37)

Saale River, Halle Saale Germany

Although I no longer live near the ocean, I do live near a very large water way that runs a few hundred miles through a lot of East Germany. A portion of the Saale River is a short walk from my house. It’s not the ocean but it does the trick to soothe me almost the same. On any given spring or summer day you can find crowds of people enjoying the water. Sitting on the edge with their feet in the cool water, picnicking along the river’s edge, kayaking, canoeing or swimming. It’s a place for people to commune with nature. To use it responsibly and take from it joy and leave it alone for others.

City center fountain, Halle Saale Germany
Lake Geneva Montreaux, Switzerland

Water and the connection to Ecofeminism;
Water is a vital resource for human life. Therefore it’s only logical that we take every step necessary to protect the resource. With global warming, caused by fossil fuels, and deforestation, the world’s oceans are heating up. Global warming is also causing the polar ice caps to melt which is creating sea levels to rise. This causes coastal land erosion and threatens seaside cities. The weather is also affected by warmer ocean temperatures. Severe storms that cause flooding are linked to warmer ocean temperatures. This affects women in the Global South especially who rely on farming and cultivating as their financial livelihood. Another threat on our ocean life is the food source which many men and women around the world rely on. “Right now it is estimated that up to 12 million metric tons of plastic—everything from plastic bottles and bags to microbeads—end up in our oceans each year. That’s a truckload of trash every minute”(Green

Oslo, Norway

The amount of plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean has been compared to the size of Texas. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch as it’s nicknamed. The chemicals from the plastic leeches out into the water, and animals become infected by it. Humans then consume these contaminated fish, causing health issues. “Not only do the toxins in plastic affect the ocean, but acting like sponges, they soak up other toxins from outside sources before entering the ocean. As these chemicals are ingested by animals in the ocean, this is not good for humans. We as humans ingest contaminated fish and mammals”(Andrews).

Irish Sea, off the coast of Belfast, N. Ireland

We all have a responsibility to take the issue of global warming seriously. To me, this is what Terry Tempest Williams was referring to when she mentions bedrock democracy in her essay Red. A call to action, to protect our ecosystems, including the oceans. To try to do our part in eliminating our plastic usage and make the best environmental decisions we can. I’ve stopped using plastic bags, straws, food storage containers and water bottles. Living in Germany it’s easier as most of the country has reduced its plastic consumption quite considerably over the past several years. It starts with us, and little by little we can make a difference. We need governments of the world to do their parts as well, and I am hopeful with as much attention the world is shining on the subject of climate control that we can reduce some of the deadly affects on our environment.

El Younque rain forest, Puerto Rico
Aegean Sea Athens, Greece
The Baltic Sea, Germany

“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.”
— W. H. Auden


Andrews, Gianna. Plastics in the Ocean Affecting Human Health.,

Hooks, Bell., Touching The Earth

Kingslover, Barbara., Knowing our Place

Protecting Our Oceans

Shaw, Allyson., 5 reasons why water rules


Williams, Terry Tempest. Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert. Pantheon Books, 2002.

Annotated Bibliography;
Terry Tempest Williams is an American author, feminist and environmental activist. She has written and published several  books. The book Red; Passion and Patience in the Desert is a collection of essays written by Williams. Red, details her experience and passion for the Utah desert. She takes a political look at how the government has repeatedly failed to keep laws in place to protect National Parks, monuments and historic sites in the Utah desert. Williams is biased in her essay because she writes about it from the perspective of it being favorite place to be. She expresses her love for the American desert. Her goal is to make the reader see the importance of nature and wilderness, and why it’s important to protect it. She is pretty aligned with the other authors we read this week as all three Williams, Kingslover and Hooks all write about nature, the wilderness, and their connections to it. Williams essay helped me to see how politics plays a role in nature. How we need to do our part to advocate for the preservation of wilderness.















Women and the Global South an Ecofeminist Perspective

Women in the Global South experience greater effects of environmental degradation compared to men, or Western women. In China, women are responsible for 90% of the rice cultivation. In Ghana 70% of crops are produced and harvested by women. These women are susceptible to financial harm by the effects of global warming on crops. (Klusener).  In parts of India and Africa, women are raped while relieving themselves. Many women and girls go in groups to protect each other from men in neighboring villages. Excessive logging and deforestation  in the Himalayas threaten indigenous women’s cultures and practices. In many countries women are the ones responsible for obtaining the water for their families or villages. Women are more susceptible to illness caused by contaminated water during pregnancy and lactation. These illnesses can lead to malnourishment and underweight infants, which can lead to higher levels of infant mortality.

Agarwal explains ecofeminism in a similar way that Shiva does. By bringing awareness to women of the Global South they bring into focus intersectionality. It’s important that we understand how environmental degradation affects women in poor and rural areas in comparison to how Western women might be affected. In last weeks reading, Karen Warren made a symbolic connection to women and the environment. In western feminism, we link nature to women symbolically. We take a look at Ecofeminism under the scope of patriarchy and the domination of men against women and nature. The Western perspective is that because men have always viewed women and nature as something in need of conquering, the connection to women and nature is made. Western feminists feel climate change of course, but not to the same degree that the women of the Global South might feel it.

Agarwal makes the comparison of ecofeminism of the west and of the global South in the following excerpt from her essay. “The ecofeminist argument is problematic on several counts. First it posits “women” as a unitary category and fails to differentiate among women by class, race ethnicity and so on. It ignores forms of domination other than gender”. (Agarwal p.122)

Of course both perspectives of ecofeminism is interesting and important. In the west we are continuously trying to fight against misogyny in all aspects of western life. In the Global South, they are concerned with health issues as it relates to globalization, capitalism, and an abuse of resources. Deforestation creates an end to cultural ways of life in areas of the Global South. We as western women can’t truly grasp what it might mean to survive as a woman in India or Africa. Having to first go fetch water without being raped or attacked. Second carry heavy jugs of possibly contaminated water. Third having to treat or boil the contaminated water before being able to use it.

Meanwhile women in the west are angry that we make .81 to a man’s $1.00. This is a first world problem that is leaps and bounds different than third world problems. I do believe that we need to continue to fight for equality. For equal rights and treatment in the United States. However, being woke on issues that affect the health, wellbeing and livelihood of women in the Global South make their issues seem far more urgent than the wage gap. I’d have to say that I am more drawn to the issue of Women in the Global South as an issue that the world needs to be more aware of.

In closing, It important that we keep in mind that ecofeminism, regardless from what perspective you are looking at it,  at its simplest level, it is a fight against male domination. Women in the global South are not given political power to make changes on the governmental level. They are forced to deal with their issues through small grassroots movements. Which takes time and resources many do not have access to. Some scholars state “there can be no climate justice without gender justice. Because attempts to address climate change— whether its impacts or to mitigate its effects—are inseparable from the lives of women” (


Agarwal, Bina. “The Gender and Environment Debate: Lessons from India.” Feminist Studies, vol. 18, no. 1, 1992, pp. 119–158. JSTOR, Accessed 9 Feb. 2020.

“Climate Justice and Gender Justice”

Klusener, Edgar. “Are women in the global south ‘victims’ or ‘saviours’ in the face of environmental challenges”? April 18,2019

London, Scott. “In the Footsteps of Gandhi: An Interview with Vandana Shiva”

“Water and Gender”





What is Ecofeminism?

This image represents Mother Earth. In this weeks reading of Warren’s Introduction to EcoFeminism by Karen Warren, she explains how women are related to nature. By calling the earth Mother Earth, and  Mother Nature, we have learned to associate the earth in a feminine aspect. As such, there can be a connection to women in the natural sense.

In this picture you can see that there is a female rising from the earth with her nurturing arms around not only the humans but also the land and plant life. This reinforces the idea that women are thought to be nurturing. So when capitalism takes over and our lands are raped of resources, that action can be linked to the subjugation of women as it relates to nature. Hobgood puts in very eloquently in her essay when she says “Oppression of the natural world and of women by patriarchal power structures must be examined together or neither can be confronted fully”.

Warren made eight connections between women and nature in her essay. The connection that I feel explains how I interpret eco feminism the best is her explanation on symbolic connections. Like I mentioned above, symbolically we refer to nature in a feminine way. We also refer to using resources from nature in feminine terms. Terms such as “conquering” or “tilling virgin soil” insinuates control and domination. Warren goes on to share how women are often referred to in animal terms. These include names like; chicks, foxes, hens, cows, bitches and beavers to name just a few. Men often use these kinds of terms when referring to women. Especially when those women are either in power positions professionally, or when a man feels disrespected by his unwanted advances.

What the heck is Ecofeminism anyway?

In 1974, a French feminist Françoise d’Eaubonne published a book Le féminisme ou la mort, (Feminism or Death)where she coined the term “eco feminism”. She brought to the surface the connection between women and the environment. “Citing toxic masculinity as the cause of population growth, pollution, and other destructive influences on the environment” (Divinity). This is a good example of one of the beliefs of EcoFeminism. However as evidenced in the many forms of feminism, it is interpreted differently by everyone. As Hobgood wrote in her essay; “as ecofeminism continues to shift and grow, different positions will surely form and surface, while other positions and alliances will fade away or be replaced by more urgent connections”. Because feminist theory is varied in its beliefs, we cannot say that EcoFeminism theory is based on one united belief. However, the basis of EcoFeminism as I understand it is continued awareness of how we can preserve nature and it’s resources. By learning more about global warming and the devastation it is causing on our health, we can start making more informed choices.

I tend to lean toward the connection of women and ecology in the sense that women do need a nutrient rich earth to be able to produce healthy humans, for the basis of furthering the population. If we continue to invade green space and allow deforestation in the name of capitalism and corporate greed, the human race will suffer. The women of the global south are most at risk as they are exposed to toxins that other areas of the world are not. In researching more on the topic of EcoFeminism, I came across several very interesting essays. On, in an essay written by Alison Parker, she writes; “Environmental destruction is a form of violent oppression, and many forms of life share this similar kind of experience. Ecofeminism focuses mainly on likening the oppression of nature to the oppression of women” (Parker).  Patriarchy and capitalism is a domination of nature. Since the industrial revolution nature has been used and abused by capitalists and as a result we are feeling the various ways our globe has been affected.

In closing, Eco feminist theory is probably more relevant today than in previous years. Women’s rights and climate change are a focus of many countries across the globe. Eco feminist theory is an important world topic these days especially with the election of “Donald Trump, who has eliminated the EPA’s Clean Water Rule, has put into effect plans to weaken smog standards and reject the Clean Power Plan, has called climate change a hoax, and has withdrawn from the Paris Agreement”. (Divinity)  His actions are a direct attack on our environment. Proving further that capitalism is working against climate protection. We must find ways to preserve nature. “Oppression of the natural world and of women by patriarchal power structures must be examined together or neither can be confronted fully”. (Hobgood)

Ecofeminist theory is one way to bring awareness to issues like, the protection of women and humans, the preservation of species, as well as race, and of course environmental issues.


Ecofeminism: Historic and International Evolution. Laura Hobgood-Oster, Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas.

Ecofeminism: what is this movement that links women’s rights and ecology?

Fertile Ground: Intro to Ecofeminist Thought by Alison Parker

Understanding Ecofeminist Activism In The Face Of Global Climate Change By Dakota Divinity

Warrens introduction to Ecofeminism, by Karen J. Warren.



Hello world!

My name is Tonya Mulholland, I’m a returning student and in my second semester at UMassD. I’m a WGS major. I currently live and work in East Germany. I teach English to business professionals. Since moving abroad, my husband and I have been to 40 of the 44 countries in Europe. We are hoping to hit a few more before returning to the states mid summer.

One of the blog sites that I connected to was AdiosBarbie. An article written by Jennifer Landis titled: The “F-Word” I don’t use around my daughter- it’s not what you think. She writes about how damaging the word “fat” is when describing ourselves or others in front of our young impressionable children. It struck a chord with me because my mother was obsessed with her weight my entire life. She often told me things like “too much chips makes too much Tonya”. That message definitely played a role in my own obsession about my weight as a young adult.

Once I had my own children I made the conscious decision not to use weight to define myself, others, or them. Unfortunately they still got negative body image messages from their peers and the media, but in our home they were loved and respected despite how they looked. My Mother is still obsessed about weight and still compares herself and others according to their body size. It’s a shallow dangerous trait that perpetuates unhealthy eating and can lead to psychological scarring, as well as eating disorders. The Adios Barbie blog spreads body positivity and acceptance.

The city that I live in Germany has been voted the greenest city in the state in which its located. They are very big on recycling and reducing their carbon footprint as much as possible. Climate change and global warming are key issues that are at the forefront among city officials in Halle. Student have also made it their mission to bring the issue of climate change into the public eye. Two Friday’s per month kids from the middle schools, high schools and universities leave school and march for climate change awareness. They call their movement “Friday’s for future”. They are peaceful demonstrators who march with messages advocating for change in how lawmakers look at and deal with climate issues.

Back in October 2019, our city’s Mayor (Burgermeister) led the city on a hike into the woods where a few hundred people planted new trees. The issue of global warming and climate change is a big subject of focus among city leaders in Halle Saale Germany.