Women speak out on the environment
This issue of the UNESCO Courier is testimony to what women all over the world are thinking and doing about the ecological crisis affecting our daily lives - thoughts and actions that have their roots in centuries of observation and understanding of nature. It raises the question of whether women, through their closeness to the earth and their instinct to protect and nurture all that is near to them, have a special environmental awareness.
The following pages show that women are in many cases victims of the destructive forces in the environmental struggle and prime movers against them. They are claiming a place in the forefront of environmental action strategies. They maintain that nature does not belong to humankind but humankind to nature.
The women who write here represent the experience of thousands of others who share their concerns about the health of our peoples, our lands, our waters, our wastes, our systems, our values, our societies. Whether in rural areas or in towns and cities, they are through their actions showing the way to a healthy environment. Fully aware of the global ecological situation, they are acting locally to start to make things better.
The writers warn us to question the notion of unlimited economic growth and expansion. They speak out against the marginalization of peoples and countries, whether in the North or in the South. They protest against the disappearance of biological and cultural diversity, and challenge those military and industrial processes that cause environmental degradation and the displacement of peoples, overconsumption, debt and poverty.
Instead, they commit themselves to a relationship with the environment based on principles of regeneration and reciprocity, and on the forming of partnerships between cultures, religions, classes, languages and genders.
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