Vegetarian Ecofeminism

  • Posted on: 5 September 2016
  • By: benfell

A first draft for presentation on September 9, 2016 at the Human Science Institute Conference, "Compassion, Connection and Response-Ability," in Salt Lake City. It does not yet respond to my colleagues who will be presenting in the same session:

Draw a picture:

  1. 1) Change from living more or less in harmony with our natural environment to: 

    1. a) seeking but, in the end, failing to achieve domination over it (Oelschlaeger, 1991) with the possible consequence that in failing to adapt to our environment as it is rather than what we wish it to be, we instead go extinct (Curry, 2015; Jamail, 2013; Jones, 2010; Jordan & Goldberg, 2016; Torres & Boghossian, 2016). 

    2. b) developing a system of social organization that: 

      1. i. requires an ever expanding territory and ever more resources, obtained at the expense of indigenous people (Bodley, 2008) 

      2. ii. in which unsustainable exploitation of humans, (non-human animals,) and the environment are intrinsic to that system (Bodley, 2008). 

  2. 2) A system of social organization that: 

    1. a) appears with settled agriculture (Burroughs, 2008), enabling specialization of labor that further supports a larger-scale society and must somehow be coordinated for people to meet both collective and individual needs and therefore rationalize, but not necessarily justify: 

      1. i. market systems of exchange, which exacerbate inequality (Weber, 1978/2010) and excuse inequitable distribution in the guise of “scarcity,” as when we juxtapose vacant homes with homeless and unemployed or underpaid Ph.D.’s with college students who can’t get the classes they need (Baker, 2016; Grabar, 2013; Loha, 2011; Mankiw, 2012; Spinner, 2011; White, 2015) 

      2. ii. authoritarian social structures of domination rather than cooperation (Bodley, 2008; Capra & Luisi, 2014; Diamond, 1999; Eisler, 1987/1995; Lenski, 1966; Slater, 2009) 

    2. b) exploits available differences among humans (de Beauvoir, 1949/2010; Du Bois, 1903/2010; Merton, 1938/2010) to 

      1. i. limit opportunity (Eisler, 2007; Fischer, et al, 1996/2005; Kozol, 1991; McLeod, 1987/2005) 

      2. ii. stigmatize and criminalize the “other,” especially the poor, even within our own society (Gans, 1995, Reiman, 2004

      3. iii. damage individuals, their families, and their communities through incarceration (Drucker, 2011) 

      4. iv. employ people who are often lower and working class people as police and prison guards and thus co-opt them into supporting their own stigmatization (Gans, 1995) 

      5. v. divert attention from oppression 

      6. vi. maintain control (Butler, 1991/2010; Du Bois, 1935/2010) 

  3. 3) A system of animal agriculture that 

    1. a) is an inefficient means of feeding humans and many (probably hundreds of) times more exploitative and destructive than plant-based agriculture (Fox, 2000; Livestock Environment and Development Initiative, 2006; Pimentel & Pimentel, 2003) 

    2. b) expresses extreme inhumanity 

      1. i. toward non-human animals (Bittman, 2012; Pollan, 2007; Singer & Dawn, 2004) 

      2. ii. toward workers working in this industry (Grezo, 2012) 

      3. iii. neighboring, often subaltern, communities (Bullard, Mohai, Saha, & Wright, 2007)

Put it together and we have

  1. 1) inhumanity, exploitation, destruction, and domination of the environment, non-human animals, and humans 

  2. 2) an existential threat to many species on earth (Center for Biological Diversity, n.d.; Curry, 2015; Jamail, 2013) including our own 

  3. 3) a problem that probably cannot be solved with technology because technological development is a part of the pattern that got us where we are and tends to produce other, worse problems (Ellul, 1964; Matutinovié, 2007)



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