What is ecofeminism?
Ecofeminism, or ecological feminism, a philosophy and movement born from the union of feminist and ecological thinking, believes that the social mentality that leads to the domination and oppression of women is directly connected to the social mentality that leads to the environmental abuse of Earth.
It’s all about empowering women
Sustainable development demands recognition and value for the multitude of ways in which women's lives intertwine with environmental realities. Women's right to own and inherit land should be enforced; individual and communal security of land tenure should be guaranteed; women should have access to credit, and to agricultural extension and resource management services, and they should be included in decisions about the services' organisation and content.
(State of the World Report)
Natural world’s masculine bias
Ecofeminist approaches emphasise the experience of domination and exploitation shared by women and the natural world. In combining ecological ethics and gender analysis, ecofeminism provides unique insights into environmental issues by exposing the essentially masculine bias of our thinking about the natural world. It combines eco-anarchism or bioregional democracy with a strong ideal of feminism. Typically its advocates emphasise moving back to small eco-villages of 100 to 140 people, which studies in anthropology argue historically form the most stable and prevalent type of human society.
In both the traditional and modern feminist ideal of such villages, women often function as the only landlords or the only land-owners, and property may be inherited only maternally, i.e. in a matriarchy. (Some anthropologists think that in practice traditional cultures were only rarely matriarchal.) However, because of the extreme convergence between real or imagined historical village societies, eco-feminist ideals and pagan practices, sometimes these projects are seen as a form of primitivism.
But this oversimplifies the case, as many feminists see a substantial role for modern technologies (including those invented by men, whom they would welcome as inventors, engineers, traders, and also sperm contributors) in the creation and operation of such villages.
Divergence on issues
Most eco-feminists, for instance, see solar power as a way to stay off 'the grid', which they regard as more important than not relying on poisonous industrial processes or materials. The ecology movement is itself split on issues like this, so it is not central to eco-feminism to debate appropriate technology. However, it is likely that intermediate technology would be preferred in general, if an eco-feminist movement sought to spread into developing nations quickly.
The manifesting dominator culture
A central tenet in eco-feminism states that male ownership of land has led to a dominator culture, manifesting itself in food export, over-grazing, the tragedy of the commons and a land ethic that amounts to land abuse. The more extreme eco-feminists view colonisation akin to rape, and they also have equally harsh things to say about games such as golf or bobsledding that inherently require destruction of ecologies to be 'played' — and were historically played only by men.