Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Pink + Green

A friend of mine was asked to speak at the "Pink and Green Coalition" conference here in Washington the other week. At the time, she said something about reproductive freedom is important for controlling population, which has an impact on the environment. While that is true, the difference and alliance of the feminist movement and the environmental movement is a complex one.

As Anne Statham said in 2000 (note: I could only access the abstract), feminists tend to have a more reactionary view of the world, while environmentalists take a "holistic life view." So the idea of joining these two movements isn't exactly a brand-new one. I was thinking about it on my own, and I came up with a few things that feminists that are pro-environmental can think about:
  • One thing brought to my attention was the simple cost of having a period. Seems silly, right? But the amount of waste generated by this monthly experience is something to think about. Tampons, sanitary napkins, and panty liners all generate a significant amount of waste over the period of a lifetime. Products like the Keeper and the Mooncup are designed to reduce waste. I myself haven't tried these products, but I have to admit, it's food for thought.
  • If periods indeed generate so much waste, why not simply reduce the number of them? With hormonal birth control, you can simply have a period once every three months instead of once a month, thus cutting the use of feminine products by two-thirds.
  • Given that, I'm not sure if hormonal birth-control treatments are manufactured in an environmentally friendly way. Where does the waste go?
  • Besides all that icky period stuff, there's something for third-wave enviro-feminists to think about in particular. Makeup that's manufactured in an environmentally and animal un-friendly should be avoided. Not to mention that the volume of packaging makeup sometimes comes in is a bit ridiculous.
Those are just a few things I started thinking about that, as a feminist, I never really considered before. I don't know if this means I'm going to run out and buy a Mooncup, but I'll definitely bethinking about those kinds of things more going forward.

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