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Details the successful struggle of people in Papua New Guinea to defend their commons. ... 97% of the land is still traditional commons land. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Ecofeminism

Ecofeminism Poverty
Ecofeminism Povery
Alexis, Joyce, Blair, Christine
1.0 Alexis - Definitions of Ecofeminism and
Poverty 2.0 Joyce - Nature, Women
Poverty 3.0 Blair - Capitalist Corporations
4.0 Christine - Solutions Case Study
What is Ecofeminism?
What is Ecofeminism? - A pluralistic,
nonhierarchical, relationship-oriented
philosophy - suggests how humans could
reconceive themselves and their relationships
to nature in nondominating ways - alternative
to patriarchal systems of domination.
What is Poverty? - the experience of extreme
lack of basic needs
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The Poverty Line - Defining a poverty line is
necessary to analyze poverty - One example of
an absolute poverty line is the World Bank's
extreme poverty line of 1 U.S. per day
Absolute poverty - So-called "absolute" poverty
lines embody community norms and standards
Relative poverty - argues that to be poor is
to have to go without what is needed to be a
"creditable" member of society - Key social
outcomes such as health and literacy are
closely linked to the relative incomes of
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Relative poverty - The main point is that
virtually all measures of poverty
are relative.
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All measures of poverty, whether they are based
on income or a basket of goods and services,
access to clean water, or the ownership of land
and cows, are also arbitrary, at least to some
A quarter of humanity lives in a state of
absolute poverty. A quarter of the worlds
population are unable to find enough food to lead
an active life
2.0 Nature, Women Poverty
- Nature - Women - Poverty A family from the
2.0 Nature, Women Poverty
Nature, Women The shrinking gap between women
of the North and women of the South
Nature, Women Poverty Children's Poverty
Nature, Women Poverty Children's
Poverty Children of the North - school snack
programs Children of the South - some lucky to
have one meal a day
Nature is depleted, a victim
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Nature is depleted, a victim South, example -
Rwanda's exports were coffee and tea -
destruction of the land during the genocide in
the 1990s - the people were unable to produce
crops and sustain themselves (SOCI 3P47,
Professor John Sorenson)
Nature is depleted, a victim Pollution - The
north uses the south to produce goods for the
itself - We have factories polluting our own
backyard, in Hamilton - A factory in the South...
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Women - Costs to the system for women include
alcoholic rehabilitation centres, abuse
shelters - contributions by women to the
economy are not included in GNP
The Iceberg Model shows the patriarchy, and the
invisible and invisible parts of GNP
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The Iceberg Model shows the patriarchy, and the
invisible and invisible parts of GNP -The
problem is that the base is shrinking, not in
size but in the ability to sustain the small
triangle at the top
The Iceberg Model The patriarchal elite in the
top triangle have not noticed these resources
are shrinking because they do not acknowledge
that the base is supporting them
Womens Work Women's Movements
Labour A Personal Experience - A farm kid -
A factory worker - A secretary/word processor -
A Brock student with a part-time job in
Labour - Personal Experience - minimum wage
worker in sweat shop had surgery, returned
to work before ready, within two weeks
(needed as full a paycheque to pay bills) -
Employment Insurance sick benefit cheque took
eight weeks to receive too little, too late
(needed to pay mortgage and feed family now,
so returned to work)
Womens Work - Personal Experience - if this was
the U.S. the medical cost would have been
tremendous - if we are unable to work and unable
to pay our bills ... it is possible we
could become homeless - women of the South have
a more difficult existence with fewer choices
and access to less resources
Women and Nature - Womens Movements - the
1960's - In the U.S. protests against giant
nuclear corporations - Northern India tree
hugging protests against loggers
3.0 Capitalism Corporations
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The capitalist creed
1.There is no development w/out economic
growth 2. A growing national income automaticall
y trickles down to benefit all members of
society 3. the integration of local and
national economies in the world economy is a
blessing to everybody
4. The liberalization of international
trade enables every nation to make the best use
of its comparative advantages in the
international division of labor. 5. The
liberalization of international capital flows
results in a better allocation of the means of
production 6. Technological innovation
will compensate for the ecological flaws of the
present production system.
7. Private property rights are not only the best
system to deal with scarcity, but also suit
human nature better than any other
system. 8. The direct involvement of the
nation- state in economic life always
results in inefficiency and corruption.
Women, Labor and Nature - Capitalist
Exchange-values ( m gt c gt m'
) - Women as commodities
Women, Labor and Nature - Capitalist
Exchange-values ( m gt c gt m'
) - Women as commodities
Women as 'natural resources' - 'free labor'
given by women - Women are not treated
like humans in the Capitalist Patriarchy, instea
d they are considered 'natural resources'
Women as 'natural resources' - Feminine
marginalization globally as presented by U.N.
figures shows that "for women own less than 1
of all property and do two-thirds of
the world's work for 5 of all wages paid."
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'Us' and 'Them' - Attitudes in the North
towards the South - Exploitation -
Women as a common
Assumptions in the woman/nature debate
(capital's discursive armour) 1. An artifical
distinction between "history" and
"nature". 2. An assumption that men are
active historical "subjects" and women passive
Assumptions in the woman/nature debate (capital's
discursive armour) 3. An assumption that
historical action is necessarily "progressive"
and activities grounded in nature necessarily
"regressive". 4. An association of masculinity
with the historical order through
"production" and association of feminity with
the order of nature through "reproduction"
Assumptions in the woman/nature debate (capital's
discursive armor) 5. "Valorization" of
productive activity and "devalorization" of
"Capitalism manages to obscure this historical
dimension by the sheer force of its ideological
machine - such that people actually do come to
believe reality is striated in this way, and
universally so" (Salleh, 116)
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4.0 Solutions, Case Study, and
Solutions - Improve basic health care - Invest
in education - Bring power - Boosting
Agriculture - Providing clean water and
The Big Five Interventions - Raise the voice of
the poor - Promote sustainable development -
Harness global science - Strengthen the United
The Big Five interventions - continued - Rescue
the International Monetary Fund and the World
Bank - Redeem the U.S. role in the world -
Personal commitment
Health Leprosy, Aids, and Medicine
Case Study the successful struggle of people in
Papua New Guinea to defend their commons
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Case Study Details the successful struggle of
people in Papua New Guinea to defend their
commons. The World Bank and IMF have imposed
structural adjustment programmes to Papua New
Guinea as well as other indebted countries of the
south in order to repay its debt to the World
Bank and other foreign banks.
Case Study - continued The WB and IMF wanted
access to the communal land of the clans because
they wanted to start oil palm plantations, search
for minerals or gain access to tropical timber.
The communities wanted to hold onto their
customary communal rights and use of the land for
the preservation of their livelihoods, culture
and language.
Case Study - continued 97 of the land is still
traditional commons land. There are approximately
869 distinct languages linked to tribes in P.N.G.
In addition, 85 of the population lives in
rural areas and have access to the benefits of
the land.
Case Study - continued The other 5 live in
towns and 10 live in urban shanty settlements
however, they can return anytime to their
ancestral areas of land. (Because of this
system, hunger, homelessness and unemployment
are virtually unknown)
Case Study - continued Other countries, in the
name of development, have created landless,
homeless, hungry paupers desperate to sell their
bodies and their work at any price. The
government in P.N.G. tried to sell the land
reform to the people as land mobilization or
freeing the land in the name of development and
Case Study - continued The government tried to
disempower the local communities however, these
communities recognized that the government could
not protect their interests and their
livelihoods. It is also evident that
Western-style capitalist entrepreneurship cannot
develop if the land remains under communal
control of the people.
Case Study continued Financial institutions do
not commit money to enterprises on communal land.
Communities band together to resist
privatization and enclosure of the
commons. Historically, communities developed a
system of survival to sustain life without the
intervention of international institutions.
Case Study continued Concerned Papua New
Guineans, NGOs, student unions and churches
issued a protest movement that began in July,
1995. Women were extremely active in this
movement, as there were matrilineal clans that
were encouraged not to give up their customary
land rights.
Case Study continued The people defended their
communal land rights because they believed in a
different concept of development, based on
subsistence and autonomy rather than on growth
and global trade. On July 19, 1995, the prime
minister of Papua New Guinea withdrew the Land
Mobilisation Act.
Case Study continued On July 19, 1995, the
prime minister of Papua New Guinea withdrew the
Land Mobilisation Act. This demonstrates that the
World Bank, IMF and even local governments are
helpless if communities stick to the principle
Solutions The social and economic aspect of the
commons has become invisible.
Solutions The commons formed part of moral
economies within which everybody belonging to the
community had customary rights and could find the
means to produce his/her own survival. The
social and economic aspect of the commons has
become invisible. The reduction of nature to a
mere resource destroys the commons
Solutions Subsistence requires that people,
particularly women, stop devaluing their own
work, culture and power.
This devaluation is maintained by the notion of a
catch-up development where the promise that
eventually all colonised people at the bottom of
the social pyramid will reach the level of those
on top. This catch-up development is a
myth. There is a link between wealth and
progress of one pole and poverty and regression
of the other pole.
Subsistence perspective People who share a
subsistence perspective do not expect social
changes from agencies from outside and above
them. They are aware of their own power and can
act as individuals and a community
Subsistence perspective Subsistence production
stands in contrast to commodity and surplus value
production. For subsistence production, the aim
is life while for commodity production the aim is
money and capital. Three attributes of
subsistence are independence, self-sufficiency
and self-reliance as in cultural identity.
Main Features of a new subsistence
paradigm 1) There would be change in the
sexual division of labour men would do as
much unpaid work as women. 2) Instead of wage
work, independent self-determined socially and
materially useful work would be at the centre of
the economy. 3) Subsistence production would
have priority over commodity production.
Moral Characteristics of subsistence
technology 1) Technology must be used as a tool
to enhance life, nurture and share.
2) Technology should not dominate nature but
to cooperate. 3) The economy should respect the
limits of nature. 4) The economy must serve the
core-life system. 5) It is a decentralised,
regional economy. 6) The goal of a subsistence
economy is to support the subsistence society in
the production and regeneration of life on
the planet as a whole.
How would trade and markets be different? 1) Loca
l and regional markets would serve local needs.
2) The primary function of local markets would
be to satisfy the subsistence needs of
all. 3) Local markets would also preserve
the diversity of products and resist cultural
homogenisation. 4) Long-distance trade would
not be used for meeting subsistence needs.
5) Trade would not destroy biodiversity. 6) Money
would be a means of circulation but cease to be
a means of accumulation.
Ecofeminists reject the idea that necessary
labor is a burden to be passed on to nature
through technology. Equally, they reject a
strategy of partnership with the union movement
in an unviable economy. Maria Mies calls for a
notion of labour as pleasure and challenge.
Most ecofeminists look forward to
self-sufficient, decentralized relations of
production, where men and women work together in
joy and reciprocity with external nature, no
longer alienated or diminished by a gendered
division of labor and international accumulation.

Ecofeminism is about a transvaluation of
values in particular, it is about listening
differently to the voices of women who love and
labor now.
Sources Mies, M., Vandana, S. Ecofeminism.
(1993.) Zed Books, Fernwood Publications,
Halifax, Nova Scotia. Salleh, Ariel. Nature,
Woman, Labour, Capital living the deepest
contradiction. Chapter 6 from Is Capitalism
Sustainable? (1995). Zed Books,
London. Professor John Sorensen, SOCI 3P47,
Brock University, St. Catharines, ON (2005).
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