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Oral history and ecofeminism

Oral history is envisioned here as a method that enables the telling of stories which can disrupt some of the tenacious myths about ecofeminism, myths which have often been invoked to dismiss ecofeminism, reducing it to being about women having a special, close relationship with nature, to being essentialist.

Barbara Gates (1998, 20) offers a useful account of ecofeminism: “inherent in ecofeminism is a belief in the interconnection of all living things”. She continues, “since all life is nature, no part of it can be closer than another to ‘nature.’”

So interviews did not involve asking women whether they were closer than men to nature, or more concerned about the environment than men. Nor were participants asked specifically about their relationship with nature, trees, forests, and wilderness, or discuss whether maternalism spurred them to activism, whether they were concerned about the future of their children or grandchildren, whether their actions were essentialist, or even whether they thought about their activism as explicitly rejecting essentialism. Instead participants were asked to tell the story of their lives, the story of how they came to be in Clayoquot.

Browse through our collection of oral history interviews and listen to some of these stories.