Feminism and global warming. Copyright R Ford.
Feminists and environmentalists find themselves on the same side of most barricades because both greens and feminists look for greater government intervention in society. Greens hope to create a sustainable society by ensuring that industry and individuals reduce their call upon natural resources by (for instance) recycling or using renewable, non polluting alternatives to present technologies. It is hoped that most people will be enthusiastic about these changes but the green movement is constantly seeking new laws to compel change- there would be no need to create a green political movement at all if being green were a purely individual matter. Feminism would seem to be quite similar at first sight- feminism is an effort to escape sex roles that some people find do not suit them. Despite this, men and women remain more or less in the same roles they have always been. Men work more hours out of the home while women work more hours within it. Despite this, feminism has become received wisdom throughout government and the media- the only place that you will find an opposing view is the internet. Every time existing reality is shown (as opposed to a feminist view of what human nature should be) it is regarded as sexist and censored. Feminists therefore find themselves calling for greater power to censor and control just as greens find themselves calling for more and power to ban harmful chemicals. It is this that is fuelling the partnership between greens and feminists rather than any objective interests both groups share.
In fact I argue that feminism and the green movement are objectively at cross purposes to one another. For one thing, feminism has resulted in more and easier divorce- and more homes as a result. More homes mean more heating, more CO2, more everything. As a result more waste is generated and more ready meals consumed in front of the TV. This creates an illusory sort of economic growth because the labour that goes into a TV meal is measured in the GDP calculations the government make each year because it is included in the price of the meal. This helps to inflate the Gross Domestic Product without raising living standards in any real way. A family meal with someone you love is more nutritious, more emotionally satisfying and better tasting but does not have the same effect of artificially boosting GDP. The break up of the family is therefore the worst type of disaster- an invisible disaster that even appears to be a success.
More broken homes mean more fatherless children. This in turn means more crime and social problems- which also boost GDP in a perverse way. When a father helps keep a child decent this is a free service and not one that appears on the national accounts. When a father is driven from the home and works as a policeman or a social worker this same labour suddenly 'counts' and is added to the GDP.
We know that something is very wrong with the way progress is counted in this country when we are told that Britain is the fourth richest country in the world (in absolute terms- not per head) any yet everyone we know is in debt. The answer to this little puzzle is clear- most of the economic growth that makes us appear so rich is simply an illusion caused by the break up of the family. We find ourselves in an affluence trap by which we must work harder and harder to pay our debts. We grow richer on paper while working ourselves to death and barely getting by.
One result of all this is environmental destruction as we are forced to make and consume rubbish. We eat meals that taste of plastic from plastic boxes, brought home in plastic bags and paid for out of next months wages with a plastic card. We know that our plastic lives are killing us but we cannot stop because we cannot have less than we have at the moment- we are only just surviving as it is.
In short, the way to preserve the environment is to save the family. The way to save the family is to create laws that remove all incentives for its destruction.