How can women draw on their own experiences of subjugation to change how society treats the natural world? What is the overlap between this work and bioregionalism? These are the questions Judith Plant answers in this essay. She traces the evolution from earlier conceptions of the earth as sensitive, alive and thus unethical to harm, to the post-industrialization view in which “exploitation is purely a mechanical function,” and explains why bioregionalism “may well be the kind of framework within which the philosophy of ecofeminism could realize its full potential as part of a practical social movement.”
In this essay, Helen Forsey expands on the ideas outlined by Judith Plant, exploring what a community following ecofeminist ideals would actually look like in practice. She provides a list of essential components of true community building, and emphasizes that those engaged in it “need to continually develop our understanding and analysis of what must be changed and why” lest we recreate existing problems.
By Gary Coates and Julia Coates. Home! A Bioregional Reader.
Gary and Julia Coates argue that most problems affecting local areas are caused by external forces, and that people already exploited themselves are forced to become exploiters of resources as well. “Community is the beginning and end of bioregionalism,” and is required to respond to these problems.
Marnie Muller argues that Western Christian/patriarchal culture is responsible for the intertwined oppression and exploitation of the Earth and women, and that the only way to create a just world is to tear these structures down. She explores how false beliefs, such as mind/body duality, prop up these oppressive systems and disconnect humans from the rest of the natural world. She believes the road forward must include reconnecting with homeplace, ourselves, other humans, and ultimately the Earth itself.
In this essay, William Koethke examines how the fates of human society and the earth at large are affected by the “fundamental spiritual, cultural and political act” of the human society’s diet. Using the San Francisco River watershed as an example, he traces the human groups that have occupied it over known history, their shifting cultural practices related to obtaining food, and how these practices reflect communal values and affect the environment. He believes modern society can return to these healthier, more sustainable practices “if we stop empowering the white sugar-flour crowd by our choices.”
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