Author(s): Greta Claire Gaard
Australian feminist philosopher Val Plumwood coined the term “critical ecofeminism” to “situate humans in ecological terms and non-humans in ethical terms,” for “the two tasks are interconnected, and cannot be addressed properly in isolation from each other.” Variously using the terms “critical ecological feminism,” “critical anti-dualist ecological feminism,” and “critical ecofeminism,” Plumwood’s work developed amid a range of perspectives describing feminist intersections with ecopolitical issues—i.e., toxic production and toxic wastes, indigenous sovereignty, global economic justice, species justice, colonialism and dominant masculinity. Well over a decade before the emergence of posthumanist theory and the new materialisms, Plumwood’s critical ecofeminist framework articulates an implicit posthumanism and respect for the animacy of all earthothers, exposing the linkages among diverse forms of oppression, and providing a theoretical basis for further activist coalitions and interdisciplinary scholarship. Had Plumwood lived another ten years, she might have described her work as “Anthropocene Ecofeminism,” “Critical Material Ecofeminism,” “Posthumanist Anticolonial Ecofeminism”—all of these inflections are present in her work. Here, Critical Ecofeminism advances upon Plumwood’s intellectual, activist, and scholarly work by exploring its implications for a range of contemporary perspectives and issues--critical animal studies, plant studies, sustainability studies, environmental justice, climate change and climate justice, masculinities and sexualities. With the insights available through a critical ecofeminism, these diverse eco-justice perspectives become more robust.