I am writing this, devastated by grief, to let you know that we have lost
our beloved Marti Kheel.
Marti was an ecofeminist thinker and theorist. She was a generous and
articulate voice for the animals, women, the environment, the earth, for
peace and harmony for all.
As I am still processing this, I find it difficult to write much about
her now, but there is much to say.
You may visit her website:
www.Martikheel.com to find out more about her. You may also want
to visit her facebook page to read some of the outpourings of tribute and
grief from some who knew her or knew about her:
Marti was struggling with leukemia for several months and those close to
her have been blessed to read her "Caring Bridge" journal entries which were
always so uplifting and inspirational, brilliant and, even, funny. Each time
I got an email that there was an entry in the journal, I would hesitate to
go to the page, always fearing the worst. And now, last evening, it came. I
share with you the following entry by her sister Jane:
Dear friends of my sister,
I am so deeply sad to tell you that Marti passed away today. She was
planning already her next entry on Caring Bridge, but was unsure how to fit
in the part about her health declining.
Marti's amazing achievement this week was that just two days ago she
appeared as a guest at a Yale Medical School class on alternative and
complementary medicine taught by her doctor. She was awesome and made a deep
impression on the students. I wish she were here to tell you all about it.
Please know that she died peacefully in her sleep. She was a dear, gentle
soul. We will miss her so.
I will be in touch with you when I have more information about
arrangements for a memorial, both on the East and West Coast. Please be
patient if you don't hear from me right away.
Marti's sister, Jane
P.S. I also want to share with you a moving tribute to Marti by Norm
Phelps, a leader in the animal rights movement, which, I believe, says it
This is an unimaginable loss. I am so sorry�for her family and friends,
for the larger community of those striving to create a human society
grounded in compassion and nurture, and for the victims of oppression and
exploitation for whom she was a caring and courageous voice for so long. In
her case, the clich� is true�the world is a greater place because she was
here, and a lesser place because she is gone.
biography of marti kheel
Marti Kheel was born in New York City
in 1948. For as long as she can remember she was drawn to
other�than�human animals. At the age of twelve she performed her
first protest on behalf of animals when she turned her back to the
camera in a family photograph that excluded her beloved cat,
Booty�tat. In 1973 she became a vegetarian after a series of
unnerving experiences in restaurants and grocery stores made her
increasingly aware of the living beings that constituted "meat."
Four years later, while living in Montreal, she joined the
grass�roots organization Animal Liberation Collective, which
introduced her to a wide spectrum of animal abuse issues. As she
became increasingly aware of the horrific treatment of
other�than�human animals on farms and in society at large, she
became a vegan.
After relocating to California, she
co�founded Feminists for Animal Rights (FAR) in California in 1982,
hoping to bridge the divisions between the feminist and animal
advocacy movements. In the same year, she developed a slideshow
illustrating the commonalities in the ways women and
other�than�human animals are viewed under patriarchal society.
Adopted by FAR, the presentation has since been shown throughout the
United States and abroad. Over the years, FAR grew into a national
organization with regional offices throughout the United States and
even abroad. Although FAR is not currently active, the message of
the link between the abuse of women and other�than�human animals
continues to inspire people.
Kheel's articles have been translated into multiple languages
and have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. Her
groundbreaking 1985 article "The Liberation of Nature: A Circular
Affair" offered the first feminist critique of environmental ethics.
Originally published in Environmental Ethics, the article has been
widely cited and republished in several edited volumes. Along with
many of her other articles, this essay has been required reading in
numerous college courses. It also laid the foundation for the future
focus of her work at the juncture between animal advocacy and
Kheel's 1989 article "From Healing
Herbs to Deadly Drugs: Western Medicine's War Against the Natural
World" provided the major inspiration for a historic lawsuit filed
by University of Toronto professor Franklin D. Tall against the
Canadian government. Kheel provided expert�witness testimony in the
suit, which charges the government with religious�based
discrimination against holistic forms of healing. The case is still
pending final judgment.
Over the years, Kheel's primary goal has
been to develop an ecofeminist holistic philosophy that can bridge
the seemingly disparate movements and philosophies of feminism,
animal advocacy, and environmental ethics. Drawing on the model of
holistic health, Kheel believes that ecofeminism offers the
possibility of a genuinely holistic way of perceiving the world. By
shedding light on the root causes of social problems, ecofeminism
can help us to deepen our capacity for empathy for all living
beings, thereby helping to bring about a world of peace and respect
for all living beings.
Kheel received her doctorate in
religious studies from the Graduate Theological Union. In 2008, her
book Nature Ethics: An Ecofeminist Perspective was published by
Rowman & Littlefield. She is currently a visiting scholar at the
Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management (ESPM),
University of California, Berkeley.