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message 1: by Kylie (new)

Kylie Reardon | 49 comments It seems like this is a topic that hasn't been spoken on yet... Any Eco-feminists out there? Personally, I'm very passionate about the environment, animals and any and all kinds of conservation and preservation. I would love to hear from anyone who has participated in or knows of any feminists/all-women groups along these lines? (For example, Women Build by Habitat for Humanity)


message 2: by Lily (new)

Lily (journalingirl) | 12 comments I don't know any organizations, but I am interested in hearing about them too. The environment is one of the issues I care most about and I would love to learn about more organizations to get involved with.


message 3: by Kristine (last edited Mar 03, 2016 08:33PM) (new)

Kristine (y2kristine) | 18 comments There are a lot of prominent eco-feminists out there & some good reading. Just peruse the ecofem Wiki if you're interested.
While I'm a big environmentalist, I have some issues with ecofem. Notably how a lot of ecofeminists draw a connection between the destruction of nature with women, claiming women have a more intimate relationship with nature than men do. Hence "mother nature", never father nature. Not only does this help reinforce the gender binary, but it's a thought developed by Western religious thought. If you read Aristotle's "On the Nature of Women" he asserts men were made in the image of god/the divine/the heavens. Women are the humans/the mundane/the earth. This kind of sexist thinking has pervaded Western thought for centuries. Lots have been written on the negative impacts associating women with nature, but what is interesting is some ecofems have attempted to reclaim this narrative for their own empowerment, and make some good points out of it. A lot of feminists don't associate with nature but feel a sense of solidarity with it's suppression and destruction, which I definitely understand. I'd love to see environmentalism and feminism work together in a more cohesive way in the future.


message 4: by Camille (new)

Camille | 42 comments Hi!
I don't understand why we relate environnement and feminism. If you are an ecologist, I don't know what it meant that you are both a feminist or not.
I don't say it's a bad thing or whatever, it's just a question (don't kill me please) ^^


message 5: by Kylie (new)

Kylie Reardon | 49 comments Kristine, I certainly don't hold the belief that I am more connected to nature than any other human on this planet. I guess I would phrase my perspective as being aware of the destruction that humans (men and women alike) are inflicting upon the natural world as a whole, and my steps to decrease my own carbon footprint.

I was mostly referring to feminists who also consider themselves to be environmentally aware. As I'm not religious in any sense of the word, I don't at all identify or agree with Aristotle's philosophies on the subject. Thanks for the ecofem wiki recommendation. I'll definitely check that out as I see I have a lot more to discover about the topic !

Camille, I won't kill you! Haha any and all questions and comments are welcome to me. Maybe refer to Kristine's contribution? I feel like the points she made would be a good answer to your question. Xx


message 6: by Lily (new)

Lily (journalingirl) | 12 comments Camille, what I meant is that I am a feminist but I also care a lot about the environment. I was looking for a group of feminists (or just women in general) who support the environment. Also I think you might have gotten the terminology wrong. An ecologist is someone who studies plants and animals. I am just someone who is passionate about the environment and wants to stop climate change from getting worse. Hope that answers your question!


message 7: by Camille (new)

Camille | 42 comments Sorry, I didn't see this comment before writting mine.
So it's about showing that it's not "for girls" to be close to the nature and environmentaly friendly, is it? If the answer is yes, I definitly agree!
Thank you Lily, it was a simple use of langage. Have to correct this. ^^


message 8: by S. K. (new)

S. K. Pentecost | 63 comments Lily wrote: "I was looking for a group of feminists (or just women in general) who support the environment."

Are boys allowed? I've got good credentials.

I think a big reason why the environmentalist movement is associated with women in the U.S. isn't only the Mother Nature/Earth connotation passed down to us from multiple mythologies, but because the author who put it on the national radar was Rachel Carson with her Silent Spring.


message 9: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments S. K. wrote: "Lily wrote: "I was looking for a group of feminists (or just women in general) who support the environment."

Are boys allowed? I've got good credentials.

I think a big reason why the environmenta..."


Gosh, are you a boy? I didn't realise, hadn't peeked at your profile yet. Ewww, boy germs. Lol.


message 10: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments This eco thing in feminism is news to me, reading along with great curiosity. (A bit of an environmentalist myself.)


message 11: by S. K. (new)

S. K. Pentecost | 63 comments Aglaea wrote: " didn't realise, hadn't peeked at your profile yet. Ewww, boy germs. Lol. "

Yeah I suppose my profile picture is a little on the androgynous side.


message 12: by Katelyn, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Katelyn (katelynrh) | 836 comments Mod
I've done some canvassing and other activism aimed at environmental causes. The greatest link between environmentalism, feminism, and other causes is that they have a common enemy: corporate greed, capitalism, and patriarchy are all tied together and are essentially, if I may use a silly fandom term, a singular "big bad." I think we should be striving to join our causes together in order to fight the powers that be in that way.

Gotta reject the associations with mother nature and whatnot. Definitely don't think that connection is productive!


message 13: by Kylie (new)

Kylie Reardon | 49 comments I agree with you katelyn. For example, the sheer amount of congressional lobbying that big oil/gas/chemical companies participate in is truly disturbing. money and corporate greed play a monumental role in the stonewalling of scientific data that proves the existence of global warming.

S.K. , haha yes, I'd love to hear from anyone. Boys included! I read silent spring in high school and it was probably the spark that lit the flame for me in regards to becoming environmentally aware.

Living Downstream by Sandra Steingraber is another piece about the connection between the environment around us and our bodies, and the correlation between the health of the environment and our own. Scary, but a very compelling read.


message 14: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments I'm reading the first few pages of Unspeakable Things Sex, Lies and Revolution by Laurie Penny and oh my is the author angry :D

She's connected in a totally-new-to-me way the money money money stuff to how women as a gender are defined. I'm not sure I agree with all of it but it's definitely thought-provoking.

Next step from money is obviously consumerism, and then eco thingies.


message 15: by Lily (new)

Lily (journalingirl) | 12 comments S.K.: Of course boys should be involved too! The environment is something everyone should care about. What I had meant by the comment was to see if there were any women's groups dedicated to protecting the environment because I had never heard of any or thought of the possibility before I saw this post.

I have always meant to read Silent Spring, but I haven't gotten the chance to yet. The environment and conservation has been important to me since I was young and my dad would take me out hiking with him. As well as Carson, I really want to read the writings of John Muir and Sigurd F. Olson, who both cares a lot about conservation. Does anyone know any other writers (women if possible) who focus on conservation efforts?

I am of mixed thoughts as to the whole women connected to nature issue. I don't see it as a claim that should be used to give power to one gender over the other as to who nature belongs to or anything like that. Nature is supposed to be an equal space for all. On the other hand the imagery is very powerful and can be used to encourage women who feel that the wilderness is more of a masculine place to feel that they are welcome there too. It's hard for me to decide concretely how I feel about that.


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Katelyn wrote: "I've done some canvassing and other activism aimed at environmental causes. The greatest link between environmentalism, feminism, and other causes is that they have a common enemy: corporate greed,..."

I don't really get why capitalism and patriarchy are necessarily tied. I mean, they are obviously circumstancially tied, but... It looks like lots of feminist see it as something obvious, but I don't think it is.

Can't women be selfish, or mean, or corrupt? Like owning a business and exploiting workers and so on?


message 17: by Kylie (new)

Kylie Reardon | 49 comments Leo wrote: "Katelyn wrote: "I've done some canvassing and other activism aimed at environmental causes. The greatest link between environmentalism, feminism, and other causes is that they have a common enemy: ..."

Yes, of course women are capable of these things. Generally and historically speaking, though, capitalism shaped the image of the "housewife", which is patriarchal. Capitalism and patriarchy are not the same, they're two separate systems that are connected.


message 18: by Kristine (new)

Kristine (y2kristine) | 18 comments Sorry Kylie, didn't mean to imply I thought you thought that - I was just rambling. :) I get what you're saying and I think it's a great question and goal.

Katelyn's point is spot on, I think there is a definite link between what is causing environmental degradation and other forms of oppressions.


message 19: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments Kylie wrote: "Leo wrote: "Katelyn wrote: "I've done some canvassing and other activism aimed at environmental causes. The greatest link between environmentalism, feminism, and other causes is that they have a co..."

Lauren Penny makes in the book I added above the point that "career woman" has also been completely shaped by similar kinds of forces. The way she puts it is a way I've never thought of it before, and it's surprisingly interesting, having one's whole paradigm questioned in one fell swoop.


message 20: by S. K. (last edited Mar 03, 2016 11:02PM) (new)

S. K. Pentecost | 63 comments On the question of the "big bad." I'm going to come out early and often that I'm a staunch evelutionary biology fan. I feel like the points against captialism can be countered with the ecological mess that is the remnant of Soviet Siberia. And I think the patriarchy claims can be countered with the fact that it was always my mom who wanted the thermostat turned above 62 fahrenheit in the winters. If it had been up to my dad, we'd all have worn our coats and hats indoors, and it just doesn't get any more environmentalist than that.

Human overpopulation is the culprit, regardless of political, social, or religious leanings. One of the primary reasons I call myself a feminst is because I vote actively for women's reproductive rights, the one statisically proven method of reducing our overburden on the planet. Women may disproportianately want the guilty pleasure of subtropical heat when they're indoors, but they are wise enough to breed below sustainable population growth rates when the choice is entirely up to them.


message 21: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments S. K. wrote: "On the question of the "big bad." I'm going to come out early and often that I'm a staunch evelutionary biology fan. I feel like the points against captialism can be countered with the ecological m..."

Well hello honesty. Hadn't thought of procreation like that but I think few women would give birth to kids they can't feed, given the choice.


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

S. K. wrote: "And I think the patriarchy claims can be countered with the fact that it was always my mom who wanted the thermostat turned above 62 fahrenheit in the winters. If it had been up to my dad, we'd all have worn our coats and hats indoors, and it just doesn't get any more environmentalist than that."

Generally men don't feel the cold that much as heat is distributed different in different bodies. I don't understand why this has to do with being more environmentalist.

Women shiver at work in ‘sexist’ air conditioning

I've been always unsure about the topic of vegeterianism. I eat less meat than the average person but this article opened my eyes to an interesting perspective. I would be interested to know your opinions?


Does Feminism Require Vegetarianism or Veganism?

5 Reasons For Why Animal Rights Are A Feminist Issue

One of the driving causes that I see in issues that are connect sexual discrimination and environmental degradation is colonialism, which is still influencing the world today. Thus, intersectionality as the world is more complex than being able to explain problem due to singular characteristics.


message 23: by S. K. (last edited Mar 04, 2016 03:09AM) (new)

S. K. Pentecost | 63 comments Anja wrote: "Generally men don't feel the cold that much as heat is distributed different in different bodies. I don't understand why this has to do with being more environmentalist."



The numbers in the crappy png above are from the 2012 International Energy Agency. Heating houses in the U.S. is responsible for about 12% of CO2 emissions, 31% from electrical generation. It was my dad always complaining about us having too many lights on, too.


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

I think you did not understand what I meant to say. I meant that as women are more likely to feel cold than men, it is sexist to assume that heating should be switched off just because men can deal with it.


message 25: by S. K. (last edited Mar 04, 2016 04:43AM) (new)

S. K. Pentecost | 63 comments Anja wrote: "I think you did not understand what I meant to say. I meant that as women are more likely to feel cold than men, it is sexist to assume that heating should be switched off just because men can deal..."

I posit that, as long as the temperatures in question aren't aggravating injuries or ailments, it is absolutely not sexist to say that turning the heat down is an environmentally conscious thing to do. What is sexist about sweaters?

edit

But that doesn't mean that I'm saying my dad isn't a sexist. I was trying to emphasize that environmentalism isn't antithetical to the patriarchy.


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

I find that sweaters restrict my comfort and it's unfair to expect me to feel uncomfortable just because other people don't feel the cold that much. In some jobs there is also a uniform that must be worn and it would not fit to the guidelines of the company to wear warmer alternatives.

It is of course more environmentally conscious to turn down the heat, but it is also more environmentally conscious to take ice cold showers. How many people are going to do that? I think it's unfair to expect people who feel cold more quickly to be uncomfortable.


message 27: by Lily (new)

Lily (journalingirl) | 12 comments I would like to add that if alternative energy was being used, instead or coal or other damaging power sources, then it wouldn't matter nearly as much what the temperature in my house was at.
There are a lot of things we can do as individuals to lessen the effect of climate change, but the big changes need to come from higher up.


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Lily wrote: "I would like to add that if alternative energy was being used, instead or coal or other damaging power sources, then it wouldn't matter nearly as much what the temperature in my house was at.
Ther..."


Which higher up you mean? Those who are funding the ISIS with the money they make because they were lucky enough to find oil below their feet? Yes, they're definitely worried about global warming :D. Not to talk about how worried they are about gender inequality hahaha.


message 29: by Katelyn, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Katelyn (katelynrh) | 836 comments Mod
S. K. wrote: "On the question of the "big bad." I'm going to come out early and often that I'm a staunch evelutionary biology fan. I feel like the points against captialism can be countered with the ecological m..."

Patriarchy has nothing to do with the acts of individuals in their own homes, though. Sure, people might act in ways that reflect patriarchy, but you cannot deny the inherent link between patriarchy, capitalism, and the environment just because you know of a man who helped the environment and a woman who did not.

Human overpopulation is indeed a problem. And it does have to do with access to women's health care and reproductive rights. Patriarchy and capitalism are both forces that exacerbate these issues. That supports my point above!


message 30: by Lily (new)

Lily (journalingirl) | 12 comments Wow you took that really far really quick. I meant if governments or regular people advocate for alternative forms of energy that do not produce CO2 then it wouldn't be a problem how hot or cold I keep my house because I would be using clean energy.


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

Lily wrote: "Wow you took that really far really quick. I meant if governments or regular people advocate for alternative forms of energy that do not produce CO2 then it wouldn't be a problem how hot or cold I ..."

Well, it was just an example. I meant that if we wait for them to solve the problem we're screwed. It's obviously not just the sheikhs, but most of the people who control the energy industry (and global economy in general) won't let us change to alternatives (that's pretty clear already I guess), and governments work for them, not for us. So while we keep submitting to this system nothing will change, and if it does, it will be for the worse.


message 32: by Kylie (new)

Kylie Reardon | 49 comments Kristine, looking back it my response to yours I did sound quite serious! lol Though I didn't mean it that way. I basically just think the claims about women being more connected to nature simply because we're women are strange (in my opinion) , but it's an interesting topic of conversation for sure.

As far as the vegetarianism/veganism being morally required for all feminists, I don't share that view personally. Although I do mostly avoid red meat and buy organic or free-range chicken/pork/fish. I definitely see the connection though , and I agree with Anja in regards to that video being quite informative! I've made several unsuccessful attempts at vegetarianism so I would love to hear every one else's thoughts on this topic


message 33: by Kim (last edited Mar 04, 2016 07:58AM) (new)

Kim | 26 comments Anja wrote: "Generally men don't feel the cold that much as heat is distributed different in different bodies. I don't understand why this has to do with being more environmentalist.."

When I was a kid, my dad was always yelling about "someone" turning up the thermostat in winter. He liked to keep the house cold to save money. Plus, he didn't get cold. Even with a sweater, our house in winter was cold and drafty and uncomfortable for all the women in the house. We turned up the heat when he wasn't around.

Interestingly, now that my dad is old (in his 80's), he had the house fully insulated so he can keep the thermostat turned up to a comfortable temperature without it costing an arm and a leg. Now when I visit him, I'm usually too hot because he is walking around inside in shorts and I'm dressed for winter.

So with the wonders of modern insulation, women can be warm and comfortable inside and not ruin the environment.


message 34: by Kim (new)

Kim | 26 comments As far as air conditioning goes ...

So men like to keep it cold inside, so they are wasting more energy in summer keeping cool.

While women waste more energy in winter trying to keep warm.

It sounds like it all balances out in the end. Both sexes waste the same amount of energy, just at different times of the year. ;-)


message 35: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 04, 2016 08:04AM) (new)

Katelyn wrote: "S. K. wrote: "On the question of the "big bad." I'm going to come out early and often that I'm a staunch evelutionary biology fan. I feel like the points against captialism can be countered with th..."

It has to do with women's health care and reproductive rights, but it has to do with lots more things. Huge lack of education, moral codes which opress individuals for reasons which are not valid anymore, exploitation coming from the more powerful countries... And that works for both genders. I don't think this is about gender inequality, it does play a part, but there are bigger reasons.

I consider a mistake to fight patriarchy and capitalism at the same time. We should differentiate both concepts even if they are related. Not because of technicalities, but because solving those problems involves different measures that must be taken, and treating them as two united concepts makes people have a wrong concept of the reasons the world is the way it is.

Of course that when we fight one we're indirectly fighting the other one, but it's important to establish the clear differences between both inside our head.


message 36: by Katelyn, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (last edited Mar 04, 2016 08:08AM) (new)

Katelyn (katelynrh) | 836 comments Mod
Sure, those issues do affect people of all genders, but they disproportionately affect women and girls, so I'd definitely still attribute the problems to patriarchy in a big way, if not entirely.

Sure, these forces are different. Capitalism is an economic system, patriarchy is a systemic cultural structure. But they are definitely linked, and the success of each supports the other. Therefore, by coming together, whether as "eco-feminists" or otherwise, we can work to dismantle these oppressive forces separately and together. Even dismantling one at a time would be a huge blow to the others. But I don't think it's necessary to divide and conquer when they are so intrinsically linked.


message 37: by Lily (new)

Lily (journalingirl) | 12 comments Leo: I in no way think we should just wait around for things to change. People should do what they can to conserve energy on their own. But that doesn't mean you should give up trying to change things on the bigger levels either. There are multiple levels of activism or change that can be done at the same time, even when it feels like it's impossible to change.


message 38: by [deleted user] (new)

Katelyn wrote: "Sure, those issues do affect people of all genders, but they disproportionately affect women and girls, so I'd definitely still attribute the problems to patriarchy in a big way, if not entirely.

..."


I don't see them so intrinsically linked. I see them circumstancially linked. Capitalism involves a huge social development in a short period of time. It's more of a punctual thing (analyzing it from the "heights").

Patriarchy is a way more complex issue. It has to do with social development, too, but it's a long-term thing. It exists because our species found in it the easiest way to grow "safely". Men are not as important as women reproductively speaking (due to the fact that a man can have a thousand children, a woman can have, I don't know, 20?), so men were kind of the variable part of the equation and women the constant one. But in a developed society that's not necessary anymore. Not just that it's not necessary, it's counterproductive.

Patriarchy is a problem way more difficult to solve than capitalism. Capitalism is not in our "genes", it's just something that was meant to happen due to globalization, social inequality, a poor moral code... But it's way easier to erradicate than patriarchy, even if it doesn't look like it right now.

So when you're treating them as a whole you're making a big mistake as a woman, at least from my point of view haha.


message 39: by Kim (new)

Kim | 26 comments Leo wrote: "I consider a mistake to fight patriarchy and capitalism at the same time."

Why do we need to fight capitalism at all? Women just need to have equal representation in capitalism. Is that what you mean by fight, fighting for equal representation and pay?

I am not so sure you can change one without affecting the other. If women have more say at home or in government, it seems like that would mean women would eventually also play more of a role in the larger economics of society. And vice versa. If a woman has a good job and is financially independent, she has more say at home over finances and how money is spent.


message 40: by Kylie (new)

Kylie Reardon | 49 comments Leo, It's more like they CANNOT be separated, purely because one effects the other, and each one has roots in the other. Viewing them as related doesn't mean that it wouldn't require different tactics to approach each, it just means that acknowledging that one correlates with the other is necessary.


message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

Kylie wrote: "Leo, It's more like they CANNOT be separated, purely because one effects the other, and each one has roots in the other. Viewing them as related doesn't mean that it wouldn't require different tact..."

Sure, but I said that I agree with that from the very beggining :P


message 42: by S. K. (new)

S. K. Pentecost | 63 comments Katelyn wrote: "Patriarchy has nothing to do with the acts of individuals in their own homes, though. ... Patriarchy and capitalism are both forces that exacerbate these issues [ecologically irresponsible population levels?]."

Patriarchy has a huge influence on the acts of individuals in their own homes, since it is a social system. Capitalism (the Free Market kind) has shown itself to be resistant to market forces to run cleanly, because running dirty is cheaper. In my fair town, thru democratic process, it was decided by referendum to avoid green energy for now because fossil fuels are so much cheaper.

The argument that change has to come from the top down rubs my back hair the wrong way. In a government that at least claims to be by the people, for the people, top down change is asking people to vote against their pocket books, their comfort levels, and their sense of independence.

I understand that fossil fuels are only cheaper on the surface, and that if we incorporated the cost for clean up and mitigation in our power and heating bills, then green energy becomes competitive, but that still means raising prices, and people (until it becomes an unignorable factor in their lives that the cheap stuff is poison) tend not to voluntarily pay more for that stuff.

And that is why I advocate grass roots change. A substantial group of people making a conscious decision to kill their own cars, to invest in the hefty initial price tag of insulating their homes to green levels, to pay more and shop harder to avoid industrialized food products, these are the things that make the market and the politicians pay attention. These are all ways for regular people to advocate for change. Because writing our representatives and signing petitions isn't going to be enough. Green industry needs dollars in its pockets to buy more politicians than the fossil fuel lobby.

I know that's a pessimistic viewpoint. But what are our other options? The argument here seems to be that capitalism is inherently degrading to the environment. But we beat communism in the late 80's and communism wasn't doing so hot in the environmental or patriarchal departments. My sole experience with socialism (multiple trips thru Canada) has shown me a similar disregard for the environment when it comes to generating revenue, (the tar sands in northern Alberta.) So capitalism is what we (the U.S.) have got for now. And living as close to the arctic as I do, witnessing daily the effects of climate change, I'm telling you that now is the time.


message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

S. K. wrote: "And that is why I advocate grass roots change. A substantial group of people making a conscious decision to kill their own cars, to invest in the hefty initial price tag of insulating their homes to green levels, to pay more and shop harder to avoid industrialized food products, these are the things that make the market and the politicians pay attention. These are all ways for regular people to advocate for change. Because writing our representatives and signing petitions isn't going to be enough. Green industry needs dollars in its pockets to buy more politicians than the fossil fuel lobby."

I think a mixture of bottom-up and top-down solutions is the best. I disagree that regular people can advocate change so easily. Working in the ecological sector, I can say that it is very difficult to not use cars. Cars are needed e.g. for monitoring purposes, to reach remote areas and to go from remote areas to conferences. A lot of these solutions you mentioned are also only available to rich people who can afford to go green.

A mixture of solutions however ensures that the wishes of people who cannot afford to go green are implemented while also implementing practical solutions at the individual levels.


message 44: by S. K. (new)

S. K. Pentecost | 63 comments Anja wrote: "Cars are needed..."

As a 13 year full time, year round, bicycle commuter in some fairly heinous Alaskan weather, I utterly disagree about the necessity of privately owned cars. But I readily concede that I am maybe a little rabid about bikes' ability to save the world.

I do agree that it's going to take a mixture of solutions to ween the world off of its addiction to deceptively cheap luxury. I am always going to advocate for the grumpy old man strategies of all around toughness and good old fashioned self reliance, but this issue is way too important for me to sabotage it with self righteousness.

So, different paths to the same truth and all that, but if anyone wants to know how I kicked the car habit, it doesn't take much to get me to wax long on that subject.


message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

S. K. wrote: "Anja wrote: "Cars are needed..."

As a 13 year full time, year round, bicycle commuter in some fairly heinous Alaskan weather, I utterly disagree about the necessity of privately owned cars. But I ..."


I am assuming you are not physically disabled. A solution that works for you due to your privilege must not be applicable to every person. You have flexibility with your bicycle, but people who are not able to cycle and use public transportation will not have the same flexibility and still have to find out how to get to and away from the public stops to their destination. I myself don't have a car and rely on public transport and my bicycle but I know that I have the privilege to do so.

How do you suggest that environmental organisations do the monitoring of fauna and flora that is included in their tasks? It would take much too long with a bike to get to the points and the monitoring is sometimes in remote areas. Some work can be done by foot or bicycles and usually is done, but not all of it is possible.


message 46: by Kim (last edited Mar 05, 2016 09:46AM) (new)

Kim | 26 comments Where I live, the narrow roads combined with busy traffic and big trucks make bicycle riding on the side of the road dangerous and obstructs car traffic flow. There are rail trails for bicycling nearby, but commuting to work via bicycle is dangerous.

Plus, you have to be in really good shape to commute long distances to work, which is what many people do. And then you would probably need to take a shower at work after all that bicycling. While I think it is great that some people do this, it is not for everyone.

I don't bicycle in the winter anymore after I hit some black ice on my bicycle at a busy intersection, fell and nearly slid under a car. I've had conversations with people who do a lot of biking in traffic here, and almost all of them had been purposely run off the road at some point by some jerk in a car or truck. There is a lot of hostility toward bicyclists on the roads who back up traffic.

And you still need to be able to transport kids and get groceries. Hybrid and electric cars are good options for everyone else. Every year those cars get better and better. Government can help by offering subsides via tax credits to those willing to buy environmentally friendly cars.


message 47: by Kim (new)

Kim | 26 comments Anja wrote: "I think a mixture of bottom-up and top-down solutions is the best."

I agree. Government can help shift the market in greener directions by offering tax incentives for going green and by regulating and a penalizing non-green options.

For example, I would like to see stricter building codes that force water and energy efficiency more than they do now. It is much more costly to retrofit houses to be energy efficient than to have them built that way from the start. Most people have a hard enough time just paying the mortgage. They can't afford to pay for all the energy upgrades on top of that.

And grass roots people at the bottom can help get everyone else to push government to enact and enforce green laws.


message 48: by Kim (new)

Kim | 26 comments S. K. wrote: "Because writing our representatives and signing petitions isn't going to be enough. Green industry needs dollars in its pockets to buy more politicians than the fossil fuel lobby."

Now that is a real problem. Right now corporations are so strong in the USA that it is practically impossible to enact any laws that those corporations don't like. People are getting fed up about it, which is why you are seeing Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump doing so well in the primaries. People are tired of the government only caring about corporate interests and ignoring the will of the people.


message 49: by Kim (new)

Kim | 26 comments Kylie wrote: "I've made several unsuccessful attempts at vegetarianism so I would love to hear every one else's thoughts on this topic "

I think the key is to keep searching for vegetarian meals that you really like and that are easy to make. Over time, you can eat more of those than the meat-based meals.

It can be overwhelming to try to switch over to vegetarianism all at once. Plus, if you have kids or a husband or boyfriend that you live with, they may resist, so some compromise must be made.

I'm not vegetarian, but my husband and I are making an effort to move more in that direction. It isn't easy. Vegetarian meals can take a lot of time to prepare.


message 50: by Katelyn, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Katelyn (katelynrh) | 836 comments Mod
I'm a pescatarian, although I mostly eat vegetarian. My partner eats meat, but we rarely buy it when we go food shopping, so mostly he only eats meat when he's out. It's healthy and good for our budget, too!

It's sometimes hard, but I've found that I've come to enjoy foods that I hadn't really likes before I cut out meat (about 4 years ago, and before that I had been eating less of it for a couple of years).

And to clarify a point I made earlier: Patriarchy does indeed affect individuals' behaviors, but it is not created by them. It's a systemic issue. Saying that a man uses heating less doesn't really have anything to do with patriarchy and does not discount the ways in which patriarchy and capitalism together have negative impacts on the environment.


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