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Patriarchy is a stumbling block on the way to sustainable world: Porritt

Jan 30, 2014

Violence against women and violence against the earth seems to originate from the same hatefully exploitative economic system, writes Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director of Forum for the Future.

Jonathon Porritt

New Delhi: Politically, I cut my teeth with the Green Party in the UK back in the 1970s.  In comparison to today’s ever-so nuanced and modulated tones, our discussions back then bristled with radical ideas about deep ecology, environmental justice, pacifism and eco-feminism.  In that latter regard, violence against women and violence against the Earth was seen to originate from the same hatefully exploitative economic system – ‘a philosophy based on a contempt for life’, as Martin Luther King put it.

So is it time to get back to some of those radically integrated ideas, finding deeper linkages across the single issues that we so comfortably become dependent on?

That would of course mean telling it as it is: men still rule the world, cause most of the violence in the world (as is so palpably evident in India as well as in many other countries), more readily trade off the things we hold most dear against their testosterone-driven dream of status and wealth, care less about the environment, and do far less of the heavy lifting required to keep family, community and the land in good heart and health.

“Patriarchy” is not a redundant conceptual throwback to the 1960s and 1970s: it is still the defining feature of most of our societies today, and one of the principal reasons we may still fail to fashion a just, compassionate and genuinely sustainable world for 9 billion of us by 2050.

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