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Published in:
Mother Pelican: The Journal of Solidarity and Sustainability, 2022


“Realizing the potential of women is the single most important pathway to planetary regeneration.”—Paul Hawken

Yes, but how?

Many environmental activists claim that empowering women through education is key to “tackling the climate crisis”— reducing 59.6- 85 gigatons of carbon by 2050.”[1] Western activists must recognize the hypocrisy of assuming there can be monolithic “education,” and must distinguish between literacy and “education.” We must also be cautious of what David Abrams calls the “spell of literacy” that ranks “alphabetic civilization” above all “kinship commons” (Leah Penniman). Beyond reading/writing, literacy includes ecoliteracy, media, civic, and consumer literacy.[2] Ideally, education performs its original meaning, “to draw out,” an evolving re-membering in the learning-teaching symbiotic exchange. While we should heed the words of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate: “Every girl, no matter where she lives, no matter what her circumstance, has a right to learn,”[3] we must be hypervigilant about the distinction between formalized education and learning…