Eco Feminism

and creating the future

I was about 7. Skipping about in the garden, listening to a conversation between my father and my older sister about the longevity of the sun. She was curious about the future of humans. In my innocent child’s mind there was a lot, a lot, a lot of years until the sun would run out of energy, so no doubt, all was good.

40 years later I’m contemplating the state of the world. All is not good. We’re facing the sneaking reality of climate change, and getting real with the prospects of huge financial and social instability that will follow. Life as we know it might be coming to an end. Our children might have to face enormous challenges we don’t even want to think about.

What happened? When did it go wrong? And what can we do about it? What is my role as a woman in this particular time?

What is our role as women?

These are questions I’m pondering during these times of COVID. In its own way, life as we knew it has been coming to an end, at least for a while. We’re faced with the fragility of human life, of social structures, of distrust in the people who lead us. We’re faced with the reality of a Post-Truth society.

Then one of my women in Copenhagen sent me a YouTube video with a talk by Vandana Shiva. This Indian mama of the planet, an intellectual and spiritual warrior with her feet firmly grounded in real, biodiverse, organic soil. Clear, intelligent and with a deep commitment to Life itself. The embodiment of what I believe to be the true feminine: A Carer for Life.

She simply put things straight in a way that made sense to me. She described how patriarchal science and capitalism since the age of Columbus gradually turned the sacred, living planet, women and animals into resources to exploit. The aim was to colonise Life itself. To be the ruler of nature. And here we are, 500 years later: Literally and metaphorically disconnected from our roots. From nature, and from our own deeper nature as women. Severely disconnected from our very source of survival.

With her term Eco-Feminism, Vandana Shiva describes a movement of remembering, of reconnecting with our true, feminine wisdom. It’s a call to remove the false assumptions of separation and superiority. The call to turn our back to a system that is violent to life itself.

This resonates with me strongly. It is an absolute, evolutionary imperative for us to come out of the illusion of separation from the wholeness and the objectification and control of our natural environment. We are completely and utterly interconnected with Life itself.

Personally, though, I do feel a little weary of the term ‘feminism’. It can easily translate into a dichotomy between men and women and blaming ‘men’ for the state of the world in a way that is neither constructive nor evolutionary. We need a healthy balance; a synthesis between the healthy, mature masculine and the healthy, mature feminine. But having said this, Vandana Shiva to me points out that the deep, feminine knowing – in women as well as men – is the only chance we have, to restore our relationship with Life and our own survival.

As I take it, it’s a call for humanity to wake up and remember the wholeness of our innate nature. It’s a call for to integrate the feminine in all of us, which has been split off, colonised and exploited.

As women we can lead the way, because we ARE the feminine. Our ability to create, nurture and sustain life is a knowing that runs in our veins: We are deeply connected with Life itself; with All That Is. This means that deep down we cannot make decisions that are not aligned with the Wholeness. We cannot build structures of inequality. Our bodies and hearts will not allow manipulation, exploitation and dominance. We are a part of a living, breathing system; a complete cosmos.

In a way it is very simple: In every conversation; in every action and interaction we can pause. We can slow down….. breathe…. and ask ourselves: How does this feel in my body? Am I in contraction or am I in expansion? Am I able to breathe freely, to feel fully, or am I locked in my head, trying to convince myself about something: Is my habitual thinking – conditioned by capitalist patriarchy – trying to colonise the wisdom of my body?

Our bodies are connected to the wholeness already. Our bodies know.

This is what we can do as women. We can fight for life, care for life, nurture life by making sure that we in ourselves are in alignment with our own, inner nature. We can stay connected to our bodies and the wisdom they hold. And from this place we can lead by example. We can create and communicate with care for the wholeness we are inextricably a part of. We can be in Right Relations with everything that we touch.

I urge you to watch this talk.