“Gandhi’s legacy is a legacy of love, compassion, and sacrifice. In the 1970s, in response to deforestation, women in the women’s movement started hugging the tress, saying, ‘You will have to kill us before you cut the trees.’ In 1981 we had a terrible flood, and a four-mile lake was formed because of deforestation, and after that, finally, the women were listened to. Gandhi’s Salt March was so imaginative, so inspirational. Unjust laws are meant to be disobeyed, to create a moral order. Dr. King and Mandela used the same philosophy. Gandhi shifted the mind of the world. Environmentalists started to do with forest what Gandhi did with salt. A huge forest satyagraha campaign was started.”
— Vandana Shiva
The impact of the climate crisis is more evident and unavoidable than ever, and this week’s quote from Vandana Shiva suggests how we can go about correcting our course. Tying together the experiences of Gandhi’s Salt March with the Chipko Movement, we explore the differences we can make with people power.
Key to the success of these movements is finding parts of life that are truly essential, like salt to the imperialists in India. What could be essential in our modern lives? Making a difference is not about big acts of heroism, but about waking up to our individual and collective power.
Julia Butterfly Hill provides another example of how love — in her case for the Earth and for the Redwood tree, Luna, in which she lived for two years — and commitment can fuel successful efforts to make a difference.