Sacred Custodians of the Earth? Women, Spirituality, and the Environment

Sacred Custodians of the Earth? Women, Spirituality, and the Environment

Sacred Custodians of the Earth? Women, Spirituality, and the Environment

Sacred Custodians of the Earth? Women, Spirituality, and the Environment

Synopsis

Literature on women, development and environment is abundant. The relationship between women and ecology has been analyzed by various disciplines, by specialists from the North as well as the South. This book offers a new perspective, specifically to challenge the assumption that women have a special affinity with the Earth and therefore a historic mission for the care of the environment. The book explores spiritual, religious and philosophical beliefs concerning women and ecology, and whether women are truly "sacred custodians" of the Earth. This concept has evolved from ideas developed by eco-feminists. Whether and how different belief systems can be put to use to create an awareness to protect, preserve and improve ecological conditions is discussed. The collection of papers demonstrates the complexity of the issues and the variations and vulnerability of the assumed relationship between women and the environment in different cultural and political contexts. The book challenges policy solutions which are devised to be on a global scale and to create unrealistic global aspirations, and the value of targeting women in a particular attempt to achieve environmentally sustainable development.

Excerpt

This volume is the result of a two-day international workshop organized by the editors at the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research on Women at Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford, in June 1996.

The book explores connections between spirituality and the environment, and the role of women within this context. The choice of the title is a response to the new feminist movements which link women with spirituality and the sacred, and which are having an increasing influence on environmental thinking and planning. It is also in tune with the rapidly growing interest over the past three decades in environmental issues on a global scale (Brundtland Report, 1987), women’s issues (UN Decade of Women) and the emphasis being placed on the importance of the role played by women in the use and protection of natural resources. Literature on women and their relationship with the environment is abundant, and this has been analysed from different perspectives in various disciplines by specialists from the developed and developing world. The convenors therefore set the premise of the workshop at a different level, namely to explore some of the major spiritual, religious and philosophical views and beliefs concerning women and the environment. The participants questioned how these belief systems affect behaviour, and whether they can be put to use to create an awareness among people of the need to protect, preserve and enhance the environment. Central to the discussion was the consideration of how women are viewed in various spiritual and religious ideologies in relation to the environment and the community, and whether in reality they occupy the place accorded to them by post-modernist thinking, as well as by many policy-makers and planners. The contributors aimed to explore whether women were ‘innately’ connected to nature because of their responsibility in the daily management of natural resources, and whether women manage and exploit the environment more sensitively than men. We also set out to assess whether any . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.