Ecofeminism Goes Electronic
PulseWire is instituting an exciting evolution of grassroots empowerment of women via online communication that represents an extraordinary opportunity for increasing awareness of critical situations and calls to action on a global scale. Electronic Citizen Journalism strengthens the concept of ecofeminism, which focuses on environmental concerns; feminist communication strategies of cooperation, caring, and grassroots action; and the much-maligned feature of human capacity involving emotions, intuition, and spirituality.
Web 2.0 gives power to the phenomenon Hawken writes about in Blessed Unrest, a book that gives a sampling of a global range of individuals and nonprofit organizations heroically tackling serious social, economic, and environmental problems. However, printed material in hardcopy form reaches a limited number of the world’s citizens hungering for ways and means of improving their situation. Electronic communication provides extraordinary ability to reach individuals usually beyond the reach of standard media. In reading PulseWire’s introductory commentaries from women all over the world during the past few weeks, I have become aware of their life challenges described in their own words in places I’ll probably never visit. However, I found myself coming to more fully understand and consider how to support the concerns and dreams of these, my far-flung sisters.
Much of my life is spent in India and I remember traveling one night through the streets of Mumbai (Bombay) a couple of years ago and seeing not just one, but two homeless people on the sidewalks of the city’s busy streets peering into the blue glow of their mobile (cell) phones. This contradictory phenomena exists in a country that has developed extraordinary IT proficiency quickly and helped propel a fifth of its citizens into middle class status.
My work as an independent consultant relates to addressing the communication challenges of improving use of energy in the built environment, an area that consumes nearly half our energy resources globally. I’ve been splitting my time between North America and South Asia for the past six years and using my digital camera and laptop with links to the Internet to stimulate awareness and action relating to energy conservation and sustainable energy and living practices. I publish and present internationally, but Web 2.0 promises a radical increase in my ability to convey information and action alerts that can spur women to expand the energy revolution.
Studies are proving that even small improvements in women’s situations (e.g. micro-loans) can bring immediate and stunning results in the health, education, and general well-being of families and communities. Citizen Journalism can assist in giving voice to situations in the world where women are or need to be empowered by alerting their global sisters to offer spiritual, financial, and on-the-ground support. Online communication has extraordinary capacity for networking and strengthening grassroots efforts. PulseWire’s initiative can help activate partnership instead of brute power, cooperation instead of brutal competition, and an Earth-centered consciousness instead of mere economic fixation. Ecofeminism can be strengthened to go global.