The possibility of resilience, recovery, restoration, repair and regeneration

By DR VANDANA SHIVA

My own research through the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, and my service to the Earth and farmers through the movement Navdanya over the last three decades has taught me that we grow more and better food when we care for the earth and her biodiversity.

Economy is the Art of Living. The Art of Living is about life – the life of all beings on the Earth, including the life and well-being of our human family. When we relate to the Earth as her masters and conquerors, we violate her laws, disrupt her living systems, and threaten the continuity of life. When we relate to the Earth as part of her family, we care, we co-create. Over 5 decades, I have experienced and researched how co-creation creates more of life – food, water, air – for all and more real wealth. Conquest extracts more from the life of nature and society, accumulating more in a few hands, but leaving nothing for other species and most humans.

The will to power and profits is threatening life on Earth that has evolved over 4 billion years, it is destroying life and livelihoods, it is creating hunger and poverty, and closing the doors for a future of our species on Earth. Hunger, Poverty, Scarcity and the ecological crises are products of a greed economy. We can grow abundance through giving and caring and sharing.

The original meaning of “wealth” is the state of well-being and happiness, not money. Currency means that which moves. The currency of life is love and compassion and caring. The currency of air and water and food connects us ecologically to all being. Money is a currency that connects us in the market place. The currency of life is life, not money. And money is not finance, definitely not digital finance which is allowing billionaires to make money out of money, while colonizing local self organized economies. Or cryptocurrency which Big Tech plans as a means to assess what we are worth. In a Post Covid world we need to reclaim and grow the currencies of life and living.

Real wealth is our biodiversity and seeds, our soil and our land, our water and clean air, our food and our health. Our real wealth is to care for the earth, to rejuvenate her potential through our care. It is not property to be owned and traded for profit, it is not raw material to be used and thrown away as garbage and waste, polluting and degrading the planet.

Real wealth is our real relationships and our real communities.

Commons and communities are beyond the state and the market. They are self organised. They are Autopoietic.

Real wealth is our capacity to create, produce and make what we and our communities need to ensure our well-being. Well-being is the original meaning of wealth, not money. Work creates wealth. As co-creators and co-producers with nature we protect the earth’s wealth creating capacities and enhance our own. We create real wealth when we live as Earth Citizens in earth economies, aware of the earth’s potential to create abundance and her fragile limits which put limits on our activities.

The earth is waiting patiently for us to return to her, to heal her wounds, care for her, co-create with her with gratitude and love, through our heads, hearts and hands. And in the process heal our broken societies and communities. Overcome economic, gender, religious and racial divides by recognising that we are one humanity on one planet.

Earth Centred and Women Centred economies are economies of life, not death and extinction. Living economies are economies that sustain life, and life creates living economies. Living economies maintain, renew, regenerate life and well-being for all.

We are biological beings. We are ecological beings.

We are connected to all life, through the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and our consciousness. We are not dead inert atomistic insulated selves separate from all other beings who are also inert. Our extended selves, our extended minds, our consciousness allow us to imagine a different world, where through our economic, compassionate, cooperative intelligence we have the potential to address the multiple emergencies of our times.

The deep crises of exclusion and extinction invite us to unleash the Living Intelligence of all beings to heal and rejuvenate the planet and ourselves.

Earth Centric, Women Centric Living economies show us a path to the future.

Humanity has a possibility of a future if we learn from nature, women, and indigenous people how to evolve living economies based on care for the Earth. Co-creation and Co-production with a living earth offer the foundation of economies of the future.

The present path guarantees breakdown and ecological and social collapse. A shift to earth Centric, Women Centric economies is a survival imperative to “stay alive” by co-creating the possibility of resilience, recovery, restoration, repair, regeneration.

We have the potential to make a shift   

– from illusions of separation and superiority to the embodied, vibrant, lived, reality of an Earth Family in interconnectedness and oneness;

– from seeing nature and humans as raw material to be exploited and manipulated to seeing all beings as relatives, unique in our diversity, but equal in our right to live and share our common home;

– from Violence as the organising principle, to Nonviolence in our minds, our hearts, our actions, our relationships;

– from external control, domination, subjugation and manipulation, to self organisation and evolution through mutuality, partnership and participation;

– from Monocultures and Uniformity to Diversity, Multiplicity, Pluralism;

– from the Reductionist Mechanical Mind to Ecological Minds;

– from dyseconomies of Extractivism and limitless greed destroying the Earth to living circular economies regenerating life through giving and the ‘Law of Return”;

– from enclosing the commons and monopolising nature’s gifts to reclaiming the commons, sharing, her gifts with gratitude;

– from competition to cooperation

– from scarcity to abundance.

– from destruction and degeneration to co-creation and regeneration

– from laws of greed and domination written by colonisers/corporations, to laws of life written by the Earth, by the land, which have been followed by indigenous cultures and women over millennia and sustained life.

As I have often said, “Either we will have a future where Mother Earth and women lead the way on the path of life, love, care and compassion, non violence and equality, or humanity will not have a future at all.”