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Fortnightly Focus:
“Authors, Issues, Ideas”

 
 
READ SHIVA:

Months into the Covid-19 pandemic now, people across the world are still trying to cope with the tremendous loss of life, livelihood and their sanity. According to Vandana Shiva, “New diseases (like Covidᆧ) are the result of a globalised, industrialised, inefficient food and agriculture model that has invaded the ecological habitat of other species and manipulated animals and plants with no respect for their integrity and their health. It is the illusion of the earth and her beings as (mere) raw materials, to be exploited for profit, has created this ‘one world’ connected through disease.” We need to find a way to “make peace with earth” and so, this week, we share an excerpt from the widely read and acclaimed, Making Peace with the Earth: Beyond Resource, Land and Food Wars. Read on:

The global corporate economy based on the idea of limitless growth has become a permanent war economy against the planet and people. The means are instruments of war; coercive free trade treaties used to organise economies on the basis of trade wars; and technologies of production based on violence and control, such as toxins, genetic engineering, geo-engineering and nano-technologies. Here we have just another form of “weapons of mass destruction” which kill millions in peace-time by robbing them of food and water, and poisoning the web of life. Tools of war have become the tools of economic production.…

The present global “war” is the inevitable next step for economic and corporate globalisation driven by a handful of corporations and powerful countries that seek to control the earth's resources and to transform the planet into a supermarket in which everything is for sale.…

Every vital, living resource of the planet that maintains the fragile web of life is in the process of being privatised, commodified and appropriated by corporations. Every inch of land that supports the life and livelihoods of tribal and peasant communities is being grabbed, leading to land wars. Every drop of water that flows in our rivers is being appropriated, leading to water wars. Biodiversity is being reduced to “green oil” to extend the fossil fuel age, ignoring the intrinsic worth of life on earth, and ignoring also the rights the poor have to biodiversity to meet their daily needs. Forests were already commoditised by commercial forestry; now their ecological services are being commoditised for a so-called “green economy”. Green is supposed to be the colour of life and the biosphere but, increasingly, green symbolises the market and money, and a green economy could well entail the ultimate commodification of the planet. Green is also becoming the colour of the militarisation of the resource-grab taking place in order to fuel limitless growth. Militarisation is the shield for corporate globalisation, both nationally and globally. At the national level, militarisation is becoming the dominant mode of governance, whether through laws regarding Homeland Security in the US or Operation Green Hunt in India. Economic growth is literally flowing through the barrel of a gun. As people resist ecological destruction and appropriation of their resources, the war against the planet also becomes a war against local communities and people struggling for justice and peace….

Not only is corporate power converging with state power for the great resource grab, corporate-state power is emerging as militarised power to undemocratically impose an unsustainable and unjust agenda on the earth and its people. That is how the war against the earth becomes a war against people, against democracy and against freedom. After two decade of corporate globalisation, we now have evidence of its ecological and social costs. A deregulated financial economy gave us the financial crisis; a deregulated food economy has given us a food crisis; a deregulated mining economy has turned every mineral-rich area into a war zone.

The economic crisis that began in 2008, and still continues, forces us to raise questions about the contradiction between a model based on assumptions of limitless growth and a reality with ecological, social, political and economic limits. Thomas Friedman, till recently a supporter of globalisation and the ideology of limitless growth, asked this question:

Let's today step out of the normal boundaries of analysis of our economic crisis and ask a radical question - What if the crisis of 2008 represents something much more fundamental than a deep recession? What is it telling us, that the whole growth model we created over the last fifty years is simply unsustainable, economically and ecologically, and that 2008 was when we hit the wall – when Mother Nature and the market both said “no more”? …

Today, we need to overcome a much wider and deeper apartheid, an eco-apartheid based on the illusion of separateness, of humans from nature, in our minds and lives. This is an illusion because we are part of nature and earth, not apart from it.

We are made of the same five elements — earth, water, fire, air and space — that constitute the earth. The water that circulates in the biosphere circulates in our bodies; the oxygen that plants produce becomes our breath; the food that is produced by the soil and the sun’s energy becomes our cells, our blood, our bones. Biologically and ecologically we are one with the earth. The web of life is woven through interconnectedness. It is the disease of separation and eco- apartheid that denies this and then creates the diseases of loneliness, depression, alienation.

To order: Please write to womenunltd@gmail.com to buy a copy now!

SHIVA SPEAKS:

Vandana Shiva talks about her opposition to big multinationals such as Monsanto for their nefarious influence on agriculture. She also singles out billionaires like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg for criticism:




As our physical world continues to remain restricted, largely out of bounds, and we all look for different ways to stay connected to the people we love and the things we love to do, Women Unlimited brings your favourite authors and their writings a little closer to you, our dedicated community of readers. We present Fortnightly Favourites: Authors, Issues, Ideas, a focus on an author, an issue or an idea that we explore through our books.

It's been months now since the world, and its seven-billion-plus people, has been grappling with a disease so devastating, so viral—and extremely lethal—that it's been virtually impossible contain or come to terms with. Globalisation, consumerism, unethical practices, a complete disregard for nature… are at the core of this worldwide pandemic that has forced entire populations to retreat within their homes, revaluate their way of life and reassess their ‘growth’ priorities. Vandana Shiva, a brilliant scientist, an internationally renowned eco-activist, and crusader against corporate globalisation, has spent over 40 years fighting a heroic battle on behalf of humanity and the ecologically besieged natural systems that support us. She vociferously advocates for people-centered, participatory processes; supports grassroots networks; and women rights.

According to Shiva, “Today, it is clear that new diseases like the corona virus and other infectious ailments including SARS, MERS, Zika, Ebola, etc., are being created only because a globalised, industrialised and inefficient food and agriculture model has invaded the ecological habits of other species. This model is manipulating animals and plants, showing no respect for their integrity—and their health. ...”

The current situation offers us a valuable moment to think. The pandemic lockdowns have taught us that we can do with less—we actually need only our essentials and not multiple brands. With this in mind, we can expand our consciousness to rethink our entire consumption patterns now. We can make choices that heal our planet while healing our own bodies and minds. We can think of ourselves as being Earth's citizens instead of just consumers.”

(Read more at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/we-are-literally-consuming-the-earth-that-sustains-us/articleshow/76202944.cms)

For the next two weeks, we focus on the activism and the writings of this award-winning eco-warrior-intellectual who Women Unlimited has been publishing for over three decades now.

READ SHIVA:

This week, we share an excerpt from the hugely popular Oneness vs. The 1%: Shattering Illusions, Seeding Freedom, where Shiva takes on the Billionaires Club of Gates, Buffet, Zuckerberg and other modern Mughals, whose blindness to the rights of people, and to the destructive impact of their construct of linear progress, have wrought havoc across the world. Read on:

The Gates model of philanthrocapitalism has little to do with charity and giving and more to do with profits, control and grabbing. It is, in fact, an economic model of investment and a political model of control, silencing and erasing diversity, democracy and alternatives. New markets and new monopolies are carved out through dominance via aid.

At the 64th World Health Assembly in Geneva on May 16, 2011, Gates admitted that the Foundation funds research in vaccines and, subsequently, takes out patents on them. He said, ‘In terms of IP [Intellectual Property], what we do is actually quite simple. We fund research and we actually, ourselves or our partners, create intellectual property so that anything that is invented with our Foundation money that goes to richer countries, we’re actually getting a return on that money.'

Gates has given money to fight the Ebola epidemic in Africa, and Gates, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have patents on the Ebola vaccine. At the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 8, 2017, of all the diseases in the world, Ebola was singled out for attention, indicating just how he sets the ‘development’ financing agenda.

The Global Justice Now report warns:

Gated Development demonstrates that the trend to involve business in addressing poverty and inequality is central to the priorities and funding of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We argue that this is a far from neutral charitable strategy but instead an ideological commitment to promote neoliberal economic policies and corporate globalisation. Big business is directly benefitting, in particular in the fields of agriculture and health, as a result of the Foundation’s activities, despite evidence to show that business solutions are not the most effective.

Perhaps what is most striking about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is that despite its aggressive corporate strategy and extraordinary influence across governments, academics and the media, there is an absence of critical voices. Global Justice Now is concerned that the Foundation's influence is so pervasive that many actors in international development, which would otherwise critique the policy and practice of the Foundation, are unable to speak out independently as a result of its funding and patronage.

Gated Development further reports, ‘A major problem with the focus on technology is that the BMGF, along with other philanthropic foundations, is reshaping aid policy further away from prioritising rights and justice towards a technocratic “authoritarian development*#8221;’. For example, Bill Gates, in his 2015 annual letter, stated that the next fifteen years will see major breakthroughs in poor countries which ‘will be driven by innovation in technology—ranging from new vaccines and hardier crops to much cheaper smartphones and tablets—and by innovations that help deliver those things to more people’.

To order: https://www.amazon.in/Oneness-VS-Kartikey-Shiva-Vandana/dp/9385606182

SHIVA SPEAKS:

Recently, Vandana Shiva spoke to Firoze Manji of Daraja Press, about her latest book, Oneness vs. The 1% in the context of the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic. Listen in:

PRAISE FOR SHIVA

All of us who care about the future of Planet Earth must be grateful to Vandana Shiva. Her voice is powerful, and she is not afraid to tackle those corporate giants that are polluting, degrading and ultimately destroying the natural world.’

Jane Goodall, UN Messenger of Peace

A rock star in the worldwide battle against genetically modified seeds.

—Bill Moyers

Her fierce intellect and her disarmingly friendly, accessible manner have made her a valuable advocate for people all over the developing world.

— Ms. magazine

Shiva is a burst of creative energy, an intellectual power.

— The Progressive

One of the world’s most prominent radical scientists.

— The Guardian