It took me until I sat down to write this post, that I realized all of the readings meant for this piece represent different truths about the connection between women and nature from different parts of the world. Latin America, India, and Brazil. I enjoyed reading all of them, because although incredibly sobering and heartbreaking they represent the truth about the lives of women and communities in all 3 places. They also share knowledge about the reality for feminism, and the further need to protect women and nature.
It was very refreshing to read Ivone Gebara’s Ecofeminism: A Latin American Perspective. I found her writing straight forward, honest, to the point, and her perspective on the intersectionality of feminism and utopia really intrigued me. I can’t think of anyone else who has brought up those two ideas being married to each other the way that she described it! In terms of connecting the oppression of women and the oppression of nature, Ivone brings up many good points in her piece about how we are currently living is impacting ourselves as women and the future of how we will see the world if we don’t change how we move forward with change and relief from oppression. She stresses that both oppressions are happening at the same time, not one after another. She states that “While all these discussions are going on, [discussions among feminist and ecofeminists about different applications for discussing the best perspectives] the deconstruction of the Amazon forest, the rain forest, and others, continue…lots of paper is being used, lots of trees are being cut down and used by industries, polluting the rivers and the air…lots of women and children are starving and dying with diseases produced by a capitalist system to destroy lives and keep profit for only a few” (Gebara 94). While she does explain her role in understanding the relationship between feminism and ecology and how she shares her knowledge about it, at the same time she brings forward the obvious knowledge in an attempt to point out that while feminists and eco feminists, can continue to have discussions regarding different ways of dealing with issues for women and nature, real time devistations are happening to the elements and beings that we are trying to save. She reminds us, that actions will speak louder than words. Everything that we are experiencing has violence associated with it in some way, and we need to start thinking about a new reality or utopia if we want to have a chance at saving what we want for the suture.
I knew that Talita Correa’s article The Brazilian Slum Children Who are Literally Swimming in Garbage was going to be hard to read just based on the title, but I also knew that it was going to be an important article for furthering my knowledge about the relationship between the oppression of women and children and the oppression of nature. The article, while short, was descriptive, and very intentional for shedding light on just how devastating the conditions are in Recife and Devine Providence in Brazil. Correa writes about a young boy, and one mother and daughter who collect cans and aluminum parts from filthy water in canals filled with trash so that they can sell them for money to pay for food and other expenses while the daughter is living with ringworm and lives in a cardboard house with her mother to survive. According to the article, it’s the only life that the daughter of the mother mentioned in the article know. In this article, both women AND children are being exploited, oppressed, and neglected as well as the environment around them. The picture says it all. I am glad that efforts had been made to spare Paulo and his family in response to the photo in the article being brought forward, but more action needs to be taken for more children and families to never have to endure what Paulo went through or to suffer a health crisis as invasive as ringworm! It’s clear that as a result of patriarchy, and greed, women, children and nature suffer far more directly than other elements especially in Brazil and other parts of the world.
In terms of the second question in our assignment, and after watching the two YouTube videos of different women speaking about how they have been impacted throughout the process of modernization on their land, it made more sense for me to think about the question backwards, to help me better organize my thoughts. The answer that I arrived at was: yes, I do agree that environmental degradation equals direct and deeper cultural losses and issues for women, tribes, and communities. In the 2015 Gendered Impact series 5, one indigenous women named Meeka Otway spoke about how mining has a direct impact on many elements of the land that it’s destroying. She states that “Mining and environmental degradation means that…traditional hunting grounds and important animals have changed their migration routes. In those ways the mine is contributing to the loss of traditional knowledge and cultural practices” (Otway 2015). It’s clear that environmental degradation and oppression impacts indigenous women’s way of life very seriously and the losses that come with mining on land that they used to occupy has resulted in a lot of suffering and oppression for them and for their traditions and practices.
I think that feminism has done a lot of good work for helping to achieve many milestones for women, and ecofeminism helps to restore lost voices, hidden knowledge, and concealed truth about intersectional social categories to bring them back to the movement towards a better future for women and nature. However, I think that we need to act more then we need to write. We need to change rather than dwell. We need to focus rather than deflect on others. In shared words with Gebara, “A new utopia is possible” (Gebara 101). A new utopia has to be possible.
Gebara, Ivone. “ECOFEMINISM: A Latin American Perspective.” CrossCurrents, vol. 53, no. 1, 2003, pp. 93–103. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/24461123. Accessed 1 Apr. 2023.
“2015 Gendered Impacts Series (4): Land Is Identity (2:28).” Www.youtube.com, YouTube, 2 Apr. 2023, www.youtube.com/watch?v=LopcPrSvDBw. Accessed 2 Apr. 2023.
Vice. “The Brazilian Slum Children Who Are Literally Swimming in Garbage.” Www.vice.com, 30 Jan. 2014, www.vice.com/en/article/kwpwja/the-brazilian-slum-children-who-are-literally-swimming-in-garbage-0000197-v21n1. Accessed 2 Apr. 2023.