Having immigrant parents from Nigeria, especially one that lived in the countryside, has made me love and respect the land as it is the source of earthly life. I am biased and self-praising because I have very little interaction with the “natural” environment. As a native of New York City, I have been lucky to have a backyard…which is the extent to which I directly interact with the natural environment. It belongs to my family because my parents own the house that comes with that plot of green-space.
I surprisingly don’t spend a lot of time outdoors because my family recently moved and our backyard is not finished. I find it interesting that I am less likely to spend time outside in nature if it is not a tamed or manicured. Ironically, I don’t think I would call it nature if I was surrounded by anthropogenic materials and not soil, grass, and twigs. Since there are more man-made ponds and paved roads in my neighborhood, I do not consider myself to have numerous interactions with the land. I feel more immersed in nature and connected to the land when I have the opportunity to see vast farms and gardens as I do on my drives to and from Pennsylvania. Granted I’ve said that I have a great respect for the land, since I do not regularly come in contact with it and my surroundings do not mirror a sustainable and natural setting, I sometimes feel distant in my relationship with the land. For example, since I do not drive by a wheat farm everyday on my way to school, it never occurs to me that my livelihood and well-being rely on that wheat for commodities such as my beloved Kashi Instant Oatmeal and Kellogg’s Crispix.
This course has been a welcome reminder to these kinds of connections. Ecofeminism has allowed me to maturely appreciate the ingenuity of the land on which I live and on which I receive my food and consequently my life. I entered the course with the utmost respect for the land, but I have gained a more in depth knowledge of environmental and social injustices, and how my existence impacts the environment. Living in my neighborhood has made me conscious of environmental and sustainability efforts such as recycling because of my biweekly interaction with the sanitation workers and all too often littered water-bottles and plastic bags I see in the street.
Ecofeminism has also helped me to understand that although a person (like me) might live in an industrialized area, that area is still apart of the earth and nature, in its most simple form. Wherever I am, I am still on the earth. Whether it is my suburban queens neighborhood, or an organic college farm, it is still a unique plot of land that indirectly or directly sustains life. It is to be treated with care and respect so that it will be able to provide the amenities it provides today for future generations.