Queer Ecological Feminism; my perspective.
Through watching Queer Eye on Netflix, I took notice of the role intersectionality plays – how a minority group combine effort to help uplift people’s lives. The show’s concept demonstrates the interconnectedness of people undergone subjugation due to their gender identity and sexual orientation, the lengths to which they empathise with others. This interconnectivity is shown by the effects of climate change on minority groups and the measures they have taken in trying to solve it. The Queer Ecological Feminist Movement described as the third wave of feminism, as mentioned in my previous piece, intersects nature, biology and sexuality (Osanjo, 2020). The third wave is paying more emphasis on minority rights. It carries with it disciplines such as Ecofeminism, environmental justice, queer geography, queer theory, social justice and human rights in general. The term Queer – is the umbrella term that replaces the word ‘homosexual’ by giving respect; according to them, it is described as a liberation term against the normative life (Cheves, 2019). Queer ecology subscribes to the feminist economy of ridding of gender binary laws that go against their own and nature’s well being. In the advocacy pursuit for environmental justice, Ecofeminism, a branch of queer ecology has been questioned for its inclusivity abilities.
The Ecofeminist termed by Francoise d’Eaubonne describes the movement as a framework that combines, reexamines and augment the environment and feminist movement (Is Ecofeminism still relevant?, 2019). It gives significance to the oppression of women and the destruction of the environment, through exploring – the hierarchal value thinking and opposition dualism. In the value hierarchal thought, where other cultures have dominion and privilege than other groups, while the latter subscribes to the difference between men and women – men have power over both nature and women. The reference to women using animal names that indirectly demonstrate superiority. The explanation of the violence towards both variables via channels such as technology ( revenge porn and other forms of cyberbullying), domesticity(denial of the right to have employment) and slavery (sex and drug trafficking). However, Ecofeminism has not had the best reception so far, Dorceta E. Taylor, an environmental sociologist scholar, points out that Ecofeminism fails to account for race, disabilities and class. Furthermore, she points out that the movement does not favour intersectionalities within the female gender just women in general, negating the different categories of women and their cultures.
On the contrary, the Queer Ecological Feminist Movement bares with it an intersectional framework in the pursuit of environmental justice. According to Our Climate Change, it examines the premise that food security and toxic waste affect social and cultural marginalised communities; LGBTQIA+, women, people of colour, people living with HIV/AIDS and the poor who cannot afford necessities. The frameworks for the movement advocate for inclusion and the various methods of domination; ageism, racism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, classism, etc., affect them. Similar to the Green World’s sentiment, this category of feminism seeks to dismantle to the concepts of dualism and hierarchal thinking via dismantling patriarchal, capitalistic systems. The idea of formulating a net-zero society that is gender-sensitive with ‘queer environmentality’ (E. Anderson, et al., 2012). Queer ecology feminism advocates for sustainable environmental, food justice as climate change has affected the global food basket and caused inflation. Thus, the influence of permaculture in agriculture; a holistic living-in-harmony-with-nature approach that dwells on the principles of no waste production, use and value renewable resources, observes and interact to catch and store (Waddington, 2019).
A Gendered Climate.
Climatic changes have a gender binary perception with social and cultural factors that influence the rise in carbon emissions, depletion of the ozone layer, reduced global food basket, deforestation etc. (Climate change is not gender neutral, 2019). According to Zentouro, climate change is not neutral, the most vulnerable group being women of all sexual orientations and gender identities depending on their location, age, level of education and class, to name of few. In the Queer Ecological point of view, women, especially transwomen, are mostly affected by the pay gap, especially in agriculture. The NewSecurityBeat, mentions that women in the agricultural sectors encounter gender-specific hindrances due to low farming infrastructure, limited productive resources, lack of financial support and limited access to information, hence high literacy levels amongst women (Furr, 2011). The agricultural pay gap, a socio-economic issue, is prevalent amongst women, especially those with low-quality education – education on approved agricultural yields and financial literacy. Education services for women from low-income households, higher education to be precise has a domino effect on climate change. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) mention that girls who stay in school are able to cater to their families and agricultural best practices, via productive resources and services (“The Female Face of Farming”, 2020). The economic outcomes associated with women being the backbone of the rural providence are the improved health outcomes, especially surrounding improved infant mortality and family planning – all of this catalyse the reduction in the global carbon footprint. Moreso, information on family planning needs to be voluntary for women themselves to choose what and how they want to plan for their families (Climate change is not gender neutral, 2019).
As the problems are human-made, the solutions are feminist.
Nature is political.
Queer Ecological Feminism advocates for women of all gender types to be involved in climate and environmental policymaking. Through questioning the patriarchal power structures that prevent women from participation in agriculture and climate action talks; representation should be given to women falling under the queer-eco movement. Numerous decisions are made by white men who are not affected by intersectional problems, instead, benefit from them. In the net-zero campaign aforementioned, in the words of Green Politics, We need to challenge bloated petrochemical masculinities that are hindering a just transition (Metcalf, 2020). A homonormative approach in the politics of climate change might be the new frontier to future climate agreements and human rights. For eco-queer feminists the abandonment and neglect, misuse and over-industrialisation of land put marginalised communities under threat; exposure to harmful chemicals, landslides, erosion and exposure to radioactive substances.
In the promotion of queer-eco feminism, storytelling could be an avenue explored to raise awareness on the benefits of the movement, including the benefits of permaculture. For instance, discussions on food via podcast sessions could be an incorporation of human rights violations from climate change and the essentials of a balanced diet. More literature recordings for analysis and more feminists need to speak up about the benefits of the environmental movement (Sbbica, 2012).
The Queer Ecology Feminist movement, however, minute still has potential to improve the lives of people of colour, women, people with HIV/AIDS and the poor. It will not just be beneficial for queer persons but significant populations of minority groups. Some concepts of Ecofeminism could be borrowed and altered, but the underline objective of this advocacy movement is the amplification of environmental justice. Queer politics and ecological politics merge two societies that are codependent on one another for survival – sexual reproductive rights being a fundamental influence. Environmental rights are human rights; everyone, not just the privileged, should experience the right to live in clean spaces. As it is, environmental justice and social justice affect the socio-economic atmosphere of a society.
Cheves, A. (2019). 9 LGBTQ+ People Explain How They Love, Hate, And Understand The Word “Queer”. them. Retrieved 8 May 2020, from https://www.them.us/story/what-does-queer-mean.
E. Anderson,, J., Azzarello,, R., Brown, G., Hogan, K., Brent Ingram, G., J. Morris, M., & Stephens, J. (2012). Queer ecology: A roundtable discussion [Ebook] (3rd ed., p. 22). European Journal of Ecopsychology. Retrieved 8 May 2020, from https://sustainableunh.unh.edu/sites/sustainableunh.unh.edu/files/images/Anderson_et_al_Queer_ecology_-_A_roundtable_discussion.pdf.
Furr, K. (2011). Women in Agriculture: Closing the Gender Gap for Development and World Hunger. New Security Beat. Retrieved 8 May 2020, from https://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2011/06/women-in-agriculture-closing-the-gender-gap-for-development-and-world-hunger/.
Metcalf, K. (2020). International Women’s Day 2020: Why is climate justice a feminist issue?. Green World. Retrieved 8 May 2020, from https://greenworld.org.uk/article/international-womens-day-2020-why-climate-justice-feminist-issue.
Osanjo, S. (2020). Where Climate and queerness Intersect; Human Rights. – ALU Global Focus. Aluglobalfocus.com. Retrieved 8 May 2020, from https://aluglobalfocus.com/where-climate-and-queerness-intersect-human-rights/.
Our Climate Change. (2019). Is Ecofeminism still relevant? [Video].
Sbbica, J. (2012). Eco-queer movement(s)Challenging heteronormative space through (re)imagining nature and food [Ebook] (p. 14). Retrieved 8 May 2020, from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/271527827_Eco-queer_movements_Challenging_heteronormative_space_through_reimagining_nature_and_food.
The Female face of Farming. (2020). Retrieved 8 May 2020, from http://www.fao.org/gender/resources/infographics/the-female-face-of-farming/en/.
Waddington, E. (2019). The 12 Principles of Permaculture: A Way Forward – ethical.net. ethical.net. Retrieved 8 May 2020, from https://ethical.net/ethical/permaculture-principles/.zentouro. (2019). Climate change is not gender neutral [DVD].