Meet the Ecosexual Club: Exploring natural relations
A group of students—a dozen or so sat around in a loose circle on the lawn under the bell tower. None of which were pulling out the grass from underneath them like a child might, a common habit under similar circumstances. “Would I treat my boyfriend or girlfriend how I'm treating nature? We want to have that question in mind,” said Diego Marquez, Ecosexual Club President of Santa Monica College.
Ecosexuals want to replace the concept of Mother Nature with that of a party in a mutual relationship. That is because the relationship you have with your mother is often one-sided. You often take from your mother without much appreciation or thought, but unlike your mother you spend a lot of time thinking about your significant other, are genuinely happy when they do something for you, and worry about how they’re doing. By building this kind of relationship with nature, a mutual, loving one rather than a paternal one, you are more likely to consider nature and treat it better.
“The whole premise is that we won't save what we don't love so our approach is by focusing on our relationship with nature,” said Marquez. “It's a lot more equal, or at least I would hope it would be.” It's akin to being an activist by saving nature however ecosexuals focus on building a relationship.
While the club does have an end goal of promoting earth friendly practices and encouraging sustainability, the first step is establishing a relationship with nature in order to care about it.
“Science definitely has its place, but by its very method of study, it reduces things to study, creating a disembodied form of what nature is," Marquez says. He elaborates, “We need this many parts per billion of carbon in the air. We’re going over that, so we focus less on the empirical data and more on the sensuous aspect of being present in the world, a world where everything is connected and affects each other.”
Some of the ways the group remains present and maintains their relationship with nature is by going on camping trips, nature writing, creating eco-art and gardening.
It’s important to remember that the group does not actually strive to have sexual relations with the natural world. The point is to build an emotional connection.
“We want to claim that our love for nature ought to be just as important as our love for people. It’s another identity, where you have the LGBTQ, and we want to add ‘E’ to that, because it’s just as important to love nature…nothing sexual, which I think is the confusion with the name, its just a play on words.”
The misinterpretation of the name ecosexual has been a problem from the beginning.
“Initially when we submitted our application they said we can’t have that name,” Marquez said.
Because Santa Monica College is a community college, it is technically an extension of the k-12 program. This supposedly prohibits some forms of sexual content.
Marquez then defended his group’s name by protesting that “We [SMC] have the Gay Sexuality Alliance (GSA) which has the term ‘sexuality’ in it already, and we’re using it in the same context so it's not like there wasn't a precedent before, but they kind of said ‘No, you should still change the name.'”
Marquez did a bit of research and came to the conclusion that there was no basis on which to censor the name. “We were pretty adamant about keeping the name and afterwards they insisted that I speak to a higher up. This made me understand that they probably didn’t understand the concept of the club so I wanted to explain it to them,” he said.
Then the club began to promote their cause and spurred a lot of attention at Club Row, where they had a woman painted green in panties with leaves taped over her breasts.
They even had a symbolic wedding, which Marquez performed, between an Ecosexual Club member and this woman personified as nature.
Coming up, the club will moderate a symbolic wedding to the beach. While others may be alarmed, Marquez says, “It definitely is far fetched. We do want to create a spectacle.”
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