Today I was busy with my daily activities when, looking out the window, I noticed the dull color of the sky. “What strange weather!” I thought. In a few seconds, I envisioned an apocalyptic scenario that we could dive into in a few years. You may wonder how you can be so melodramatic at five o’clock on a Monday evening. And I go further: the point is not that this melodrama came into my head just like that, without meaning and justification, but that we really already live in an alarming situation that we do not want to accept. We still enjoy a number of privileges that baffle our consciences: fruit and vegetables can be found any day of the week, that the sun rises and doesn’t scorch in December, or that we can swim in the sea, among other things. It’s interesting how much time we have left and how hopeless it is to see that, in fact, the movie “Don’t Look Up” that was talked about so much, or the series “Years and Years” can become a reality.
The population lives, immersed in their daily problems: what if inflation, and suddenly unemployment, and suddenly war … An infinite number of factors that justify fatigue and apathy in order to embark on the path of action. We are used to a defeatist discourse in which nothing is impossible, only the expectation of what will happen. “There are many interests,” they say. “There are many things we don’t know, better focus on your life.” I wonder if all these discursive frameworks will save us from the insecurities, the anxiety that young people feel, the destruction of the environment, the agony of not being able to plan for the future, and the rise of the extreme right in Europe. Hasn’t history shown us that with political and civic will it is possible to win? Back to specific facts:
I start from the end, that is, from the very last. Yolanda Diaz was able to approve the labor reform after so many obstacles imposed even within the government. It is also true that within the left itself there are many arguments for and against due to the fact that some issues have remained in the inkwell, such as subcontracting and other important issues related to ERTE. However, if we get down to business, the unemployment rate is at its lowest level since 2008. Temporary employment has fallen by a percentage that we could not imagine since those years of PP decrees provoked by alleged pressure from the European Parliament. For the record, I’m not saying this because it’s not true, but because the will of the government may or may not go along with those European instructions that are harmful to the country. During the pandemic, precisely because of policies contrary to those pursued during the difficult years of the financial crisis (which was impossible just five years ago, according to the political discourse of most of the Parliament of that time), we were rewarded as a country in European aid. Spain is the first in the European Parliament to receive ten billion euros from the Next Generation Recovery Plan. If we are talking about social mobilization, we cannot leave aside the recent agreements with the transport sector, or those that have made it possible to negotiate situations in which the workforce was at risk, such as in the case of Bershka employees. Or the demonstrations against the war in Iraq in 2003 and 2004, which confirmed the anti-militarist culture of the population, setting the political agenda almost twenty years later.
The taste is bittersweet in many cases because the necessary structural changes are not achieved. However, we must focus on what really matters: mobilization always creates precedents and awareness. We have as an example a huge move of 15M; Many voices say that all this noise completely disarmed, leaving only the ashes of that great fire. You can’t say no, but you can also argue that a new independent digital journalism has been founded thanks to this citizen protest. The feminist movement grew, as did the debates that flowed from it and were brought up for discussion. And the ecological consciousness of the political and educational agenda is finally starting to become a reality (albeit clearly insufficient).
Social mobilization is essential in order to influence the political decisions that shape our lives. The struggles that formed the backbone of the 20th century are no longer what they are today, we have open fronts that other previous generations did not have, such as climate change. Ecofeminism has set new challenges and placed ecology and equality at the center of the debate.
Gender inequality is structural in nature and affects many areas of women’s lives: from the difference in pay for the same positions to the amount of pensions they receive. Facts that allow you to take on your energy bill, reach the end of the month, or complete your shopping cart. Similarly, they are the main victims of climate change, as evidenced by multiple reports, including those published by the Women’s Institute in 2020 and ECODES a year earlier. The latter shows that in places where the effects of climate change impede survival and hence people are forced to migrate, women These are the ones that in most cases do not have the minimum resources to leave. Even worse for those who are mothers, as they remain in the care of the family while they make the exodus.
One of the factors that worsens this situation every day is the underrepresentation of women in decision-making, which means that after a natural disaster they do not receive the necessary assistance to continue their lives with dignity. The Sahel, located in North Africa, near the Sahara, is the area on the planet most affected by migration flows caused by climate change, and women make up a very high percentage. Women who suffer not only from forced migration, but from all the violence that this process entails: rape, forced marriage, physical and psychological abuse…
Large shopping malls that finance polluting projects around the world, such as banks, oil or electric companies, are run mostly by men. There are few women in leadership positions, despite an increase in their share in recent years. Therefore, we remain outside the key decisions regarding climate change, among many other areas of power.
Ecofeminism is not only a neologism that defines the philosophical, political and social movement, but also a lifesaver in the midst of this extractive and patriarchal chaos. Climate change is no longer a distant reality, it is part of our daily lives and, unfortunately, we are suffering from its catastrophic consequences: cancers caused by air pollution (99% of the population breathes polluted air); loss of terrestrial biodiversity, both due to monocultures and pollution of aquifers by agricultural chemicals, etc.
To all this, we must add the structural inequalities that women suffer from, whether it be commitment to care, hypersexualization of our bodies, or lack of resources in many vital aspects. The obvious result is a society whose economic base is built on various types of violence, such as the constant dispossession of many indigenous peoples of their lands for the construction of supranational mega-projects.
Apathy and the absolute transfer of political decisions cannot be the solution to this achievement of the evil that we are experiencing in 2022. History has shown that this can be done through individual and collective mobilization and that through social pressure in its various forms, by changing habits at home with political demands (with trade unionism, voting, civic cooperation and perseverance), we can certainly change the dramatic situations into less dramatic, more prepared and life-saving.
Ecofeminism is not a theory for misguided people. There are many projects in all fields, scientific, political and social, which show what can be done differently. It is costly and unnatural to plunder the planet that sustains us, rather than putting life at the center by appeasing peoples and protecting the biodiversity that makes us healthy and strong. Now, with the belligerent logic of the war in Ukraine, we will have to pay attention not to fall into a regression of our democratic rights: an increase in military spending could lead us to stop investing against the effects of climate and pandemic crises. . Peacekeeping should be the only short-term and long-term goal: to establish diplomatic relations that help resolve armed conflicts that, for many reasons, we cannot afford, to defend the agreements that have already been reached within the UN, and to demand the speedy demilitarization of countries, as well as the final nuclear disarmament. And use all that military money to solve real problems, like green energy or the development of cleaner, cheaper industries.
If we do not pay attention to what is really waiting for us, and do not stand for an unprecedented revolution, we are in for a disaster. Let’s not lose the north, now is better said than ever.
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