EnvironmentJuly 24, 1989
The 24th Triennial Congress of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, 14-25 July, 1989 in Sydney, Australia:
The list of so-called ecological catastrophes includes acid rain, nuclear contamination, a leak in the ozone depletion, the increasing cancer rate and the growing number of environmental refugees (at present some 25 million).
For some time we have been in the situation in which the catastrophic results of traditional technologies has had to be glossed over by ever new technologies. As long as the basic principle of the prevailing natural science and technology, i.e. exploitation of and domination over nature, is not cracked open and destroyed, this spiral will go on turning while the principle of exploitation of nature, as that of women, will follow the same patriarchal patterns.
It follows that all achievement of “technical progress” rests on the exploitation of and domination over nature. The industrial use of biological and genetic technologies consolidates the existing relationship of dependence and exploitation.
The very few states and concerns capable of dealing with the immensely high cost of research and possessing the know-how, secure for themselves the control over their prerequisites for life and production; food, natural resources and energy. Controlling these resources also means controlling the people who do not possess them.
Genetic and bio-technology is a logical extension of present day power politics. The results of their use with produce an intensified reproduction of existing power relations in society. Here are only a few examples: the so-called “Green Revolution”, the pharmaceutical industry, food exports from hunger countries, annihilation of self-supporting economies, multinational chemical concerns, wheat as a weapon, and monopolistic developments.
If the human race itself is to survive, political steps need to be taken, the environment cannot be considered as reproductable at will, and the areas of research and utilization of biological and genetic technologies cannot be treated as open playgrounds. The control over the social and economic bases in these fields is of strategic importance to international capital. Measures to check in an effective way the destruction of the environment and pillaging of this planet, and to stop it in the long run, are possible if they are tackled on the basis of comprehensive political and economic principles and transformation of social consciousness. Women must play a decisive role in this – as those concerned, and is critical observers as well as fighters for a radical utopia.
Congress is asked to resolve:
(1) To include the subject in the international action program and to ensure that as far as possible these problems are discussed and analyzed in the sections, and that in this process the related issues are also considered;
(2) To cooperate with women and women’s groups and organizations that have already dealt with the subject, and to plan and carry out common activities with them;
(3) To show the interrelationship between the destruction of the environment, the exploitation of resources, and the exploitation and oppression of women, and to publish the results in suitable magazines;
(4) Instead of appeals after individual catastrophes have occurred to develop WILPF’s own distinct political option.