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lems of urban existence. The issues ecofeminists prioritize are important. As they rightfully point out, we will not have a world to live in unless radical measures are taken. However, while they emphasize the interconnectedness of the oppression of women and nature, they do not consider the interconnections between rural and urban women who might define both “nature” and “ecology” differently. For many of us, the environment in which we live is one of office buildings, bus tides, and low-rent housing. The dynamics of urban ecology are messy and certainly not as pretty as the view from Plant’s front porch in British Columbia. It is difficult to read Healing the Wounds and not think of it as the result of white, heterosexual and middle-class thinking a problem long observed in both the ecology and feminist movements. The collection contains one piece that describes a gathering of women where racial parity was the goal. Outside of that article, the question of racism is only given lip service. The pieces by women of color are among the best in the collection, especially Vandana Shiva’s analysis of third-world colonial development: however, they seem to have been included in the book for their adherence to the belief that gender oppression is the one oppression upon which all others are modeled. The text lacks a solid discussion of the dynamics of racism both within the ecofeminist movement, and within the forces it battles. Further, the ecofeminist emphasis on traditional stereotypical female characteristics such as nurturing, compassion, and a connection with life via others’ lives, i.e. children, seems thin when compared to the richly textured range of personal characteristics currently invoked by some lesbian writers. Lesbianism never appears in this text and Plant’s sin of omission in regard to lesbians should not be taken lightly. It highlights the continued ecofeminist philosophical dependence upon patriarchal concepts of the masculine and the feminine. Despite these very serious problems, Healing the Wounds makes some very astute observations and foregrounds a very real and pressing issue: the unnecessary destruction of the planet for the temporary benefit of the very few. The book is divided into four sections. The first,.”Remembering Who We Are: the Meaning of Ecofeminism,” contains a sophisticated statement by Susan Griffin on the perils of dualistic thinking. Part two, “Healing All Our Relations: Ecofeminist Politics” offers Anne Cameron’s acerbic prose, Shiva’s insightful “Development, Ecology, and Women” and the obligatory poem on menstruation and birthing. Part three, “She Is Alive in You: Ecofeminist Spirituality,” is the weakest in the text. The articles remain, for the most part, uncritically vague about the relation between the spiritual and the political. Charlene Spretnak urges us to discard “the patriarchal patterns of alienation, fear, enmity, aggression and destruction. It is not necessary,” she says, “to force them away; by merely focusing awareness on the negative, masculinist thoughts as they begin to arise and then opting not to feed them any more psychic energy, their power becomes diminished and they fade.” I must question the basis of a spirituality that believes the fear inspired by very real patriarchal power in, say, a factory owner’s right to fire striking workers, can be wished away. The welcome exception in this section is Starhawk’s thoughtful, incisive and creative work. Although ostensibly about spirituality, Starhawk’s article is clearly “not just an intellectual exercise, it’s a practice.” When she talks specifically about sheltering the homeless, understanding AIDS, and making sacrifices so other countries will no longer be required to export all that they grow, a vision of her practice becomes real. She does not talk about some vague feminine principle that is inherent in women, nor does she advocate a spirituality apart from her activism. She writes, “If we learn from spiritual practices of a community for example … t e African bimbe we only gain real power if we return energy and commitment to the real life, present-day struggles of those communities. Power-from-within must be grounded, that is connected to the earth, to the actual material BY JAQUELINE THOMAS Biosphere. Politics: A New Conciousness for a New Century, by Jeremy Rifkin. Crown Publishers Inc., 1991 388pp. $20.00 AS I READ JEREMY Rifkin’s new book, Biosphere Politics, a recurring suspicion of mine seemed justified. I often think that it was no accident that our post-World War II spelling books required us to spell “antidisestablishmentarianism.” It was said to be the longest word in the language; that was the reason to spell it, we were told. The meaning of this longest word, once you boil it down, is “pro-establishment.” The presence of this mesmerizing word in our subconscious and the conscious pride we took in our ability to seamlessly spell it, my theory goes, was to provide psychic insurance against dissent the inevitable bill for the industrial binge of modern times. That bill is now past due and must be paid. And paid fast, Rifkin says, in his undeniably Jacqueline Thomas is associate editor of Texas Environment magazine. conditions of life, for the material world is the territory of the spirit in earth-based traditions.” Healing the Wounds: The Promise of Ecofeminism discusses ideas and problems that are central to a radical critique of the corrupt and very old “new world order.” The text emphasizes, albeit in an often vague manner, direct political action and the need for radical, not piecemeal, change. It fails, however, to convince the reader that ecofeminism offers a cohesive, political analysis of its own. Where Spretnak writes of the “authentic female mind,” Metzger of the “reality of the feminine principle,” there is also, fortunately, Dorothy Dinnerstein who argues that “at the core of human malaise, is scared refusal to believe that we are, in fact, collectively self-made beings, responsible for our own existence….” Ecofeminism’s divisions are, perhaps, a positive sign. If the movement follows lead, it may leave some of its disturbing, vague notions of a female principle behind and instead develop a political agenda that encompasses the full range of ecologies that are struggling to survive. [:1 moving account of our world crisis. Not that he takes an alarmist approach on the contrary, he offers well-documented, insightful historical/ social analysis, serious warning mixed with assurance, faith, and ultimately, sane guidance. Not to mention an impressive show of homeworkdoing. Rifkin leaps almost blithely from century to century, linking such events as the Vatican’s 13th century invention of purgatory to the rise of capitalism, the prevalence of nation states, and ultimately the enclosure of the public commons, which, Rifkin argues, continues to this day. With this approach, Rifkin seems to want to both put modern history in scale with geologic time and make his humbling analysis of modernity palatable to a society fed on a steady diet of sound bites. Rifkin assures us that the course of modern times is no accident; indeed, it was and continues to be plotted with all deliberateness. From the Enlightenment philosophers to the computer “magi” at MIT, he reveals with dire clarity how modern man has degraded and dehumanized earthly life in pursuit of profits and “reason.” The philosophical basis for this pursuit was laid out centuries ago. Of Francis Bacon, the 16th-century originator of the scientific method, Rifkin writes, Green Philosophy Rethinking the Enlightenment with Jeremy Rifkin THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13