Ecofeminist participatory action research for planetary health
Handbook of Social Sciences and Global Public Health
School of Arts and Humanities / Centre for People, Place and Planet
Over the past few decades, feminist scholars, activists, and communities around the world have undertaken feminist participatory action research (FPAR) as a critical methodology of research and activism. FPAR offers a democratic, community-led process whereby community members, especially people experiencing marginalization and disadvantage, examine and document lived experiences of injustice, and use this knowledge to strategically advocate for structural change. Through FPAR, communities seek to transform power as it manifests in systems such as colonialism, patriarchy, neoliberal capitalism, and racism, informed by principles of intersectionality and solidarity and using creative and arts-based methods to honor diverse forms of knowledge. However, current crises such as climate change, environmental degradation, war, and pandemics have multiple and intersecting impacts on people, places, and the planet. The emerging field of planetary health recognizes the interdependent vitality of all natural and anthropogenic systems. When FPAR is analyzed from the frame of planetary health, the authors identify that the methodology is human-centered, and marginalizes the rights, agency, and voices of nature. In this chapter, the authors propose an extended methodology of EcoFeminist Participatory Action Research (EcoFPAR) for planetary health that prioritizes Indigenous wisdoms and methods, promotes inquiry, activism, and reciprocal human-environment relationships from a systems lens, and seeks justice for the organic and the inorganic. The authors share case studies of FPAR for women’s health and PAR for planetary health and examine the opportunities and challenges of EcoFPAR as a transformative methodological paradigm for the interconnected health and well-being of humans and more-than-humans.