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Nature Environmental Conservation & Protection

Climate Chaos

Ecofeminism and the Land Question

edited by Ana Isla

Inanna Publications & Education Inc.
Initial publish date
Jan 2019
Environmental Conservation & Protection, Women's Studies, Global Warming & Climate Change
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2019
    List Price

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Climate change is already under way with unpredictable consequences. Evidence of changes to the earth's physical, chemical and biological processes is obvious everywhere. Greenhouse gas emissions have increased the carbon cycle concentration in the atmosphere. In the past, half of this carbon was stored in forests, while the other half was removed by oceans, but with deforestation and warming oceans, oxygen is at its lowest breathable point.

Ecological degradation is global and the earth is becoming increasingly inhospitable with unprecedented weather events. The changing temperature has altered the balance of communities and degraded ecosystems. For example, in May 2016, as a result of a drier winter combined with an unusually hot, dry air mass over Northern Alberta, Canada, the temperature climbed to 32.8 °C (91°F) (Daily Data Report) resulting in 49 active wildfires covering an estimated 522,892 hectares. During the summer of 2017, hundreds of wildfires also razed thousands of hectares in the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.

More destructive events due to warmer ocean surface temperatures are also taking place. Warmer oceans hold less dissolved gases, including oxygen, which affects marine organisms, particularly mammals. In January 2014, in Peru's Pacific, more than 400 dolphins washed ashore dead (Foley); similarly, in New Zealand, in February 2017, more than 400 whales had beached themselves to die (Farewell). El Niño, which is a cold, low-salinity ocean current that runs along Ecuador, Peru, and Chile, has been heating and altering weather in all Pacific Rim countries. Each of the El Niño and La Niña cycles in the past twenty years have occurred with increased frequency and violence.

In sum, the latest scientific evidence tell us that we are approaching climate catastrophe: global average temperature is rising, if another decade of business-as-usual fossil fuel emissions continues we can reach 2° C, a dangerous warming threshold.

Climate change deepens ethical issues explored and discussed by ecofeminists around the world. This book describes the academic field of material ecofeminism, provides an overview of the land question, and explores how reigning discourses of "sustainable development" have led to a commodification of nature and have effaced the multiple visions, uses, and relationships of local human communities. The articles in this book are spaces of political projects and values that nurture anticapitalist, antipatriarchal, and anticolonial oppressions. We argue that the centrality of resisting the colonization of Mother Earth and Pachamama is supreme.

About the author

Ana Isla is a professor in the Department of Sociology and the Centre for Women and Gender Studies at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. She works on issues of development, sustainable development, climate change, ecofeminism, environmental justice, gender and society. She is the author of The "Greening" of Costa Rica: Women, Peasants, Indigenous People and the Remaking of Nature.

Claudia von Werlhof is Professor Emerita at the University of Innsbruck, in the Department of Political Science and Sociology. Her work focuses on the "modern world system,"seen from the South, the neoliberal globalization of "capitalist patriarchy," alternatives to patriarchal societies inspired by matriarchal and Indigenous societies/civilizations, as well as on the elaboration of the "Critical Theory of Patriarchy" as a new paradigm. Her books in English include Women: The Last Colony; There is an Alternative; and The Failure of Modern Civilization and the Struggle for a "Deep" Alternative.

Ana Isla's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"At a time when macho politics are intensifying while the basis of survival for most of humanity is being undermined, ecofeminist readings could not be more important in examining the social causes and chaotic consequences of a most pressing and globally destructive process that is capitalism-induced: accelerated climate change. In this edited volume, activist intellectuals from many backgrounds methodically expose the structural intersection of diverse forms of oppression (social as well as beyond) that characterize an always profoundly patriarchal, racist, heteronormative capitalist world disorder that produces the current manifold global predicament. This systematic ecofeminist analysis of the linkage between climate change and intersecting oppressions is long overdue. This is not only because it facilitates a holistic understanding of climate change that continues to be largely omitted in the mainstream and wilfully absent or attacked in re-emergent violent groupings of oppression supporters. This book provides essential guidance to those who take seriously the need to combine social justice with ecologically constructive existence. It re-introduces and further develops immediately practicable alternatives that ecofeminists have been formulating for decades and, as much as feasible, putting into action."
-Salvatore Engel-Di Mauro, Associate Professor, SUNY New Paltz; Editor, Capitalism Nature Socialism

"In this analytically astute and politically grounded book, American ecofeminism matures beyond academic critique to find its own transnational voice."
-Ariel Salleh, activist and scholar, co-editor of Pluriverse: The Post-Development Dictionary

"This collection provides a sharp focus on the severe ecological problems of the 21st century. An ecofeminist perspective casts a novel light on the politics of climate change. These politics that have created conditions for the exploitation of people, the oppression of women, and the expropriation and destruction of Indigenous people's land and bodies. Authors offer an alternative framework to transition to a new world."
-June Corman, Brock University, St. Catharines