Across the globe, climate change, environmental degradation, and pollution are affecting vulnerable communities and individuals at higher and more severe rates. Both intersectional environmentalism and ecofeminism aim to restore equity to such communities, with a focus on amplifying silenced voices and bringing awareness of disproportionate effects to the public.
Eco-feminism and intersectional environmentalism have similarities and differences. Here's what you need to know.
First coined by french author Françoise d'Eaubonne, ecofeminism is a movement that aims to find the connections between the oppression of the female gender and the degredation of the environment. Spiritual and religious connections are made in ecofeminism to spotlight the ways in which women and the environment have been oppressed and underrepresented for thousands of years.
Specific connections are made between women's reproductive health, which is disproportionately impacted by chemicals, including pesticides, acid rain, radiation, and other pollutants, compared to men.
Ecofeminism restructures environmentalism to show that systems of oppression work mutually and simultaneously. Sexism, racism, classism, naturism, and speciesism are included as systems of oppression that have continued to oppress women and the environment as one large oppressor instead of separate oppressive systems.
Ecofeminists (those who practice ecofeminism) examine the effects of gender to demonstrate how societal normalicies allow the dominance over women and, ultimately, the natural world. Term' mother, nature is used in ecofeminism to display how the planet is seen as a feminine body and experiences the same misfortunes and abuse compared to female humans.
Ecofeminism combines philosophy with historical mentions and current suppression against women to build their cause.
Intersectional Environmentalism Defined
Author and environmentalist Leah Thomas first coined the term intersectional environmentalism in her book, The Intersectional Environmentalist: How to Dismantle Systems of Oppression to Protect People + Planet.
The term is used to achieve climate justice, tackle pollution, and address other environmental concerns while amplifying voices closest to said environmental problems. To generate effective environmental laws and policies, intersectional environmentalism encourages activism from the ground up, starting with communities who are affected more severely by environmental degradation.
Such communities include tribes and native communities, low-income and developing communities, BIPOC, and other historically silenced communities. Environmental education, policies, and activism through intersectional environmentalism are done with equity, inclusion, and restorative justice as the driver.
Women make up a large focus group within intersectional environmentalism but are not the primary focus group. The movement and study also include men and any gender experiencing the disproportionate effects of climate change and other environmental hardships. This also includes those with disabilities, the elderly, and those experiencing poverty.
While intersectional environmentalism includes women as a focus group, ecofeminism solely uses women as the focus group of the movement. Intersectional environmentalism also places more emphasis on policy-making, whereas ecofeminism aims to shift societal perception about women, the environment, and animals.
Both ecofeminism and intersectional environmentalism explore the underlying causes of the earth's degradation from a societal level. Intersectional environmentalism creates a wider arch that includes all social injustices, whereas ecofeminism places a larger priority on patriarchy, sexism, and gender.
Once could argue that intersectional environmentalism is a more inclusive movement compared to ecofeminism, yet both movements hold their own importance in shaping future society.
The importance of both movements is in their power to understand why the human race often turns a blind eye against the treatment of the planet. They also provide a resource for public awareness and discord to discuss how gender, race, and social status can and does impact the likelihood of experiencing environmental impacts, whether through natural disasters, pollution, or other impacts.
Eco-feminism and intersectional environmentalism share similarities.
While intersectional environmentalism includes women as a focus group, ecofeminism solely uses women as the focus group of the movement.
Both movements are important to create a more just world for minority communities (including women) and the planet.