Journey toward a lesbian feminist ecology

Estelle, Amy Darden
Mitch Thomashow
Department of Environmental Studies
1990
According to page one of the Master’s Project Handbook this document should be “the culmination of [my] work at Antioch.” In this project I have chosen to give voice to my own journey, through life and Antioch. To proceed requires me to repent of the “sin of women,” not pride or leading Adam astray, but “self-forgetfulness and self-negation.” As a woman raised and educated in a time when women were not expected to say or do anything important, in a world where human experience has been equated with male experience alone, I have to reach down into my toes and bring up every ounce of courage in my being to dare to tell you the truth of my life, my search for meaning, and how that relates to resource management. There are many models, facilitators, and catalysts for this truth telling. Ursula LeGuin drawing on Virginia Woolf writes: “There is no more subversive act than the act of writing from a woman’s experience of life using a woman’s judgement.” I have tried to avoid censoring my story. If there is any hope for people like you and me to live together on this planet, it will be in part because we have the courage to tell and to listen to the stories of our lives. Unfortunately, this document is a one-way transmission, not a mutual exchange. If you have not done so, I encourage you to write and to tell your story. The written word, unlike the voice around the campfire, is frozen in time. I cannot predict what the next steps of my journey will be or how I might revise my outlook on the past. Rather than the traditional, linear, analytical master’s project, I have chosen the spiral as the metaphor of the structure of this paper. Beginning on the outer edge of the spiral, a single point on a page, the journey moves through an extensive autobiographical essay which describes formative events and experiences that provide the context or landscape of my life. Several themes emerge from these episodes: my search for God, my fascination with nature and science, the impact of social and economic injustice on my values, my disillusionment with technology, and my search for community and a species identity. Out of these themes emerges my “personal ecology”: the overlays of my own “natural resources”, that is, my personal, professional, political and spiritual identities. The inner loop of the spiral names the integration of these identities as ecofemninism and reveals my personal relationship to and philosophy of nature. The final turn into the core of the spiral is an analysis of compulsory heterosexuality and my perspective as a lesbian feminist ecologist. The purpose of this essay is three-fold: 1. to complete the master of science requirements; when viewed in conjuction with my two practica and course work, this essay will demonstrate my grasp of resource management and demonstrate my ability to think originally and critically; 2. to examine my life; after examination, to reweave its strands into a more coherent, integrated whole which reveals my personal ecology; and 3. to demonstrate the value of reflective, autobiographical writing as a learning tool.

Read Full Text