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Edition #1
Origins and Birth

Elizabeth Rose (Environment)
Edited by Co-Editors in Chief

Birth & Origins, Mother Earth and Intersectional Environmentalism: Why we need to stop
being material girls in a material world now!

elastagirl.jpg (Elasta-Girl, 2004)

To that end, what are the next steps you can take after reading this article?

1. Follow (a variety) of people who advocate for intersectional eco-feminist Climate Action. The list in this article is just a start, there are hundreds of thousands of people who are advocating for a better, more connected and compassionate world - go find them!

2. Do some research yourself - read, watch and listen your way to being an expert - this will both inform and empower your environmentalism going forward.

3. Consider your consumption habits, how sustainable are they now and how sustainable they could be with a few alterations? Could you buy more locally, or support BIPOC businesses near you?

4. Withhold your business from unethical corporations. In the end, so much of the damage done to our Earth and marginalised communities, comes down to money and profit margins. So do not spend your money on products you know to actively contradict the values you hold in relation to these.

5. Speak out! Your voice is so powerful - talk to your friends and family, flatmates and coworkers about what’s happening and what needs to change. While sometimes it might feel like we’re each just a drop in the ocean, what is an ocean but many, many, drops?! Go make waves, and never underestimate the influence of your actions and words on those around you!

6. Campaign. Your voice has power beyond the people you know. Write to your favourite brands, insist on better wages, working conditions, sustainability policies etc. Write to your MP and insist the same. Go to protests, find your people, start a petition, donate to causes you support - there are a thousand different ways to campaign, so find what works for you and do it with pride.


Barber, A. Consumed: On Colonialism, Climate Change, Consumerism, and the Need for Collective Change. (Octopus Publishing Group.. 2021).

Destination Indigenous (2021). Food & Culture - Indigenous Cuisine. [online] DI - Culinary. Available at:

Dobscha, S. (1993). Women and the Environment: Applying Ecofeminism to Environmentally-Related Consumption. ACR North American Advances, [online] NA-20. Available at:

Fashion Revolution (2021). 80% Exhibition. [online] Fashion Revolution. Available at:

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) (2021). The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021. [online] Available at:

Hall, R. (2021). Girls doing more housework in Covid lockdown than boys. [online] The Guardian. Available at:

Hill, R.P. (2021). How Destructive Are We? The Fashion Industry’s Shocking Truth. [online] E D G E. Available at: destructive-are-we-the-fashion- industrys-shocking-truth/.

Jain, I. (2021). How To Reduce Food Waste. [online] - Past | Present | Future. Available at: waste/#:~:text=Cereals%2C%20vegetables%20and%20meats%20have%20intense%20carbo n%20footprints.

McCallum, W. How to Give Up Plastic: A Conscious Guide to Changing the World, One Plastic Bottle at a Time. (Penguin Life. 2018). McGrath, M. (2021). COP26: Fossil fuel industry has largest delegation at climate summit. BBC News. [online] 8 Nov. Available at: environment-59199484.

Meredith, S. (2021). COP26 sharply criticized as the “most exclusionary” climate summit ever. [online] CNBC. Available at: criticized-as-the-most-exclusionary-climate-summit-ever.html.

Szokan, N. (2016). The fashion industry tries to take responsibility for its pollution. The Washington Post. [online] 30 Jun. Available at: responsibility-for-its-pollution/2016/06/30/11706fa6-3e15-11e6-80bc- d06711fd2125_story.html.

Taylor, M. (2021). Cop26 will be whitest and most privileged ever, warn campaigners. [online] The Guardian. Available at: privileged-ever-warn-campaigners.

ThredUp (2021). 2021 Fashion Resale Market and Trend Report. [online] Available at:

Wallace-Wells, D. The Uninhabitable Earth. (Crown Publishing Group. 2019).

Zero Waste Cities (2020). Waste shipment: the out of sight, out of mind situation we need to fix. [online] Zero Waste Cities. Available at: shipment/.

8 Reasons We Can't Wait for 'Pose' to Return for Season 3 ( *RESPECT


Somewhat unsurprisingly, in the capitalist, patriarchal and neocolonial circus that is the reality of 2022, Mother Earth - a woman - is not thriving.

And why? Rampant (Western) society-wide, mindless over consumption, induced and encouraged by a system designed to simultaneously inculcate feelings of personal inadequacy and insecurity and then sell you back a *material* “solution” at a human cost to those at the bottom of the production process, while enriching the billionaires who orchestrate the entire system, all while making you reliant on superficial and unsustainable remedies. Simple.

There is certainly not time or space in this article to comprehensively cover the history of capitalism or colonialism or consumerism in relation to the Climate Crisis. Nor is there the need because thousands of resources are available already, written by people far more knowledgeable and eloquent than myself, both in books you can buy or for free on the internet - and you should definitely read these! (A few of my favourites are in the bibliography below.) Rather, my argument here is that now, in 2022, the need for Climate Activism informed by intersectional environmentalism is not only important but imperative.

The theme of this quarter’s issue is Birth & Origins, and since the language we use is incredibly powerful - influencing the very way we categorise our thoughts and discuss and communicate about the world around us - I want to begin by briefly highlighting how the gendered language used to refer to “Mother Earth” is steeped in patriarchal ideology. The allegorical references to the Earth as a life-giving and maternal force, reflect traditional and pervasive western accounts of women as caregivers and mothers - fine, good, acceptable. However, the allegorical alignment of woman and the Earth is echoed further in terminology relating to environmental exploitation and violence, with phrases like “virgin resources” and “raping the land” serving as testament to the political and physical dominance patriarchal societies have exercised over our Mother Earth over the past centuries. It is from this perspective that an intersectional and feminist approach to Climate Justice offers a solution.

Intersectional environmentalism is similar conceptually to eco-feminism - a term coined in 1974 by Françoise d’Eaubonne - it is simply more explicitly intersectional and inclusive and, thus, more valuable today, since these are two of the most essential pillars in any environmental discussion. Intersectional environmentalism, like ecofeminism, is a practice and perspective, combining and encouraging looking at ecological issues through a feminist lens, and feminist issues from a perspective informed by an awareness of, and in harmony with, our environment, Mother Earth, our origin. One of its most central tenets is the inextricability of social and environmental issues - that the causes of the oppression of women, BIPOC communities and

Mother Earth all originate from the same culprits of patriarchy, capitalism and white- supremacy. Such an environmentalist perspective therefore emphasises the necessity of a collective and intersectional approach towards Climate Activism, and social equality by dismantling these interconnected systems of oppression.

None of this is new however. Indigenous communities have been practicing the alignment of feminist values of respect and equality with how they cultivate the natural environment for centuries. And for the last few decades these same communities, who have contributed the least towards, and are already feeling the worst effects of, the Climate Crisis have been amongst the most staunch proponents of environmentalism. Never has it been more important to elevate and listen to what BIPOC advocates have to say than now. Yet, even in 2021, COP26 was hailed as “the most exclusionary COP ever”, (Meredith, 2021) with around two thirds of the civil society organizations and representatives from the Global South unable to attend due to a combination of visa and vaccine complications. Where world leaders have failed to adequately heed the warnings of Indigenous delegates, we can listen and learn. Here are just a few of hundreds of thousands of excellent campaigners and advocates you might want to follow if you are already interested in learning more:

• COP26 Coalition @cop26coalition
• Friends of the Earth @friends_earth
• The Eco Justice Project @ecojusticeproject
• Chicks for Climate @chicksforclimate
• Impact @impact
• Jhánneu @jhanneu
• Leah Thomas @greengirlleah
• IE @intersectionalenvironmentalist
• Ruth Miller @frompeaksnpinetrees
• Aja Barber @ajabarber
• EcoResolution @ecoresolution
• Survival International @survivalinternational
• Tori Tsui @toritsui_
• CLIMATE IN COLOUR @climateincolour
• Maja Darlington @majalikesgreen
• Curious Earth
• Green New Deal Rising @gndrising
• Greta Thunberg @gretathunberg
• Greenpeace International @greenpeace
• SHIT YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT @shityoushouldcareabout

Indeed, one reason an intersectional environmentalist or ecofeminist perspective is so desperately urgent to reverse the exponential destruction of our origin, our Earth, is because the binaries that characterise Western, traditionally patriarchal, societies are applied to nature too. That is to say that the Global North has developed a dualistic psychology in which ‘us’ - ‘humanity’ - is distinct from ‘nature’. Adrift from our Earth, our origins, it is easy to fall into habits that are actively harmful, though probably entirely unintentional. As Dobscha has written “when two concepts such as nature and humans are separated, hierarchy forms and one is given a higher status than another. In this case, humans dominate nature.” (Dobscha,1993). To disrupt this power structure we need to yield feminist ideologies of equality in our approach to respecting the agency of the Earth itself. Such is the current disconnect between ourselves and the natural world that the same people who are distressed by watching predators catching prey on nature documentaries or are horrified by the thought of hurting an animal themselves, eat the meat of animals bred and killed for their consumption and someone’s profit. This is not to say that eating meat is inherently unsustainable or immoral - as in many areas, Indigenous communities provide the example of conscientious consumption, whereby only what is needed is hunted or harvested from local environments, little is wasted and our collective Mother Earth is respected. Unfortunately, the majority of the Global North’s meat market is not based ‘on values of interdependence, respect for the environment, and ecological sensibility’(Destination Indigenous, 2021), but instead millions of animal lives are conceived, reared, ended, and sold for profit - all at the expense of a vast carbon footprint and vast amounts of food waste (Ira Jain, 2021) in a world where food insecurity is still rampant (FAO, 2021).

Such a generally dualistic outlook also encourages binaries of ‘us’ and ‘them’ within production models, enabling corporations to push down production prices by outsourcing work and circumventing Human Rights regulations. Do you know where what you’re wearing now was made? Or how much it’s maker earned - did you pay a fair price for it? How many times have you worn it? These are all important factors to consider regarding both the protection of both women’s rights - since 80% of the worlds garment makers are women and are commonly paid below a living wage, often as little as $54 a month (Fashion Revolution, 2021) - and the environment, as the fashion industry is one of the world’s highest polluters - through material waste during production (35%), microplastics, and overconsumption resulting in instant disposal (Hill, 2021; Szokan, 2016). As Aja Barber writes in Consumed: “When people say the system is broken, it’s a bit misleading...The system isn’t broken at all. This is exactly how it was built to work - exploitation and destruction of the world’s most marginalised people for the benefit of others” (Barber, 2021). Indeed - it is this same dualistic psychology that, supported by institutional racism, upholds the continued exploitation of BIPOC communities globally through an out of sight out of mind - or ‘Not in my backyard - approach to waste disposal too. In the US alone it is estimated that around 36 billion items of clothing are thrown away each year, ‘95% of which could be recycled or reused’ (ThredUp, 2021). Though nearly everyone globally consumes non-biodegradable waste, the effects of the disposal of such waste affects people disproportionately to their use, according to principles of (yep, you guessed it) patriarchy and white-supremacy. While vast amounts of waste from the Global North are shipped and dumped in the Global South, polluting water sources, damaging essential habitats and toxifying community lands, the same issues determine life quality and outcomes in the Global North too (Zero Waste Cities, 2020). In the US, for example, race is still the biggest indicator of how close you live to toxic waste, and a Black American is three times more likely to die from pollution than a white American. Therefore, as with all feminism, it is imperative that any ecofeminist environmentalism is intersectional.

How then, can we change, not fix, this system, and protect and advocate for women, BIPOC communities and Mother Earth? Intersectional environmentalism and ecofeminism seem a good place to start - primarily through conscious consumption and a critical approach to consumer capitalism. Simply, we need to buy less, make what we have last through care and repair, buy responsibly when we need new things (think local, think ethical, think second hand) and we need to advocate for, and listen to, the most marginalized within the system. Considering the interconnectedness of the exploitation of Mother Earth and her inhabitants, it is imperative that women and feminists of all genders advocate for environmentalist policies.

However, this is more easily said than done when, simultaneously, women are largely responsible for the burden of making sustainable choices as primary shoppers and care-givers, as well as being the prime target of consumer capitalist marketing campaigns. “With women's role as primary caretaker still intact within most segments of society (Ferree 1987; DeVault 1987), women have had to take on an additional role: that of caretaker of the planet.” (Dobscha, 1993). These words were published in 1993, but the Guardian, reporting in 2021, reiterated how little has changed, with 66 percent of girls and women aged 14-24 in the UK reported ‘taking responsibility for the majority of household chores during the pandemic” (Hall, 2021). All the while, women and femme-presenting people are constantly bombarded with advertising and subliminal messaging that imply that they, themselves, as they are, are not enough, but that the right pair of trousers, coat, dress, concealer, phone-case, handbag ( infinitum) will fix this, will fix them.This idea, rooted in neo-liberal consumer capitalism, insists that our flaws are personal but will be fixed by a consumer item - locating issues within the individual and their resolution as an individualistic responsibility rather than a collective societal task. Though this problem is not of our creation, it is our responsibility to break the normalised Western cycle of mindless consumption. I’m not saying the Grinch is a good example, but I’m not saying he’s not. We need to interrogate our daily habits and now! We owe it to each other, our origin, our Mother Earth.

In the words of Elasta-Girl:

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