The colonization of regenerative sources of the renewal of life is the ultimate ecological crisis: patriarchal science and technology, in the service of patriarchal capitalism, have torn apart cycles of regeneration, and forced them into linear flows of raw materials and commodities. The self-provisioning, self-regenerative systems have been reduced into ‘raw’ material, and consuming systems have been elevated into ‘production’ systems which supply commodities to consumers. The disruption of natural growth cycles becomes the source of capital growth because, as Marilyn Waring has pointed out, the principle of underlying collection of data for the national accounts is to exclude data relating to production where the producer is also the consumer. The destruction of regeneration is not revealed as destruction, instead the multiplication of ‘producers’ and ‘consumers’ and commodities signals growth
Mainstream environmentalists, as manifested in the 1992 Earth Summit, divorced from feminism, continue to use the model of the world designed by capitalist patriarchy. Instead of rebuilding ecological cycles, it focuses on technological fixes. Instead of relocating human activity in regeneration, it maintains the categories of production and consumption, and offers ‘green consumerism’ as an environmental panacea.
The feminist perspective is able to go beyond the categories of patriarchy that structure power and meaning in nature and society. It is broader and deeper because it locates production and consumption within the control of regeneration. Not only does this relate issues that have been so far treated as separate, such as linking production with reproduction, but more significantly by making these links, ecological feminism creates the possibility of viewing the world as an active subject, not merely as a resource to be manipulated and appropriated. It problematizes ‘production’ by exposing the destruction inherent in much of what capitalistic patriarchy has defined as productive and creates new spaces for the perception and experience of the creative act.
The ‘activation; of what has been, or is being constructed as ‘passive’ according to patriarchal perception, becomes then the most significant step in the renewal of life. Overcoming estrangement from nature’s rhythms and cycles of renewal and becoming a conscious participant in them becomes a major source of this activation. Women everywhere are indicating this. Whether it is Barbara McLintock talking of participating in nature’s perennial rhythms, or Itwari Devi describing how shakti (power) comes from forests and grasslands.
That search and experience of interdependence and integrity is the basis for creating a science and knowledge that nurtures, rather than violates, nature’s sustainable systems.”
- Vandana Shiva, Ecofeminism (via eco—femme)