Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day 2009: Environmental Stewardship and Women

This post truly will be the beginning of some thoughts on why women play a very special role in environmental stewardship and how that role has changed over time.  Before more modern women Lois Gibbs and Rachel Carson,  women such as Ellen Swallow Richards were pioneering women's involvement in environmental issues.

In the upcoming days and weeks, I will cover in more detail the environment as a woman's issue. A google search for "Women and the Environment" brings up over seventy million results. The topic is not new, but hopefully we can all learn something from the series.
In the coming days and weeks, I will cover a few of the many reasons why women need to take an active role in environmental issues, including:
  • Biology, bioaccumulation and estrogen mimics
  • Socio-economic considerations and exposure rates for women
  • Occupational difference impact risk
  • "Hysterical Housewives" and "Emotional Fanatics" practicing "domestic science" using "housewife data."
  • International Trade, The Budget and why The Government cannot protect you
  • Women as mothers
  • There are no small things (including the purchasing power of women!)
Before I go there though, on this Earth Day, I want to share a bit of where I am coming from. As many of you know, I grew up in Minnesota. Rural Minnesota. My dad is a farmer, and on my mom's side, my grandparent's own a cabin in the woods. At times I am torn between the real issues my father faces and the environmental stances I hold. I think it keeps me grounded a bit in reality, but it does not stop me from questioning.
I spent a lot of time growing up at my grandparent's cabin. It lacks running water and many of the modern day conveniences most are accustomed too.  Recent upgrades have included a composting toilet and (gasp!) a telephone line! We spent the days clearing brush, digging earth worms, and fishing. During the fall we would hunt. You can hear the loons calling and the water is clear. I used to sit on the dock (and still do when I can) and see this:
Spending a lot of time in the wilderness certainly opened my eyes and taught me a healthy level of respect for nature and the environment.Yes, I know how to fish and hunt. I can start a campfire and cut down a tree...
But I also know how to sit in the quiet and enjoy a fawn drinking by the water's edge. 
That special time in my life forever shaped me and my love of nature. Later in life, I came to respect my body and the other issues surrounding the environment, but at first, I was simply struck by the beauty. Environmental stewardship takes on many forms and meanings, but as women, it needs to take on a special role in our lives. This brings us to the next post, which I hope to have up in the next couple of days-- Biology, bioaccumulation, and estrogen mimics.
Some resources if you are interested in learning and/or doing more.

Now for the fun part-- the contest submissions and winners!!!
Rachel found a great soap company and is going dark on Earth Day! Find out why and how!
Alicia on what she does to teach her children environmental stewardship.

So, before I break the tension with the winners. I am adding a fourth prize, because well... four entries, three prizes... I can afford a fourth, so I have a fourth prize!  For the ladies (no men entered! Boo!!!) winning Baggu bags, please go to the website and tell me which two colors you would like (comments or email). Also, email me your address, so I can send you the prize!

The Diva Cup-- Rachel
Baggu-- Bethany
Baggu-- Alicia
Baggu-- Erin


Erin said...

Thanks again, Maria. This is an area I know I am not well-informed in and I am looking forward to your posts on the different issues. I am thankful for the way you stretch me to think. My extended breastfeeding past a year is due to you and now I will be ordering a diva cup due to you too. Looking forward to the upcoming posts and I will e-mail you for my prize! Thanks again:)

Maria said...

You're welcome Erin! It really is my pleasure. :)

Rachel said...

Oh, thank you!! I love everything you do to give a voice to environmental and women's issues. And I completely agree that the two are completely connected!

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