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Ecowomanism emerges from third wave womanist thought that emphasises interdisciplinary, interreligious and intergenerational dialogue as approaches to environmental ethics. Ecowomanism unashamedly validates the importance of the perspectives of women of color, and especially the voices, perspectives and contributions of women of African descent.
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Xiumei Pu

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This essay explores the synergies between ecowomanism and Bön, a spiritual tradition that is indigenous to Tibet. It develops the concept of “ecospirituality,” a nature-inspired spiritual way of knowing and living, arguing that ecowomanism and Bön gravitate toward each other for their shared ecospiritual sensibility. This sensibility has the potential to generate and sustain possibilities for social and environment wellbeing. An examination of the ecospiritual synergies between ecowomanism and Bön can inspire new ways of knowing and help create constructive methods of making positive changes at individual, social, and environmental levels.

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Layli Maparyan

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Ecowomanism focuses on the relationships between humans and nature through a spiritualized lens. Three core principles of ecowomanism are Livingkind (all living things are of a type), Aliveness (life pervades all creation, visible and invisible), and Luminosity (all living things are filled with light and spirit). Ecowomanism makes a unique, spiritually infused, ecological activist praxis possible. Three notable exemplars of this praxis are Sister Chan Khong (who established Sweet Potato Farm in France as part of her mindfulness-based peace activism), Kiran Bedi (who elevated the dignity of prisoners through her beautification of Tihar Jail/Ashram in India), and Wangari Maathai (who conscientized members of the Kenyan military by helping them to see the value of protecting the natural environment and planting trees as part of the Green Belt Movement).

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Rose Mary Amenga-Etego

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Nankani women are not only thought to believe they are spiritual beings; they are also made to understand that they are structurally interwoven with their ecosystem. From the mythical and proverbial saying, ‘he who wilfully kills a woman has invoked upon himself a curse that he can never fully rectify,’ to the religio-cultural symbolic representations of the woman as a calabash (vegetation) and/or and earthen pot (sand/clay), Nankani women are socialized to accept and recognise their integral place and role in their society’s life and wellbeing. Thus strategically entangled with the family, clan and the community’s beliefs and practices; the women believe they are purposefully situated to play their multi-tasking roles just as a pregnant woman nurtures and sustains the life within her. This paper provides some insights into Nankani women’s spirituality and ecology.

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Melanie L. Harris

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Melanie L. Harris

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Melanie L. Harris

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Melanie L. Harris

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This essay provides a definition and theoretical frame for ecowomanism. The approach to environmental justice centers the perspectives of women of African descent and reflects upon these women’s activist methods, religious practices, and theories on how to engage earth justice. As a part of the womanist tradition, methodologically ecowomanism features race, class, gender intersectional analysis to examine environmental injustice around the planet. Thus, it builds upon an environmental justice paradigm that also links social justice to environmental justice. Ecowomanism highlights the necessity for race-class-gender intersectional analysis when examining the logic of domination, and unjust public policies that result in environmental health disparities that historically disadvantage communities of color. As an aspect of third wave womanist religious thought, ecowomanism is also shaped by religious worldviews reflective of African cosmologies and uphold a moral imperative for earth justice. Noting the significance of African and Native American cosmologies that link divine, human and nature realms into an interconnected web of life, ecowomanism takes into account the religious practices and spiritual beliefs that are important tenets and points of inspiration for ecowomanist activism.

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Mercy Oduyoye

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Sofía Betancourt

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The ground of ecowomanist ethics is watered by multigenerational responses to racial and gender stereotypes in relation to communal knowledge of the land. This wisdom survived through centuries of violence and the daily lived experience of bigotry and abuse in a white supremacist world, and rests on pluralistic understandings of the sacred relationship between human and non-human nature. It remains today as part of the womanist call to accountability and spirit defined in Alice Walker’s writings. Emergent ecowomanist thought is uniquely situated to interrupt many of the stereotypes that serve to maintain a separation between black communities and environmental engagement. This article argues that a robust ecowomanist ethics should situate itself in the interplay between ecojustice and environmental justice approaches to environmental devastation. It draws on the poem “No Images,” written by William Waring Cuney at the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance period, centering on the lived experiences of black women as expressed through black women’s musical appropriations of his work. The clear lamentation and grief interwoven between the words of this short poem are given new life in the voices of Nina Simone and Ysaye Maria Barnwell with the women of Sweet Honey in the Rock. Engaging questions of environmental ethics through the lens of black women’s lived experiences of agency and struggle can create a theological foundation for ecowomanist thought that promotes the preservation of both nature and human dignity.