Sunday, April 20, 2008

Women in a post-carbon world

Just a few articles I thought I'd share...

Carolyn Baker wrote an article a few years back examining women and (quite interestingly) the feminine principle in relation to Peak Oil -- more specifically, as a part of life after the crash. In it, she raised issues that would mainly impact women in a post-carbon world (e.g. access to contraception and reproductive health-care) and questioned the fact that more women weren't (aren't?) involved in the Peak Oil movement. By exploring the "feminine principle", Baker refers to "nurturance, acceptance, generativity, eroticism, warmth, generosity, openness, introspection" and how these things contrast with the damage we've done to the ecosystem and how it's brought us to where we are today with global warming and Peak Oil. (Baker's website can be found here.)

Sharon Astyk wrote a piece that same year called "Peak Oil is a Women's Issue" that addressed the current vulnerability of women living in what's essentially a man's world (i.e. wage disparity, high percentage of women taking on solo childrearing, et al.) and what this could entail in a society in the midst of (or following) economic collapse. She also addressed the non-involvement of women in the Peak Oil movement, writing about her experience at a conference for The Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO) and the ridiculously misogynistic old boy's school mentality which she encountered there. Astyk described it as "the habit of people in power of being powerful, and thus, not thinking very much about less powerful people". Astyk raised concerns that in a post-Peak world, women's access to education, health care and social programs -- three things that are often the first to suffer cuts in hard economic times -- could contribute to furthering the poverty and vulnerability of women, and that this would all tie into the population issue which will be of foremost concern in harder times as resources become more scarce.

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