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Earth EEs/EHEs; Planetary Consciousness
Record Type: Review   ID: 59

Earthcare: Women and the Environment

Merchant, Carolyn

 This deeply thought-out book, based in a long-felt consciousness of Earth connection, "looks at the age-old connections between women and nature, symbols of nature as female, and women’s practices and daily interactions with the earth" (p. xv). Against this backdrop, she concludes that "the complexity of these symbols and practices over time preclude any simple essentialism that women’s nature is to nurture," pointing out that both men and women have participated in negative and problematical as well as positive constructions of nature and environment. Instead, she presents "an ethic of earthcare grounded in a sense of partnership between humans, earth, and other life forms. Both people and nature, in this view, are seen as sharing equal power rather than either one dominating the other. It is based on a sense of balance and process between them: "An earthcare ethic, rooted in this dynamic relationship, would be initiated by humans, but it is carried out by means of "listening to, hearing, and responding to the voice of nature" (p. xix). Moreover, in place of rendering nature as male or female, she sets forth "a view of nature as a process, one that is more powerful and longer lasting than human societies and human beings" (p. xxii). It also would be based in the recognition that earth "is home to a multitude of other living and nonliving things, many of which are beautiful and inspiring in their own right" (p. xxii). This is a work not so much of ecofeminism as ecohumanism.
Publisher Information:New York: Routledge, 1995. 280p. Chap. notes: 226-267; 22 illus; Ind: 269-280; 2 tables
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