By Dr Vandana Shiva
1. Mother Earth is a sacred, self organized living being. She creates and sustains life. Through her biosphere and her complex ecological processes, she regulates her water systems, her nutrition cycles, and her climate system. Over 4 billion years, using the energy of the sun, the power of photosynthesis by microbes and the green leaf of plants, she brought the temperature of the planet down from 290 C to 13 C, and the concentration of atmospheric CO2 down from 98% to .03%, from around 4,000 to somewhere around 250-270.
Through photosynthesis she converts carbon dioxide into carbohydrates, the molecule of life, the food we eat, and the oxygen we breathe.
2. We are the youngest family members of Mother Earth’s Family, Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam. Plants and microbes are our elders. They can teach us how to live on the Earth, as Earth Citizens, practicing Earth Democracy with all life on Earth. We have a duty to respect and protect the Rights of the Earth, her integrity, and her self regulation. We have a duty to live within the ecological limits the Earth sets. We have a duty to share the Earth’s gifts with all her beings. We do not have the right to pollute her and disrupt her ecological processes. Taking the share of other species, other people and future generations is an ecological crime.
3. Food is the currency of life. It is the flow that connects the soil, to the plants, to our gut and to our brain. Ayurveda recognizes that Annam Sarva Aushadhi– food is the best medicine. Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine.” Growing, serving and eating good and healthy food in abundance, in accordance with the laws and processes of nature is our highest ecological and ethical duty– Annam Bahu Kurvita. It is through food systems that we participate in the Earth’s biological and ecological processes, and we become Earth Citizens. And it is through the industrialized, globalized food system the Earth’s limits are being violated and her systems of self regulation are being disrupted and destabilized.
4. 200 years of industrialism, combined with colonization of nature and our diverse cultures has destroyed the Earth’s ecosystems and biosphere. Burning of fossil fuels has polluted the land, water and atmosphere, built up emissions, and disrupted the delicate balance of the Earth’s climate systems and hydrological systems, intensifying floods, droughts, and cyclones, causing climate chaos and catastrophes.
5. Fossil fuel based energy, chemical intensive industrial agriculture, and globalized commodity systems controlled by corporations like Bayer-Monsanto, Cargill, Coke, Pepsi and Nestle are some of the largest contributors of the greenhouse gasses driving climate change. Coming from fossil fuel and chemical intensive production, industrial agriculture has resulted in the destruction of forests like the Amazon for growing commodities like GMO soya, food miles, ultra processing and packaging, and food waste. Industrial, globalized food and agriculture systems are also responsible for the extinction crisis, the desertification of soil, and the disappearance of water. They are also responsible for the rise of chronic diseases. Whatever harms the health of the planet also impacts our health, since we are part of the Earth. We are made of the same Panchmahabhutas the Earth is made of.
6. We will walk a path beyond Climate Colonialism and Climate Denial. We will walk the path of Climate Justice and Food Freedom. Humans as a species have not caused climate disasters, the greed of the 1 % has. Climate disasters are real and are caused by the pollution of the super rich and elite. They add to the destructive impact of maldevelopment which puts profits above nature and people. The top 1% of emitters produce over 1000 times more pollution than the bottom 1%. The carbon emissions of the 1% are more than double the emissions of the poorest half of humanity. These are not anthropogenic impacts including all of humanity. They are capitalogenic impacts of the greed of 1%. Those of us who have not contributed to the pollution are bearing the worst impacts of floods and droughts, cyclones and heat waves. Climate change is an issue of justice. Polluters must stop polluting. Polluters must pay. We will not accept the false solutions to climate change being imposed by the polluters. We do not accept Climate Colonialism.
7. Industrial food systems based on external inputs, which are resource and energy intensive, violate ecological laws and processes. Industrial food systems include the chemical Green Revolution, GMOS, globalization and commodification of food. They contribute to toxic pollution and emissions and are drivers of climate change, the extinction crisis and the food crisis. The polluters are now trying to impose further industrialization and globalization of food in the form of “fake food” as a false solution to the climate crisis. Feedstock intensive, energy intensive lab food, synthetic food, cellular food, lab food, will increase feedstock demands five fold and increase emissions 25 times. Intensifying the processes that are at the root of the crisis will only aggravate the climate crisis, not solve it.
Industrialisation of food with synthetic fertilizers and synthetic ingredients in ultra processed food have already contributed to the climate and health crisis. Industrial food systems have caused the problem. Further intensification of industrialisation of food will only aggravate and accelerate the climate and health crisis. As Einstein had cautioned us, “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different outcomes is the definition of insanity” .
8. “Farming Without Farmers” and “Food Without Farms” is a dystopia. Humans are part of nature, we are not separate from nature. Food is what connects us. Growing real food with care is Climate Action.
Farmers have the potential to care for the land and regenerate it while growing food. We need more farmers, not less. Further industrialization of food will displace small farmers and farm workers and use more “energy slaves”, contributing to more emission not less.
Farmers have gifted the world the science of agroecology and regenerative organic agriculture, growing food according to nature’s laws of biodiversity and the law of circularity, the law of return. Our diverse seeds, foods and ecological systems of food and farming based on nature’s laws have sustained us and the Earth for thousands of years. Farming without fossil fuels and fossil fuel based agrotoxins, intensifying nature’s biodiversity and her processes of photosynthesis, regenerating her biosphere is the answer to the climate crisis, the food crisis, the health crisis. We can learn from the Earth how to heal and regenerate her. We can follow her laws to address the climate crisis.
Food Freedom and Food Sovereignty is our birthright.
We will resist the new food imperialism of Fake Food as a false climate solution.
We will respect and protect the Rights of Mother Earth.
We will heal the Earth and ourselves by growing and eating Real Food, for Food for Health.
We will grow Gardens of Hope Everywhere