Engendering the Metabolic Rift: A Feminist Political Ecology of Agrofuels
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This thesis analyzes the gendered impacts of plant-based alternatives to petroleum, commonly called biofuels. Synthesizing case studies, scientific research and policies papers, this theoretical work adopts the term “agrofuels” coined by the peasant organization La Vía Campesina to reflect the true nature of these commodities – one of dispossession and ecological destruction. This paper documents the falsity of the claim that the fuels are “sustainable” by presenting facts linking them to deforestation, loss and pollution of water sources, destruction of important biodiversity and the knowledge that maintains this diversity, as well as economic exploitation. Most importantly, I verify that the adoption of agrofuel expansion exacerbates gendered patterns of exclusion and, in most cases, worsens women’s positions within the communities targeted for feedstock production with regard to land tenure, household energy maintenance, independent income and physical integrity.