Ecofeminism makes debut at panel discussion

Students learned how environmentalism and feminism related to each other during a panel discussion on ecofeminism Tuesday night.

The panel discussion, co-sponsored by the TCU Women’s Network and the Latina sorority Sigma Lambda Alpha, addressed questions about environmental sustainability and the role of women in sustainability.

Stephanie Eady, an environmental science lecturer, defined the term.

“To me, ecofeminism is trying to address … equality across gender lines as well as trying to address equality with respect to environmental issues,” Eady said.

The connection between environmentalism and feminism might be difficult to see, sociology professor Keith Whitworth said.

“We are oppressing Mother Earth … we can take another twist and say that we are a patriarchal society … and that females are oppressed in our society,” Whitworth said.

For example, women in less developed countries who worked to dismantle electronic devices that contain mercury subjected themselves and their unborn babies to high levels of mercury poisoning, Whitworth said.

Teresa Moss, director of the Monnig Meteorite Gallery, said some costume jewelry that women purchase in the U.S. contains high amounts of lead. The materials used to produce the jewelry in China originated from the materials from the electronic waste that had been dismantled – materials such as lead, Moss said.

Aside from the feminist aspect of ecofeminism, students should also be concerned with going green. Moss said the environment would not always stay in the same condition because resources are limited. The continuation of the enormous consumption patterns of the western world could be detrimental, Moss said.

“We are on a course of what I would say is disaster,” Moss said. “At some point, technology is not going to be able to compensate for the number of people we have on the planet and for our consumption pattern. We’re going to have to change.”

The standard of living experienced today could deteriorate within the next 20 to 30 years because resources have been misused, Whitworth said.

With the environment in jeopardy, Eady offered simple solutions to the problem. Using reusable grocery bags, washing clothes in cold water, turning off the lights, using the plastic water bottles distributed by the university and walking instead of driving across campus could help preserve the environment on a local level, Eady said.