A Summary of Ecofeminism According to:

Engendering a Peaceful Planet:
Ecology, Economy, and Ecofeminism in Contemporary Context

by Ynestra King

Penelope Howes

According to King, ecofeminism links peace and ecology that strives for “societies free of violence, with nature-friendly technologies and sustainable economies that are respectful of place and culture” (p.15). The author directly links militarism and its effects on the environment surrounding it, including: “its production of weapons and waste in the ecological devastation of war” (p.16). There is a movement in the ecofeminst realm to bring visibility to these issues along with assessing the long-term effects that war has on people and nature.

King refers to this movement as the “ecofeminst theoretical project”, which is divided into four different focuses that all interrelate to one another to gain a comprehensive view of what ecofeminism seeks to uncover and make sense of. The first is, a “critique of modernity as well as capitalism and of the relationship between the two” (p.17). In this element, there is a strong resistance to “sameness”, being the poisoning factor to the evolution of humanity and the environment. The second focus is, to “critique and redefine ‘reason’ and ‘science’ to include ways of knowing other than those of modern Western science” (p.18). This calls attention to the ways in which a “decentralized science” would benefit our understanding of the world around us and shine the light on the important and ever present impacts that militarism has on our “peaceful planet”.

The third is, the “argument for why women worldwide are (often) the source of the knowledge on which the future depends and are therefore subjects of this revolution because of the socially assigned work…” (p.18). This “source of knowledge” is referred to by the author as the “science of the people”, because it is in fact the individual beliefs, experiences, and customs of women that create this greater knowledge that no form of science can embody. This third point is a great example of how feminism and ecology have a direct link to one another. The last focus of the “ecofeminst theoretical project” is by acknowledging “non-violence as a theory and practice of social change” and therefore linking “peace and ecology” (p.18). It is because of this acknowledgement that ecofeminism is able to critique and mobilize at the same time within this social movement.

King also disassociates ecofeminism from “feminist spirituality”, because ecofeminism directs its focus towards politics and does not seclude itself from a wide collective of knowing that feminist spirituality and religion can often do. The author also accounts for the fact that ecofeminism is actively critiquing and challenging the male-dominated ideologies of religion that play out in “social and political arrangements” (p.20). Overall, King offers that social justice, ecology, democracy, and peace are the interlinking qualities that ecofeminism offers in creating change within politics and theory.

King, Y. (1995). Engendering a Peaceful Planet: Ecology, Economy, and Ecofeminism in Contemporary Context. Women’s Studies Quarterly, 23(3/4), 15-21.

Ynestra King — Selected Bibliography:

Dangerous Intersections : Feminist Perspectives on Population, Environment, and Development : A Project of the Committee on Women, Population, and the Environment

What is Ecofeminism?

Rocking the Ship of State : Toward a Feminist Peace Politics