It was the morning of the 21st of September, I was tired and sluggish but the adrenaline pumping through my veins catapulted me from my slumber. It was the day of my first protest; for something I have felt passionate about for years but have never acted out against, maybe for a fear of ridicule or a lack of knowledge, or simply that I was too young to attend similar events on my own. All that I woke up knowing was, we had the potential to change the world.
A flash of a dreadlock, an awkward shift of a placard, the district line was growing evergreen. It was the morning of the global ‘Peoples Climate March’ and my destination was Temple Place, London. Hands stretched, allowing a plethora of creative placards to reach high into the sky, below, brimmed blossoming natural arm pit hair of its female beholders. An hour of standstill flew by, fuelled by the overheard sparkles of conversation, the pitter patter of passion. . I was home. A loud and varied cheer alerted us that we were on the move and like a waterfall of peaceful protest we cascaded through the city, ebbing and flowing through the most famous streets in London. The atmosphere was spectacular. As the sun beat down on us, it felt like the whole world was watching us and thanking us for our little, but noted, effort. Although, it may well have been the fact we found ourselves lodged behind a group of Harry Krishna with a mini-mobile stage, hefty amplification and a full band signing ‘Wild Thing’ on loop, that made us feel like the whole world was watching.
Simply by studying the demeanor of the free-spirited protest attendees, I began to draw striking parallels between what I would associate with being an Eco-Warrior with what I would expect to see in a Feminist. Maybe it’s the phrasing that caused these links, as the lexical item ‘warrior’ elicits connotations of stereotypical male attributes; strength, power and aggression. With this in mind, a female Eco-warrior could be viewed as subverting society’s gender roles by expressing these ‘male’ attributes. Caroline Lucas of the Green Party is prime example of an eco-warrior, although heavily grounded in politics within in a system some would argue is anything but free-spirited, the basis of all her campaigning is to protect our planet, pouring all her physical energy into revolutionising green energy via her anti-fracking movement. The semantic links between an eco-warrior and feminist may be one reason my mind led me to ponder the similarities, but I feel it spans deeper into the roots of reason, into the earth. Eco-warriors wish to protect our natural land, they essentially fight for those that don’t have a voice (animals, plants, resources), which is what Feminists do for gender equality, they speak out for those who may see the problem but fear to act or those that ignore the problem despite suffering the consequences, or the mass of Western women who simply deny the suffering altogether.
For years, we’ve felt the negligence of our Earth and of our most oppressed groups, it could even be claimed that the way in which we continue to destroy and consume our fertile land, mimics the way in which we exploit our women. The recent viral videos of Leonardo Di’Caprio and Emma Watson delivering powerful speeches at the UN summits on both climate change and feminism, evermore highlight the intrinsic nature of these topics. There definitely seems to be a rise in global awareness and it’s certainly an exciting time to be alive and to be passionate. Global protests fighting for Eco-change highlight a milestone in forward thinking in an age where the backlash can be strong and repressive to those who want to speak out. It gives a remarkable sense of hope for the future and creates a sense of community and courage for the activists in us all whether it be feminism, climate change, peace, LGBT rights, human rights etc. If we keep pushing forward, the world cannot continue to ignore these problems and the uneducated will lose the ‘un’ and the support will grow and things, eventually, will change.
Ultimately, it’s not about why we need feminism; it’s about why we need equality for the land and land dwellers alike. We need to protect our Mother Earth as much as the mothers upon the Earth.