Paper Conservation in the Workplace

Paper Conservation in the Workplace

by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Live thy Life,
Young and old,
Like yon oak,
Bright in spring,
Living gold;

Then; and then
Gold again.

All his leaves
Fall’n at length,
Look, he stands,
Trunk and bough
Naked strength.

I am the Director of Technology at an organization. One of my responsibilities is to ensure efficient and effective use of our resources. My goal is to reduce the amount of paper that my organization is using on an annual basis. I will do this by developing a plan which takes into consideration:

*Using technology to reduce paper consumption

*Educating employees in ways to conserve paper use and why?

*Developing verifiable goals which can track both economic and environmental gains and impact

The “Tree Killer” AKA Networked Printer
Most best practices to reduce office paper fall into three main categories:

Electronic instead of paper documents

  • Distribute reports and memos electronically
  • Scan incoming paperwork and store all documents on a network rather than in filing cabinets.
  • Switch to electronic forms such as timesheets, purchase orders, and incident reports.
  • Print on-demand rather than stockpiling paper documents like letterhead and newsletters that will become outdated.
  • E-mail documents rather than faxing them, or fax them electronically from your computer instead of using hard copies. Search the Internet to find an electronic fax service that meets the needs of your organization.
  • Avoid printing e-mails and web pages; file them on a hard drive not in a filing cabinet.
  • Practices that Use Less Paper:  Learn about tried-and-true paper saving practices, and how to put them in place at your organization.
  • Reusing single sided print-outs, envelopes and other paper products

    • Use paper that has printing on only one side and is blank on the other in a designated “draft” copier, printer, or paper tray.
    • Reuse manila envelopes for internal mailings.
    • Use outdated letterhead for in-house memos.

History Of Paper Making

Historical evidence indicates that the Chinese were the first society to develop a method to make pulp. Archaeologists indicate that the most ancient pieces of paper ever collected were from China from the 2nd century BCE. One of the people credited with the development of papermaking in China was Cai Lun, a eunuch in the court of the Han Dynasty. Although the process of making paper traces its roots to the Chinese, it was refined by Islamic societies who came up with machines to make vast amounts of paper. Today, China and the United States are the largest pulp and paper producers in the world.

Trees and the Production of Paper

The paper and pulp industry utilizes a variety of industrial processes to turn its natural resources (namely wood pulp) into consumer-grade commodities. There are two main methods of producing paper; a manual process, and a machine dependent process. Regardless of the process used in the manufacturing of the paper, the pulp is an essential component. In the making of pulp, a significant number of trees are cut down. The main consideration in determining the number of trees that are cut down is whether the pulp mill relies on a chemical or a mechanical pulping process. Industry experts indicate that while using the chemical pulping to produce 1 ton of printing paper approximately 24 trees are required. The 24 trees would have to be a combination of softwoods and hardwoods each about 40 feet tall with a diameter of roughly 6-8 inches. It is believed that the chemical pulping process, often referred to as the Kraft pulping process, is highly inefficient due to a large number of trees used in making a ton of paper. The mechanical pulping process is exceptionally more efficient than the Kraft pulping process since it uses fewer trees to make one ton of paper. The mechanical pulping process utilizes 12 trees which are a mixture of hardwood and softwood.

The Environmental Impact of Paper

The papermaking process has been criticized extensively by environmentalists since it contributes to pollution. Papermaking has an impact on the environment because it destroys trees in the process. According to data from the Global Forest Resource Assessment roughly 80,000 to 160,000 trees are cut down each day around the world with a significant percentage being used in the paper industry. The major impact of the constant deforestation is the change in global climatic patterns. Apart from deforestation, the paper manufacturing industry also contributes to air pollution. In the United States, paper industries accounted for roughly 20% of the air pollution in 2015. Paper manufacturing also contributes significantly to water pollution. In 2015, the Canadian government estimated that the nation’s paper industry accounted for 5% of the waste disposed into the nation’s waterways. Data indicates that the production of 1 ton of paper contaminates nearly 20,000 gallons of water.

Importance Of Recycled Paper

Recycled paper was created to reduce the environmental impact of paper manufacturing. Paper can be recycled about 5 to 7 times. Data indicates that using one ton of recycled paper can prevent 17 trees from being cut down.

Paper is arguably one of the most important items that human society has ever invented as it contributed significantly to later technological advancements. In the process of making paper, trees are the most critical raw materials. It is estimated that 24 trees to make 1 ton of standard office paper.

Financial Costs:

The costs of using paper inefficiently in the workplace are too significant to be ignored. The expenses from supplies such as toner and paper, as well as equipment maintenance can add up fast. More significant is all the staff time wasted adjusting printers and copiers, filing documents, and then trying to find them again—often just to throw them away. Some findings from productivity research studies:

  • Inefficient use of printers, copiers, and fax machines can waste between 1 and 3 percent of company revenue annually.
  • For every dollar spent on copying, companies incur another $6 in handling and distribution, and half of all documents printed are thrown away within 24 hours
  • An average of 17% of everything printed is considered waste.

 Environmental Costs:

Using less paper can save your organization money and can also help with several environmental problems. Of all trees harvested for industrial use, 42% go to making paper. The pulp and paper industry is also the largest industrial user of water, the biggest water polluter, and the third largest emitter of global warming pollution in most industrialized nations .

If you have to print:

    • Only print pages you need.
    • Increase margins and reduce font size.
    • Printing in black and white is preferable; color toner is more expensive and has a greater environmental impact than black.
    • Set printers to default to double-sided.
    • Use print preview to avoid printing unnecessary pages.
    • Print multiple pages per sheet
    • To save costs on toner/ink, consider fonts that use less ink, such as Century Gothic or Garamond.
    • Recycle the Toner

Paperless Express:  This comprehensive and easy to follow guide provides tips and tools for office workers and managers in business, government, and other organizations. You will find steps to reduce paper at your desk, in the mail room, by using technology, and in many other ways.

Many Different Women, One Common Goal…

….To Save the Mother Earth

El Artista Online | Visionary art, Psychedelic artwork, Female art painting (

Ecofeminism grew out of various social movements in the 1970s in the early 1980s including feminist ecological and peace movements ecofeminist Karen Warren is quoted as writing: “Nature is a Feminist Issue”. The material deprivations as well as the cultural losses have a significant impact on the marginalized populations throughout the world, impacting women at higher rate than men. 

Ivone Gebara in Ecofeminism: A Latin American Perspective “the question that lies at the heart of most of this is why having now conditions to be emancipated and freer are we developing new forms of barbarism including religious barbarism”? We are highly developed in technology and highly regressive in human ethics and values.

Dr. Gebara spoke about three points: 1) ecofeminism as an echo of feminism   2) beyond theology and 3) a new utopia for our time. I believe that feminism cannot be tempted by masculine and competitive theories which are in love with themselves without searching for structural reform theories and actions towards justice we need to go beyond competition to make possible another world. Ecofeminism’s mission to help save the children but helping to save the world. As an example, in Recife, Brazil there are children literally swimming in garbage. Almost 6,500 children live in the slums. The garbage is so overwhelming that the children try and swim through it to collect aluminum cans to sell to a recycling company. The city of Recife itself is a well-known, high end, tourist destination. 

The Chipko movement in India Sunderlal Bahuguna, an eco-activist made an appeal to Mrs. Ghandi to ban the cutting of trees. He shouted, “ecology is the permanent economy”. was organized in the 1970’s as a nonviolent way to bring attention to the protection of trees. The work Chipko means “embrace”. The villagers would “hug” the trees to prevent them from being felled.  

Embrace the trees and 
Save them from being felled; 
The property of our hills, 
Save them from being looted.’ 

A counterpart to Bahuguna in India, is Wangari Maathai in Kenya. She founded the Greenbelt movement in 1977 to plant trees across Kenya, alleviate poverty and end conflict. Behind Wangari Maathai’s motivation was a strong connection between the environmental degradation and poverty and conflict. “Poor people will cut the last tree to cook the last meal she once said the more you degrade the environment the more you dig deeper into poverty.” Maathai. Under her leadership Kenyans planted more than 30 million trees most of which were planted by women the result is that almost 1,000,000 Kenyan women benefited from this campaign for reforestation. 

The Yoke of Christ: December 2010

Prolific the Rapper’s call to action slogan is Our existence is our Resistance”. 

“what is fossil fuel? 

Continued destruction nothing new  

 live in a system  

Taking our children  

Sifting their feelings  

 till nothing’s true new line I had that money in front of me but I left it because oil money’s dirty if my mother gets disrespected, we’re disconnected these times are hectic and feeling heavy but we still love all things living and suffer from many. 




INTERSECTIONALITY “No one is free until we are all free” Dr. M.L. King Jr.

Intersectionality is directly correlated to all types of oppression. Oppression is described as the force that allows, through the power of norms and systems, the unjust treatment or control of people. Intersectionality shows us that social identities work on multiple levels, resulting in unique experiences, opportunities, and barriers for each person It is the study of overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination. Some of the aspects that are considered are biological, social and cultural categories such as gender, race, class, ability, sexual orientation, religion, caste, age, nationality and other sectarian axes of identity interact on multiple and often simultaneous level. The ecofeminist intersectionality movement brings together notions of feminism and environmentalism in order to find effective solutions against all types of oppressive behaviors …

There are three main aspects to intersectionality theory that should be considered.

1. Intersectionality theory viewed at the micro or individual level, i

This is a way to help identify people are where they may be oppressed by category. The diagram below helps to clarify this theory. People are very likely to be both an oppressor and the oppressed based on their individual and unique characteristics and circumstances.

2. Intersectionality is also a framework for analysis. This takes a more generic approach to analyzing intersectionality. Some of the categories would be race, financial status, marriage, sexual orientation as well as media stereotypes which help to influence public opinion.

3. Intersectionality as Praxis: Social Justice Movements

In “The Ecology of Feminist and the Feminism of Ecology” (1989), Ynestra King states that ecofeminist principles are based on the following beliefs:   

The survival of the species necessitates a renewed understanding of our relationship to nature, of our own bodily nature and of nonhuman nature around us; it necessitates a challenging of the nature-culture dualism and a corresponding radical restructuring of human society according to feminist and ecological principles. Adrienne Rich says, “When we speak of transformation we speak more accurately out of the vision of a process which will leave neither surfaces nor depths unchanged, which enters society at the most essential level of the subjugation of women and nature by men…”   (470-471).

Kings, A.E. “Intersectionality and the Changing Face of Ecofeminism.” Ethics & the Environment, vol. 22 no. 1, 2017, p. 63-87. Project MUSE 

Kimberlé Crenshaw: The urgency of intersectionality | TED Talk

Intersectional research broadly falls into three main categories: theory, methodology, and application. Each category tends to grapple with one central question, respectively: What is intersectionality? How do we use intersectionality? And what does intersectional research demonstrate?  While the term “intersectionality” originally originated in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it did not gain traction and finally acceptance for many years before Crenshaw first explicitly defined it in 1989. Ecological feminism or ecofeminism is an area of study concerned with understanding the interconnected relationship between the domination of women and the domination of nature.  For over  thirty years, ecofeminism has been taking into account the interconnected nature of social categories such as gender, race, class, sexuality, caste, species, religion, nationality, dis/ability, and issues such as colonialism. It has also challenged anthropocentric modes of thought, by incorporating both species and the natural environment into the ongoing debate concerning the workings of social categorization and identity construction. However, we need to be careful in characterizing earlier ecofeminist work as intersectional. Although it is certainly true that ecofeminism did often engage with intersectional approaches, it did not adopt intersectionality as the conceptual tool we currently understand it to be. 

 “Ecofeminism exposes the repression of women and the environment as interlinked and rooted in patriarchal structures.” 

Both Ecofeminism and Intersectional Environmentalism explore how the treatment and degradation of the earth exposes a deeply rooted societal problem. But while Ecofeminism narrows in on gender, sexuality, and the patriarchy, Intersectional Environmentalism creates space for all social injustices, including sexism. 

“I am ??????? ” The Complexity of Identity: “Who Am I?” Beverly Daniel Tatum 

UNDERSEA I Who has known the ocean? Neither you nor I, with our earth-bound senses, know the foam and surge of the tide that beats over the crab hiding under the seaweed of his tide pool home; or the lilt of the long, slow swells of mid-ocean, where shoals of wandering fish prey and are preyed upon, and the dolphin breaks the waves to breathe the upper atmosphere. Nor can we know the vicissitudes of life on the ocean floor, where the sunlight, filtering through a hundred feet of water, makes but a fleeting, bluish twilight, in which dwell sponge and mollusk and starfish and coral, where swarms of diminutive fish twinkle through the dusk like a silver rain of meteors, and eels lie in wait….. 

Rachel Louise Carson (1937). Undersea. Atlantic Monthly, 78:55–67 

The Pando Forest, Utah

The Trembling Giant, or Pando, is an enormous grove of quaking aspens that take the “forest as a single organism” metaphor and makes it literal: the grove really is a single organism. Each of the approximately 47,000 or so trees in the grove is genetically identical and all the trees share a single root system. While many trees spread through flowering and sexual reproduction, quaking aspens usually reproduce asexually, by sprouting new trees from the expansive lateral root of the parent. The individual trees aren’t individuals but stems of a massive single clone, and this clone is truly massive.  This ecological treasure is a metaphor for human environmental intersectionality. “Pando” is a Latin word that translates to “I spread.”Pando, the Trembling Giant – Richfield, Utah – Atlas Obscura 










Women+Governmental Positions = Environmental Gains

“Women are Turning Green”

Women in Political Power and State Environmentalism:

     The authors Kari Norgaard and Richard York wrote about how to improve “Gender Equality and State Environmentalism,” the two authors place a key emphasis on how improving gender may lead to further ecological reforms. (Norgaard, York PDF 14) An interesting quote in their research claims that “women are more likely than men to express support for environmental protection and that women consider a variety of environmental risks, from nuclear power to toxic substances, to be more serious than do men.” (Norgaard, York). Increasing and respecting women’s gender equality would then lead to improved environmental conditions throughout the world. “societies with higher levels of gender equality are more supportive of environmental protection.” (Norgaard, York). An important way to orchestrate this change would be to ensure that women are fairly included in any legal policy involving environmental issues which could result in mitigating climate change. What Norgaard and York have found is basically that countries that treat women better are generally more likely to treat the environment better. There seems to be a stereotypic gender bias arising which confirms the philosophy that men care about money and women care about the earth. Categorizing gender roles with such strict adherence to social stereotypes devalues all genders.

     Norgaard and York also found a link between “foreign direct investment” and a lack of state environmentalism. They determined that smaller countries are less likely to care about the environment if they are being given money from different countries throughout the world. An interpretation can be logically drawn that the more economically advanced countries in the world such as the US, Great Britain etc. may be apathetic to the environmental consciousness of other countries maintaining a self-centered and hollow commitment to the world’s shared environmental crisis. The implication here is that countries like The United States, Russia, and the United Kingdom which give a lot of foreign aid to smaller countries do not want these countries to be greener. This leads into Norgaard and Yorks arguments that capitalism is a root cause of the environmental issues Earth is currently experiencing.

     There is a positive, direct correlation between the degree of political power that a society shows women and the rate of environmental support. Research and experiences increasingly show the transformative power of inclusive decision making and both women’s and men’s unique differentiated knowledge in successful environmental programming and sustainable development. For example, at the national and international level, countries with more women parliamentarians are more likely to ratify environment treaties. At the community level, in India and Nepal, forest management groups that included women showed better resource governance and conservation outcomes.

     According to the new data, women occupy the role of Heads of State or Government in 22 countries, up from 20 countries in 2020. As of 1 January 2021, 5.9 per cent of elected Heads of State (9 out of 152) and 6.7 per cent of Heads of Government (13 out of 193) are women. Europe is the region with the most countries led by women: five out of nine Heads of State and seven out of 13 Heads of Government. The Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Norway are all currently led by women.

     Environment is the top portfolio held by women. The environment or energy portfolio jumped from third place in 2020 to the top spot in 2021 of ministerial portfolios held by women. Women ministers nonetheless continue to dominate portfolios covering social affairs, women’s affairs, and gender equality. However, women’s share in traditionally male-led ministerial portfolios has slightly increased in 2021 compared to 2020; for example, there are now 13.5 per cent of defense portfolios held by women compared to 11.9 per cent a year ago, and 11.5 of finance portfolios compared to 10.1 per cent a year ago.

Christiana Figueres Diplomacy

     After heading a climate-change nonprofit for eight years, Christiana Figueres took on leadership of the UNFCCC, the body responsible for international climate-change negotiations, at the agency’s lowest point. Just five months earlier, the world failed to reach an agreement at the 2009 Copenhagen summit. She injected a unique sense of optimism, attempting to remove the talks from what she calls “the political trash can.” It worked: Figueres successfully steered world leaders to reach the Paris Agreement in 2015. Along with a number of other women involved in the negotiations, Figueres was successful in shedding an important light on the gender dimension of climate change. 

The CBD (Center for Biological Diversity) recognized from the outset the crucial link between women and biodiversity conservation. Preambular paragraph 13 of the CBD states: Recognizing also the vital role that women play in the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and affirming the need for the full participation of women at all levels of policy-making and implementation for biological diversity conservation. The phrasing of this paragraph is in line with the prevailing recognition of (and thinking on) the importance of women in environment and development issues at that time (IUCN, 1994). The paragraph clearly shows recognition by the State Parties to the CBD that gender issues, particularly those related to women, should be taken into account. However, the wording of that recognition denotes a rather instrumental understanding of the role of women in biodiversity conservation and sustainable use (Brand, Görg, Hirsch, & Wissen, 2008, p. 75). 

Nicky Broeckhoven. “Biodiversity Loss and Climate Change: Gender Issues in International Law and Policy.” DiGeSt. Journal of Diversity and Gender Studies, vol. 1, no. 2, 2014, pp. 23–38. JSTOR, Accessed 15 Mar. 2023

     In the world today, there are social stratifications which are gender oriented. Some of these have a direct effect on women and the environment in a degrading way. This concern extends beyond country borders. It is a global concern. Women and nature have had an understandably symbiotic relationship. There is a common thread that runs through both which results in a deeper sense of compassion and responsibility for “Mother Earth”. Current world environmental issues can be partially attributed to this break in the chain between women and the environment. Norgaard and York theorize that societies that have higher, more developed levels of supportive environmental protection, also have higher levels of gender equality.

This image sourced from C. Gardner on WGS-PHL 307 Blackboard

This image represents the interconnectivity between all women and their respective relationship to the international responsibility of focusing on solutions to Climate Change. Women in influential, high-profile positions, especially in governmental jobs have a responsibility to raise the conciseness of their constituency in contributing to the solution.



“Behind Every Meal of Meat is an Absence………

…. the death of the nonhuman animal whose place the meat takes.” C. Adams

Carol Adams Carol J. Adams (born 1951) is an American writer, feminist, and animal rights advocate. 

Feminist-vegan theory is ecofeminist. From this perspective, “environmental issues can’t be understood without a feminist perspective and feminist issues can’t be understood without an environmental perspective. I place animals into the middle of this”. (Carol Adams, The War on Compassion). Adams has a unique perspective in terms of her views on the questionable morality behind slaughtering animals for food.  When humans turn a nonhuman into “meat,” someone who has a very particular, situated life, a unique being, is converted into something that has no distinctiveness, no uniqueness, no individuality. When one adds five pounds of meatballs to a plate of meatballs, it is more of the same thing; nothing is changed.  Adams describes her viewpoint which includes how killing animals disrupts the natural balance of nature. “But to have a living cow and then kill that cow, and butcher that cow, and grind up her flesh, you have not added a mass term to a mass term and ended up with more of the same. You have destroyed an individual. (Carol Adams, The War on Compassion).

The “massification” of beings permits the dilution, the diminishment of our attention. It is like an hourglass. The more of a “mass term” they become, the less of concern they need provoke. The sands of our compassion drain into the bottom. And how do we flip the hourglass over, how do we revive, or awaken compassion?

And this is a basic difference; meat eaters bury animals in their own bodies. When nonhuman living beings are converted conceptually into false mass terms to enable their conversion into products, we come to believe that their deaths do not matter to themselves. Animals are killed because they are false mass terms, but they die as individuals. They die as a cow, not beef, as a pig, not pork. Each suffers his or her own death, and this death matters a great deal to the one who is dying. (Carol Adams, The War on Compassion).


The Politics of Carol J Adams 

When Carol was asked what about raw meat that made it more offensive, her answer was. “Raw meat may express a more immediate sense of violation of what once was, what once existed and only recently lost their lives. With the raw, there is always more of it — more raw talent to compete in a realty show, more raw meat to be hung in lockers or worn as undergarments. Why raw meat? It is as though through the use of raw meat there’s some sort of fantasy that one can experience life again as “raw, fresh, and tasty,”

There are many individuals who do not subscribe to the ideology that non-human living beings’ “matter”. In response to these critics, Adams writes ..”Nonhuman animals matter because of who they are — individual beings — not because of a certain quality that obtains to them (their suffering). This isn’t like parliamentary procedure where there has to be a second to the first (the “second” being “animals are suffering”). The minute we start arguing about suffering (for women or animals, or anyone who is nondominant), we’re already ceded their difference.

As Catharine MacKinnon points out in Of Mice and Men, white men did not have to prove they suffered for them to have rights. The focus on suffering creates a new category “humane meat” that helps people reduce the issue to “they aren’t suffering, so it’s okay to eat them.”

 I don’t mind being disturbed, upset, dismayed, or depressed, but I don’t want to be the second hand beneficiary of violence, engaging in an act of viewing that can only exist because someone’s death was willed, because someone’s energy was the means to another’s ends. 

Advertising and the “Sexualization” of Women

This photograph depicts a tag that would be fastened to an animal’s ear prior to it being killed. Apparently a “Dick from Hell” attached it.

This ad has to be one of the most offensive towards women that I have ever seen. To reduce to act of childbirth to a sexual, cheap analogy with having hamburgers delivered to your door is egregious! I wonder if they think of their mother when they created and approved this ad.

I found this ad from Hardee’s…can it be more offensive, patronizing and sexists? I don’t think so…..


Graphic Images and Content

Vegetarianism: Humane, Healthy& Sustainable

Vegetarianism: Humane, Healthy, Sustainable
I have been anxiously anticipating this week’s “Blog “assignment. My family are all vegetarians (not vegan). My husband has been a vegetarian for over 40 years. I became a vegetarian 15 years ago. Most of our children have followed this same dietary path.

In my opinion, the image above represents a negative commentary on the practice of eating meat. There is a steak knife inserted into the meat itself. It looks like a scene from a “murder” movie. I interpret this to be symbolic of the animal being killed by either a food company or private individuals without regard for the animal’s life. The pseudo “Pillsbury Doughboy Chef”, does not have any facial features. To me, this means that they are not acknowledging the source of the food and/or taking any responsibility for preparing it and perpetuating the practice of slaughtering animals. The “food” is served on an attractive, clean wooden cutting board.  The meat itself is representative of male Machismo” “But with meat still being the “manly” choice, it may become even harder for male consumers to opt for a meat-free lifestyle, even if they support it in theory. It’s hard to shift an individual’s perception without first tackling their society’s view.” (Meat Heads, Huffington Post). The pieces of meat are uniformly cut with no blood. There is no indication that what is being served was once a living being. It is common practice to try and distance the customer from the actual source when eating an animal. I imagine if this scene was in a restaurant and there were photographs of pigs and cows adorning the walls in lovely settings on rolling hills with clover under hoof there would still be a weak if nonexistent connection from the customer back to the source and process of preparing the meat for consumption. Imagine the restaurant walls filled with photographs of dead carcasses, mutilated animals and crying offspring….would they still want to “enjoy” their meal? Unfortunately, I believe many people still would. Animal Slaughter – The Madness Behind Killing Animals For Food (Video) (

Using the US as an example According to a 2018 Gallup poll, 5% of U.S. adults consider themselves to be vegetarian.

U.S. Adults 5
Men 4
Women 6

“The love for all creatures, is the most noble attribute of man”. Charles Darwin  1871.  Animal Kill Clock (

Some interesting vegetarian statistics are:

  • Nonwhite Americans (9%) are three times as likely as white Americans (3%) to describe themselves as vegetarian.
  • 11% of self-identified liberals identify as vegetarian, compared with 2% of conservatives and 3% of moderates.
  • Vegetarianism is less prevalent among older Americans: 2% of adults aged 55 and older say they adhere to a vegetarian diet, compared with 8% of 18- to 34-year-olds and 7% of 35- to 54-year-olds.
Gendered Food Bias:

This term relates to both the conscious and subconscious messages about food and diet that are continually being received. Our food choices are impacted by the information and extent to which we are exposed to this sort of conditioning. For instance, in our Western culture, diet and thinness in women symbolizes that they may be more affluent, sexy, intelligent and engaging. An “overweight woman” may be seen as socially less desirable and even less intelligent. The same stereotype does not generally get attributed to men.  “Backed up by the entertainment industry is the idea that the bloodier the steak, the more manly the man, the same way it once was with the man smoking cigarettes.” (Meat Heads, Huffington Post). The word “diet” simply relates to what a person actually eats. It does not necessarily mean that a person is “watching their diet” or concerned about its content. Much of the opinions about diet, weight and gender differences has nothing to do with any real scientific evidence. It is socially based. Different types of food bias can be a factor in creating unhealthy, even dangerous food practices especially for women like anorexia. A women’s self-worth is tied to their weight more than a male’s weight is. The visual appearance of how food might “look” in advertisements can also be problematic.  Some examples of stereotypic food bias especially in America would be the male portrayed and barbequing “meat”. This seems reminiscent of Neanderthal ideology. Women may feel compelled to eat “light” especially during a date or in public. The ever popular “salad” is often depicted. Of course, many salads are much unhealthier than many other food choices. It is not unusual for a woman to say “I have been so bad today, I ate ……….”. ”

Feminists and ecofeminists alike have noted ways that animal pejoratives are used to dehumanize women….sow, bitch, beaver etc. (Ecofeminism on the Wing: Perspectives on Human-Animal Relations by Greta Gaard). Speciesism is a form of oppression that reinforces other oppression. Sympathy and empathy do provide the foundation for vegetarian ecofeminism. “I envision a time when all humans recognize ourselves as merely one species of animals,  and restore right relations with the rest of our extended family. (Ecofeminism on the Wing: Perspectives on Human-Animal Relations by Greta Gaard). Contextual moral vegetarianism represents a response to a politicized ecological ethic of care. Toward an Ecological Ethic of Care | Hypatia | Cambridge Core.

Deane Curtain has written scholarly articles on the topic of “Moral Vegetarianism” which is the process of exploring ecological ethics and in doing so enables a person to more closely evaluate their ethic as it relates to an understanding of food.  Some examples of this are ritualized violence against non-humans. For example, the Japanese have a Shinto ceremony that pays respect to the insects that are killed during rice planting. Tibetans, who as Buddhists have not generally been drawn to vegetarianism, nevertheless give their own bodies back to the animals in an ultimate act of thanks by having their corpses hacked into pieces as food for the birds.

Just as there are gender-specific reasons for women’s commitment to vegetarianism, for men in a patriarchal society moral vegetarianism can mark the decision to stand in solidarity with women. “Real people do not need to eat “real food,” as the American Beef Council would have us believe.”

Contextual Moral Vegetarianism, by Deane Curtin (


An Introspective View of Nature’s Impact on “Whole Life” Satisfaction

A Look Backwards at Nature’s Impact Whole Life Satisfaction

I will start by making a general “assumption” about myself compared to my fellow classmates. Forgive me if my personal perspective is inaccurate.

I am 63 years old, pursuing an additional degree in WGS subsidized by the VA. This particular post is the most interesting and personally relevant. I will begin by describing myself as “An extremely sensitive empath.” My momentary “state-of-mind” is easily manipulated by outside forces and circumstances. Reflecting back to my childhood, the best memories I still hold are spending time in my neighbor’s “magical property”. In a stereotypic suburban neighborhood, our backyard neighbor was an elderly woman who had owned the land for many years. The property was an “anomaly” in the otherwise homogenized suburban sprawl. There was a fishpond, beautiful large trees, vegetable and flower gardens and many different types of wildlife. It was the idyllic place to play and commune with nature. It was a secret garden filled with wonder and magic.

The photo below is the only one in my office (other than my grandchildren). It reminds me of the “Best of Times”…and after some reflecting…almost all of my memories are centered some way around “nature”.

Four Corners USA 

Myself and my 2 older sons at "4 Corners" US 1998
This photo is the only one in my office of “family”. It was taken 25 years ago. It was a very special time. I now have a third son and granddaughter.

This photo does symbolize “My Bedrock Democracy” . “Once strengthened by our association with the wild, we can return to family and community.  Each of us belongs to a particular landscape, one that informs who we are, a place that carries our history, our dreams, holds us to a moral line of behavior that transcends thought”. ….”This is the hope of a bedrock democracy, standing our ground in the places we love together. “(Williams 19). There are many times I feel like a displaced person. The forces between nature and modern “civilization” in the Western world seem diametrically opposed. 

Bell Hooks writes: “How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of water, how do you buy them? To me this statement is fact and not an opinion. In this case, Bell Hooks defines place as “everywhere”.

Personally, like many people, I am a Barbara Kingsolver fan. I found this week’s writings especially relevant “….. I didn’t need to be in Africa as I wrote that book; I only needed to be where I could think straight, remember, and properly invent. I needed the blessed emptiness of mind that comes from birdsong and dripping trees. I needed to sleep at night in a square box made of chestnut trees who died of natural causes. The natural habitat of our species is now steel, pavement, streetlights, architecture and enterprise — the hominid agenda . … I find this exodus from the land makes me unspeakably sad Kingsolver It reminds us that our plans are small and somewhat absurd.” (Barbara Kingsolver).

Collectively, these writers all have a central common variable. People and nature are not disconnected from one another, they are a part of one another.  We were born from the water and will return to the earth. Politics can be an ally or an enemy against humanity when it fails to prioritize and unify what laws and practices are beneficial to both humanity as well as nature…..we are all the same. In this philosophy: place + people = politics. 

My profession is in the educational technology field, but I devote time to forming and directing a “Green Committee”. One of my favorite parts of my job is taking young children to a neighboring topiary garden after school to learn about plants and trees. During the work day, my background “noise” are bird song playlists.

I am fortunate enough to live next to a beach in MA. In the warmer weather, I get up early to walk the beach before most other people arrive in order to shoot photographs of the beach from a different, untouched perspective.

Beach Photos

What is Ecofeminism?

Women’s Contribution to Food Production and Environmental Degradation in the Global South is often Underrated and Inaccurate
Pin by Tok ZeSox on nature's quote | Vandana shiva, Nature quotes, Hatred
Women in the Global South are affected more significantly by food production and environmental concerns than in the Global North.
Vandana Shiva, is a powerful representation of a female eco-feminist activist in the Global South. She concentrates her initiatives in non-western environmentalism. Shiva does not see humans and nature as separate (indeed, that way of thinking is partially responsible for our ecological crisis); rather, she sees living creatures as interconnected to our “mother” earth.
“Women’s work is also invisible because women are concentrated outside market related or remunerated work and they are normally engaged in multiple tasks.
Science and technology have rendered women’s knowledge and productivity invisible by ignoring the dimension of diversity in agriculture production. As the FAO report on women feed the world mentions, women use more plant diversity, both cultivated and uncultivated, than agricultural scientists know about. In Nigerian home gardens, women plant 18 – 57 plant species. In Sub – Saharan Africa women cultivate as many as 120 different plants in the spaces alongside the cash crops managed by man.”
*Shiva, V. 1998. “Strengthening Women’s Capacity to Feed the World, 1998 World Food
Day Keynote Speech 16 October 1998 – Bangkok,
We women, in all our vibrant and fabulous diversity, have witnessed the increasing aggression against the human spirit, human mind and human body and the continued invasion of an assault upon the Earth and all her diverse species. And we are enraged.
The terms “Global North and Global South” do not represent separating the world into two geographical halves.  It is a more holistic term including political and social, economic and political concepts. Specifically, low income, highly and densely populated, inadequate infrastructure and marginalization. Most of the “Global South” countries reside within the regions of Latin America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. Women and girls are more susceptible to the negative effects of environmental degradation.

“Women and girls usually have the responsibility of fetching water. This can be a dangerous, time-consuming and physically demanding task. Long journeys by foot, often more than once a day, can leave women and girls vulnerable to attack and often precludes them from school or earning an income. For women and girls, sanitation is about personal safety. Girls are at an increased risk of abuse and assault. Women and girls have specific hygiene needs. Lack of safely managed water and sanitation is an equality issue. Access to water and sanitation are human rights”. “Fewer than 50 countries have laws or policies that specifically mention women’s participation in rural sanitation or water resources management”. (UN-Water, 2021).

The World Economic Forum

Agarwal is an ecofeminist like Hobgood-Oster, but she has a different perspective.  identify the central differences and commonalities between ecofeminism from a Western perspective and a non-Western perspective.

Considering both Hobgood-Oster and Bina Agarwal’s philosophies in terms of women and the environment, I would personally choose Agarwal’s philosophy over Hobgood-Oster’s.Bina Agarwal: «Diseguaglianze di genere, le cooperative di donne ...

I appreciate that Agarwal’s area of interest is heavily weighted towards rural economies. Her multi-disciplinary approach includes the land, the polices related to gender, inequality as well as poverty, property rights, agriculture and an interdisciplinary approach, to provide insights on land, livelihoods and property rights; environment and development; the political economy of gender; poverty and inequality; law; gender inequality, agriculture and technological change. She certainly is all inclusive and casts a wide net when assessing the problems that women in the Global South face related to environmental concerns and commodities.










Ecofeminism as defined by Dr. Hopgood-Oster, is “simultaneously serving as an environmental critique of feminism and a feminist critique of environmentalism. Ecofeminism asserts that all forms of oppression are connected and that structures of oppression must be addressed in their totality.”

Some of the barriers to ecofeminism include different forms of oppression.  Not only can this be found in nature without human intervention, but also by the traditional patriarchal culture of male domination. Certainly, oppression is a reoccurring theme.

“Ecofeminism is multi-faceted and multi-located, challenging structures rather than individuals. By confronting systems of patriarchy, ecofeminism broadens the scope of the cultural critique and incorporates seemingly disparate but, according to ecofeminism, radically connected elements.” (Hopgood-Oster).

Ecofeminism highlights non-violence, cooperation and sustainability. Ideally this is achieved via cooperation and education, not oppression and other forms of violence. While some theorize that women innately have a tendency towards being more empathic and cooperative, I believe that this philosophy is gender restrictive. “Ecofeminism claims that patriarchal structures justify their dominance through categorical or dualistic hierarchies: heaven/earth, mind/body, male/female, human/animal, spirit/matter, culture/nature, white/non-white” (Hopgood-Oster).

 Ecofeminism purports that all forms of oppression are interconnected and that the structures of oppression have to be addressed holistically. “Ecofeminist positions reflect varied political stances that may be, and usually are, transformed through time and place. In other words, the political activisms and alliances stemming from ecofeminism modify in relationship to the perceived justice issues being confronted in differing cultural and historical settings. Because of this constant morphing, ecofeminism simultaneously challenges patriarchies from different angles.” (Hopgood-Oster). 

There are examples of cultures that do not fall stereotypically into this definition of oppression and conflict. It is obvious that religion as well as colonization and domination of cultures has been an integral part of causing the conflict between the “natural and the human made world”.

Many native cultures regard nature with respect.  They also have a strong sense of place and belonging. This sustains knowledge and ways of life that coincide with modern initiatives of nature conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources.

“Unsurprisingly, indigenous peoples have been stout opponents of development imposed from beyond their communities. They defend their lands against illegal encroachments and destructive exploitation, from mega-dams across their rivers to logging and mining in their forests. That can make them ideal custodians of the landscapes and ecosystems that are also central to efforts to limit climate change and adapt to its effects. But it also makes them targets. Communities who stand up against powerful economic and political interests remain under intense pressure in many parts of the world”.

A logical connection between women and nature can be evidenced in the reproduction cycle. Both nature and women conceive, bear and care for others. This is a natural instinct and parallels nature.

| Marxist ecofeminists | MR Online