The Chipko Movement

From SourceWatch
(Redirected from Chipko movement)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Chipko Movement wiki was a winner of the 1987 Right Livelihood Award. It is a movement that practised the Gandhian methods of satyagraha and non-violent resistance, through the act of hugging trees to protect them from being felled.


Janet Biehl writes:

"Western ecofeminists looked to the third world where World Bank-financed development projects were under way. Engineers dammed rivers to generate hydropower, and wrecked communities. Agribusiness transformed lands long sustainably farmed into monocultures, raising single crops for export to the world market. Forests that had long provided villagers with fruit, fuel and craft materials, and protected groundwater and animals, were being clear-cut. This “maldevelopment” – rampant, exploitative international capitalism – was destroying not only forests, rivers and lands, but communities and ecologically sustainable ways of life. Indigenous peoples struggled; in northern India, when a corporation planned commercial logging, the local village women resisted by hugging the trees to prevent them being cut down. Over the next decade their movement, Chipko, spread to the rest of the subcontinent.
"The Chipko movement fired the imagination of western ecofeminists, adding real social facts to the woman-earth mystique. Vandana Shiva and others argued that in rural Africa, Asia and Latin America, women are the gardeners and horticulturalists, with expert knowledge of nature’s processes. Masculine maldevelopment values resources only as potential commodities for the market economy, but indigenous women understand that these resources must be respected, to ensure that availability to future generations. Women therefore give greater priority to protecting the natural environment.
"Ecofeminism’s fascination with the Chipko movement was almost a romanticisation of subsistence farming, and ignored women who had aspirations to education, professional lives and full political citizenship. Ecofeminists preferred that third world women should stay in their old role, but at least they did spotlight specific ways in which environmental destruction affects women. When agriculturally productive land is converted to monoculture, female subsistence farmers are relocated to hillsides where farming is less productive, resulting in deforestation and soil erosion, and poverty." [1]

General History

  • Thomas Weber, Hugging the trees: the story of the Chipko movement (Viking, 1988).
  • Madhav Gadgil and Ramachandra Guha, Ecology and Equity: The Use and Abuse of Nature in Contemporary India (Routledge, 1995).
  • Ramachandra Guha, The Unquiet woods : ecological change and peasant resistance in the Himalaya (University of California Press, 2000).


  • Somen Chakraborty, A Critique of Social Movements in India: Experiences of Chipko, Uttarakhand, and Fishworkers' Movement (Indian Social Institute, 1999).
  • Haripriya Rangan, Of Myths and Movements: Rewriting Chipko into Himalayan History (Oxford University Press, 2000).

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. Janet Biehl, "No Green Goddesses", Le Monde Diplomatique, July 5, 2011.