New Perspectives on Environmental Justice: Gender, Sexuality, and Activism

New Perspectives on Environmental Justice: Gender, Sexuality, and Activism

New Perspectives on Environmental Justice: Gender, Sexuality, and Activism

New Perspectives on Environmental Justice: Gender, Sexuality, and Activism

Synopsis

Rachel Stein is professor of English and director of women's and multicultural studies at Siena College in New York. She is the author of Shifting the Ground: American Women Writers' Revisions of Nature, Gender and Race, and is coeditor of The Environmental Justice Reader: Politics, Poetics, and Pedagogy.

Excerpt

Our bodies are a mirror of our mother, and of Mother Earth. And so we walk, healthy, beautiful, vibrant, voluptuous through the minefield of industrialism! It is a minefield of toxic chemicals and of toxic sexual images that poison and entrap our bodies. It is a minefield of laws that justify taking and destroying all that is beautiful, pristine, all that is the integrity of life. It is a minefield of laws that take control even of our own bodies themselves.

The stories on these pages chronicle the link between struggles for environmental justice and struggles for human dignity. In the faces and struggles of these activists, we find the stories of the sacred mother, our Zuni sacred site (recently saved from a coal strip mine), Celilo Falls (falls of a woman's hair), the White Buffalo Calf Woman (who must watch the demise of the Buffalo Nation, and subsequently the Buffalo people), and we see and feel the story of Water; the most sacred of our medicines, our women's medicines. And we know that as each natural element is challenged, transformed, or contaminated, our bodies too will be impacted, our breast milk contaminated, and our children's future darkened.

So it is that we become Ogitchidaakwewag: women who defend the people, women who stand for the Earth. It is because we as women understand our bodies are this mirror, and our lives are intertwined, and depend on the greatest mother of all, Mother Earth.

WINONA LADUKE

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