Memorial Day, a day of remembrance in the US for fallen soldiers, is also a day of shopping for many Americans—at least, according to TIME magazine it is. The social media data in the article suggest that most people were more excited about shopping this past Memorial Day weekend than they have been in years.
Inga Muscio's Rose: Love in Violent Times is a heart-wrenching journey, with ups and downs, depressing moments mirrored by inspirational ones. It is beautiful, and though it largely continues with Muscio's usual themes of feminism and antiracism, I would file this book under "ecofeminism" as well.
Muscio's latest, published last year, picks up where her classic Cunt: A Declaration of Independence left off. Rose is divided into two sections: Violence and Love. It's written in Muscio's standard conversational yet highly informed tone, touching on history, culture, and anecdotes from her own life, seamlessly sewing it all together in a beautiful, diverse patchwork quilt. "Violence" talks about violence in our culture, engrained as it is, and speaks much about rape and safety.
With everything from mindless consumerism to car emissions wreaking havoc on the earth, we know full well that humans do more harm to the environment than good. In fact, it seems that human existence sucks the life out of the planet. (Some existences are more damaging than others, of course). So what is an ecofeminist-minded activist with a penchant for guilt and a need to heal to do? The answer can be permaculture.
Within the last several years, some great eco-themed movies have swirled about in theaters and Netflix queues. Both scripted and documentary, these films have been effective at conscious-raising and spreading the word to take action to heal our wilting planet. They cover some of the bases of our eco-crisis, but this is in no way a comprehensive list. It is only a sampler platter of the fine films out there! All of these films can be viewed through an ecofeminist lens, bridging the gap between environmental issues and feminist ones. There are layers of oppression in everything from food justice to gentrification, and there is much ground to tap into and discussion to be had.
In an effort to avoid as many chemicals as I can in our toxic world, I do my best to not put anything on my face that I couldn't put in my mouth. For many people, though, mainstream beauty products are standard items. According to a Bloomberg report, the average American woman uses about twelve health and beauty products on her face every morning. From formaldehyde in shampoo to lead in lipstick, that's a lot of toxins to be absorbing.
I began as an urban gardener. Urban farming is imperative to cities, and I had thought my husband and I would eventually be urban farmers—but alas, that is not where life has taken us, and we currently rent land in a halfway suburb, one that straddles concrete city and corn-strewn country.
There are a lot of simple ways to try and prevent toxins from being absorbed into your body. Everything from new clothes to drugstore make-up to regular deodorant carries toxins, and your skin, which happens to be the largest eliminating organ your body has, absorbs all that it comes in contact with. But fear not; much can be done to avoid these contacts (wearing organic materials or thrift clothes that have been washed numerous times, wearing natural or no make-up, using a deodorant crystal or another homemade product are a few examples). One of the simplest things you can do (if you don't already) is to stop using conventional menstruation products.
When I found out that Starhawk, famed Earth Activist, spiritual feminist, Witch and permaculturist, had written a children's book, I bought it before I knew I was ever going to be pregnant. The pictures, done by artist Lindy Kehoe, are beautiful paintings. The story centers on an herbalist (or witch), and introduces children to a woman healer making healing decoctions with herbs, emphasizing how important it is to keep wilderness, healthy plants, and wild spirits within alive, as well as being appreciative of the women (and men) who take care of the natural world. The herbalist witch in the book knows the natural world intimately, and knows how to respectfully and ethically use plants to make strong teas, brews and "soups." She not only uses the natural world, she is part of it, intertwined seamlessly in its tree branches, helping give health to it just as it gives it back to her.