Neither extinction nor escape — Vandana Shiva on ecofeminism’s way out of our global crisis

Environmentalist, activist and author Vandana Shiva delivers a talk on ecofeminism and the decolonization of women, nature and the future.

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This week’s episode of Nonviolence Radio is a recording of a talk given by Vandana Shiva, environmentalist, activist, author and scholar. For decades, Shiva has been advocating — nonviolently — for sustainable agriculture, for the rights of small farmers, for biodiversity, for women. She calls for a shift not only in the way we grow and distribute food, but a radical change in the way we understand our relationship with the earth. While the environmental crisis we face today has led many to seek to escape (for instance, through space travel) or become pessimistic, convinced of our species’ imminent extinction, Shiva sees a third possibility: ecofeminism.

“Neither extinction nor escape,” she says. “We stay here on this earth and protect her. That is the work we’ve done. That’s the work that we are called to do, and that’s the revolutionary work of our times. We know the earth is living and all ancient cultures recognized Mother Earth.”

Stephanie Van Hook: Welcome to another episode of Nonviolence Radio. I’m your host, Stephanie Van Hook, and I’m the director of the Metta Center for Nonviolence in Petaluma, California. On today’s show, we hear from Vandana Shiva.

This is a talk that she gave in March of 2020 at the museum of Basque Society and Citizenship in Spain. As the talk was in March, this was just before the coronavirus was properly understood as a global pandemic and some of the numbers and figures that she has are from March and thus are not current numbers. Please keep that in mind.

The topic of the talk is Ecofeminism and the Decolonization of Women, Nature, and the Future. Please enjoy.

Vandana: Thank you to San Telmo Museum, to the town hall, and thank you all for being here. We could say that we are gathered to celebrate the festival I would have been celebrating if I was in India, which is the festival of diversity, the festival of color. We call it Holi, so happy Holi to all of you.

For me, in this period where it’s made to look like a little virus – tiny little virus — is taking over the world, it is good to remember that the earth is full of diverse species, diverse microbes, that she is Mother Earth, and that women have been the original healers and knowers of health. All my work on ecofeminism should mean that the panic when the patriarchal power was rising in Europe, the panic that led to the witch hunts — a lot of the women who were burnt at the stakes were actually health experts.

If that was the tradition of healing: A.) we wouldn’t be having new super viruses and B.) we wouldn’t have panicked. So, both the fear and the panic and the creation of new diseases is very much a result of the way of understanding this beautiful planet — which is living. That’s why it’s been called Gaia, which is the name of the Greek goddess of the earth. She is self-organized. It was a NASA scientist who realized that the earth maintains her climate, her temperature, and creates the conditions for life to evolve.

Two hundred thousand years ago she created the condition for our species to evolve. Four billion years ago she created the conditions for the first life to evolve on this earth. And yet a lot of work is being done on how to get away from her to Mars these days. I’m going to share with you some quotations. It’s quite interesting that brilliant people are saying there are only two options before humanity – either extinction or escape to other planets.

The ecofeminist option is a third option. Neither extinction nor escape. We stay here on this earth and protect her. That is the work we’ve done. That’s the work that we are called to do, and that’s the revolutionary work of our times. We know the earth is living and all ancient cultures recognized Mother Earth.

Recently there had been fires across Australia. I was reading a few books on how the Australian Aboriginal people who have been called, “Bushmen,” were actually farmers and gardeners 40,000 years ago. They grew rice and wheat and rye and barley and had diverse vegetables that they would grow and conserve. They’re now finding they had water harvesting systems in that desert and they’re finding that they managed the fires.

I came across this very beautiful poem from an Australian Aboriginal person on Mother Earth.

I belong to the land it runs through my veins.
It’s the earth in my bones. It’s the dry dusty plains.
It’s the whispering wind as she blows through the sand.
It’s the sparkling salt water that trickles through my hands.
It’s the feeling I get when I return to my place.
It’s deep down inside me. It’s my Mother Earth space.

So, there is no separation between the earth and us, and the earth is not dead, inert matter to be exploited. This conversion of the earth from Mother Earth from Terra Madre from Madre Tierra, to dead raw material is really the construction of a very few centuries — a few centuries of capitalist patriarchy that first began as colonialism and morphed into fossil fuel industrialism when coal was found. And then later, a century ago, oil was found.

This process has allowed the illusion to grow that the earth has no creative power. And along with the earth and nature, women are defined into a passive inert nature, their only function is as reproductive machines. No other function.

I have called this, “The colonization of nature, of women,” and it is very, very, rapidly becoming the colonization of the future. That’s why it’s not an accident. And it’s the young people who are standing up to it with Friday’s of the Future. Those of you who are here from Friday’s of the Future, I want to say the decolonization of nature, the decolonization of women of indigenous cultures, of working people, and the decolonization of the future is our common work in our times.

Through diversity we are different generations, we are different cultures, different genders, but we don’t have to be arranged in the false hierarchies that capitalist patriarchy created. First, it created an ecological apartheid. The word apartheid is the war word for separation, and it was the basis of the South African system from the period in the 40s to when the anti-apartheid movement succeeded and Mandela was freed and then became president.

Before that, interestingly, in 1906, Gandhi, who was practicing as a lawyer in South Africa, had to do his first non-cooperation movement. His name for non-cooperation and civil disobedience was, “Satyagraha.” Satya is truth, agraha is the force. The reason he was compelled to do this with the Indian community was that in 1906, the British, who by then had taken over large provinces of South Africa from the Boers, declared that Indians had to register on race, carry their badges with them all the time, and be inspected any time. Children of 8 years old had to carry these race badges.

Gandhi and the Indian community said, “We are one citizenry. We are equal human beings. We will not be divided by race.” And in effect, ecofeminists are saying, “We will not accept the false construction that we are separate from nature. We will not accept the false construction that some privileged powerful men are superior to nature – the masters, the owners, conquerors, superior to those who they have defined into nature an inertness.”

We define ourselves with nature in creativity. But the passivity that has been imposed on nature and on women as the second sex, the passivity that has been imposed on indigenous people was done really to establish an empire. In fact, it’s interesting that one of the physicists we study in school for Boyle’s Law – which is about how when you compress air, when you increase the pressure, the volume decreases. Very simple fact, everyone should know about it.

It’s not until I was writing my book “Staying Alive,” I realized that Boyle wasn’t just someone who wrote this law of how air behaves. Boyle was a director of the first corporation created to colonize India called the East India Company. It was created in 1600, and he was a director. But he wasn’t just a director of the East India Company, he was also a governor of a company called, “The New England Company,” which took over all of New England. And he was the governor of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.

These days we are made to believe there was religion of the church and then science came up out of the blue and basically defeated the rule of the church. If you look into history, you find that a patriarchal science is not science – because a living earth can only be known through participatory processes. It was Bacon who was called the father of modern science, but we should basically call him, “The father of patriarchal science in the service of capital.”

He actually wrote a book called “The Masculine Birth of Time.” He defined knowledge before him as “effeminate.” This was ecological knowledge. This was the kind of knowledge for which millions of women were burnt on the stakes as witches. Then the Royal Society was created, and the object of the Royal Society was to raise a masculine philosophy whereby the mind of man may be ennobled with the knowledge of solid truths. As though if we have liquid truths, we have no truths.

The Royal Society went on to say that the aim – the masculine aim of that particular science, the science of conquest, the science of domination — was to know the ways of captivating nature. Not knowing nature, but making her a prisoner, and making her subserve our purposes thereby achieving the empire of man over nature. Boyle became the first director of the Royal Society, and he said the idea that the earth is living and is held sacred by the indigenous people of North America — 90% of whom were exterminated in colonization. 90 percent of people of the Americas were killed during colonization — Boyle said that the idea that the earth is like a goddess and the veneration wherein men are imbued for what they call nature has been a discouraging impediment to the empire of man over the inferior creatures of God. They were wanting to build an empire over life, and to do that they had to define life itself as not having any self-organized capacity, any creativity.

If you look at it in the English — and you’re lucky you probably have other literature — but in the English intellectual tradition, there’s a Locke who wrote on governance. There’s a Hobbes who wrote on politics. There is a Bacon who wrote on science. They were all friends. They met each other. They all wrote patriarchal treatises.

Hobbs said, “You can’t have people governing themselves, you need a strong centralized state.” Locke said, “Property is created by mixing labor with nature. But not the labor of women, not the labor of the serf, not the labor of the animal which works the land, but the spiritual labor of the ones who owned the woman, who owned the serf, who owned the horse. What is spiritual labor except a way of talking about unaccountable power to dominate over nature, dominate over women, and to dominate over those who actually do the work, who actually produce, who actually create?

And this thinking in a very short 500 years ago, when poor Christopher Columbus left Spain, thinking he was coming to India. If he had reached India we’d be speaking Spanish, we wouldn’t be speaking English. But he didn’t know there was land in between. The fact that he called the indigenous people of the Americas, “Indians,” is because he thought he had landed in India. For the spices and the textiles, we used to be 25 percent of the world economy. The British reduced us to 2%.

I started to work on seed and started to work on the issue of patenting seed, which is why I created Navdanya. I didn’t accept the fact that seed is invented, I didn’t accept the fact that seed is a machine. When I wanted to know where the word patent came from, I find that the first time it’s used is for Christopher Columbus’ letter, which is called a letter patent. The letter patent was really basically a declaration which said, “Go conquer the world on our behalf.”

And of course, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand gave this letter patent, but they got the authority through the Pope Alexander, who then a year later on the papal bull talked about the civilizing mission to sort out people like us, you know, who had to be colonized. The barbarians. But the Pope got his instructions from God. And it’s not that colonialism is over, it’s just that the Columbuses of today are the kings and queens of today; they are the Pope’s of today, and even go around as the gods of today.

They control the economy. They have made money the new god. They evolve new tools, and they call it innovation. But the word innovation is derived from the word in innovare. Innovare means to renew. The seed renews. It’s innovating all the time. Women through the work they do are not just engaged in biological reproduction but in social reproduction. There would be no society without women’s contributions.

And it’s precisely colonization which tore people off the land, and then fossil fuel industrialism started to destroy local economies. They captured Africans to be slaves on the cotton plantations. They took away the land of the indigenous people. In India, they created slavery around indigo and cotton. All of this violence that was built in the cotton empire, which is what the British Empire was. All of that violence required subjugation of nature, subjugation of other places, other people, the taking over of land, and of course, the subjugation of women.

It’s in that period that racism gets born, that the idea of one religion being the civilizing mission gets born. And the British then copied the letter patent of Columbus and 300 merchant adventurers — that’s what they were called. 300 merchant adventurers of England were given the right by Queen Elizabeth to go conquer lands, and that’s how we were ruled by the British. That’s how today this colonization process is continuing.

Let me just share with you some data from my latest book. It’s called, “Oneness vs. the 1%” (and I know it is supposed to be coming out in a Spanish edition any time). When I wrote it in 2010, there were 388 billionaires who controlled as much wealth as half of humanity. This number reduced 177 in 2011 to 159 in 2012 to 92 in 2013 to 80 in 2014 to 62 in 2016, and it shriveled to 8 in 2017, and in 2018 the data was 5.

When I was doing this book, I wanted to figure out how is it that the company called Bayer could buy a company called Monsanto. When we looked at the details, Bayer and Monsanto were owned by the investment banks which have been created over the last 20 years of neoliberalism and globalization. They didn’t exist before that – the Blackrocks and the Vanguards. And they owned the biggest shares in all corporations of the world. All corporations.

So in a way, all of this buying out of corporations and all is really like musical chairs, but it’s musical chairs on the deck of a sinking Titanic. The world has been pushed to the edge for this limitless greed and the sense of limitless power. We are, as is often said, in the midst of the 6th mass extinction. Every day 200 species are being pushed to extinction. Extinction rates are 1,000 times higher than the normal rate.

Let me just share with you some quotes. A Living Planet Report two years ago said that since 1970 the industrial agriculture and chemical spread, we have wiped out 60 percent of the animals on the planet, and freshwater species have declined by 83 percent. Since 1960 the global ecological footprint has increased 190%.

All data is now showing we are in the midst of an insectageddon. More than 90 percent of the insect species have gone, including the bees and the butterflies. And that’s why I have helped launch a new campaign, a new referendum to save the bees and the farmers. I hope you’ll go to the website and sign this referendum, so that there’s policy shifts made in Europe to get rid of these chemicals.

Where did these chemicals come from? A century ago, the fossil fuels controlled then by one company in the world called Standard Oil owned by Rockefeller, joined hands with IG Farben, the cartel that made chemicals in Hitler’s Germany. The main purpose of making chemicals at that time by the Bayers and the BASF was to kill people in concentration camps. That’s what the chemicals were invented for: to make explosives by burning fossil fuels at high temperature to fix atmospheric nitrogen.

Today these chemicals are the agrochemicals that are killing the bees. They’re poisoning people. 200,000 people are dying of pesticide poisoning every year. And this is from the United Nations report on food.

The poisoning is not just poisoning the other species and pushing them to extinction. It is the main reason behind the explosion of chronic diseases. When I was a child I knew only one lady who had cancer, and she survived. She lived till 90. Now you talk to any family in their immediate family there’ll be cancer. One in six people, every sixth death is being caused by cancer. Ten million every year. Let me run through the figures of the annual costs of chronic diseases, most of which are related to the chemicals in the environment. Most chemicals are in the environment for growing food under the false assumption it produces more food, and for processing food.

Cancer is 2.5 trillion annually. Diabetes is 2.5 trillion. Endocrine disruption, 549 billion. Antibiotic resistance marker infections – most antibiotics are used in factory farms, 1 trillion. Infertility, 3.6 billion. Obesity, 1.2 trillion. Birth defects, 22.9 billion. Neurological disorders, huge neurodegenerative diseases, 2.4 trillion. Autism 171 billion.

The figures are huge as is the number of people dying, 10 million for cancer, 1.6 million every year for diabetes. All of this deadly impact of the way we produce food, it’s being totally ignored. Then comes a little virus and all the attention of the whole world is turned to it. I’d like you to think in terms of proportionality. So, how many people have got the coronavirus? 110,000? 111,000 have been infected, and about 3800 have died. But did they die of the corona?

Now the figures are so clear that the corona is only 1 percent mortality. Most people die because of diseases that are actually related to the chemicals, to cancer, to air pollution. Air pollution is leading to 7 million deaths every year. If there is an active infection the mortality increases to 13% if you already have cardiovascular diseases. And all the research has shown that much of that is related to the diet, to the trans fats.

Diabetes increases to 9 percent and if you have chronic respiratory problems related to air pollution it’s 8% and if you have cancer it’s 6 percent. I’ve been seeing even from India so-and-so died but they died of complications of diabetes.

There used to be a lot of talk of another virus a few years ago. Everyone was looking at HIV/AIDS. What does AIDS stand for? It means acquired immune deficiency. There’s a lot in that phrase. First, it’s acquired, and its immune deficiency. It compromises your body – if you have TB your TB kills you.

I did my PhD. I majored in quantum theory. The Beegles and the Boyles and the Descartes and the Newtons gave us an imaginary world of fixed immutable particles, a dead earth, women with no knowledge. And basically, by declaring the earth as inert and dead, giving themselves the license to manipulate.

That manipulation has resulted in multiple threats to the planet, multiple threats to human beings, and multiple threats to the future. This dead earth assumption is what has allowed us to arrive at this moment of the threat of extinction for the human species. And all the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change the UN panel Convention on Desertification, the Convention on Biological Diversity are all warning that we have a window of a decade to make a shift in order for humanity to have a future.

Otherwise, if we continue on the old path — which I’ll call the path of capitalist patriarchy — then we can be absolutely sure that our species which emerged on this planet 200,000 years ago could go extinct in 100 years from now, by the destruction of the conditions of our very life. And those conditions include destroying other species that support us. It includes destroying the climate. I have had to work in so many climate disasters in India: 1999, 30,000 people died in the Orissa cyclone. That’s when we were able to distribute seeds of climate resilience. Our seed banks had salt-tolerant rice. We had flood-tolerant rice.

People were saying, why are you saving these seeds? Those are the seeds that allowed people to bounce back after the tsunami, after every cyclone. And now Mr. Bill Gates pretends he has invented flood tolerance with his money. I say Bill Gates is the new Columbus, but he’s not just the new Columbus, he’s everything all the way to the top of the hierarchy. He struts around taking control of the seeds of the world, taking control of the knowledge of the world. He’s just launched a new campaign called, “Ag One”, one ag.

Just look at Spain, how different your different agricultures are. The agriculture of the Basque Country and the agriculture of southern Spain are very different. In India the agriculture of Rajasthan, of Coastal Erisa of the western parts, of the Deccan, the Himalaya, they are absolutely distinctive. Different species grow. The soils are different. The climate is different. How can you have one recipe for the whole world? Only because you are continuing the mythology of absolute control and absolute mastery.

And of course, what is now being developed is the idea of farming without farmers. We don’t need farmers. We’re going to replace them with drones, driverless tractors, and robots. We don’t need workers. We have robotic factories.

And why waste our time with real food? It’s not a waste of time, the real food, because the biodiversity in the soil, the biodiversity in our fields, and the biodiversity in our gut is one continuum. And most of these diseases that I’ve read out, in each of them there’s papers and papers and papers coming out, how the neurodegenerative diseases including autism is related to the fact that the toxics are destroying our gut microbiome. Hundred trillion microbes. Hundred trillion microbes working in amazing self-organizing, working in amazing ability to have intelligence. And when these microbes are killed, they don’t produce the enzymes – the neurotransmitters, the chemicals that allow the whole complexity of our body to run.

All these chronic diseases have their roots in denying the intelligence of the body. Let me share with you a very, very, good quote from a geneticist, someone who works with microbial genetics. He’s come to the conclusion, Jim Shapiro, “that bacteria possesses many cognitive, computational, and evolutionary capabilities. Studies show that bacteria utilize sophisticated mechanisms for intercellular communication and even have the ability to commandeer the basic cell biology of higher plants and animals to meet their basic needs. This remarkable series of observations requires us to revise basic ideas about biological information processing and recognize that even the smallest cells are sentient beings.”

So, these few centuries of a dead earth is being overturned both by the revival of indigenous wisdom as well as new science. Scientists are working with roots and finding out that in the root zone there is more neural activity going on than in our human brain. All these, in organic soils, when we put organic matter, organic soils are very rich in a fungi called mycorrhizae.

Mycorrhizae have created a soil web that is having far more neurological activity and far more communication than the internet. The internet dwarfs into nothing else compared to what happens in rich soils. Our work in Navdanya which began really with a very simple action of saving seed, but if you have to save seeds in living systems, then you have to do an agriculture that’s living and not the agriculture of killing. Not the agriculture of what I call the poison cartel that’s killing species on the earth, it’s killing our gut, it’s killing the soil.

We now find that with biodiversity and organic farming we can feed two times India’s population because we produce more nutrition. What is measured usually is the yield of nutritionally empty commodities. No one measures how nutritious it is. And European data is showing that food and plants have lost 60% of the nourished nourishments in industrial agriculture. So you have a potato, but you have no nourishment. And new research is showing – I work with teams in Italy — new research is showing that the old varieties of apricot – the apricot might look small but one old apricot is equal to 50 high yielding apricots in nourishment terms. In size, it’s bigger. But size is a Cartesian logic, you know?

Descartes very conveniently created another apartheid. He divided the world into res extensa that which can be measured in one dimension, and weight, and res cogitans, which he had, but not us. We didn’t have minds. Well, that mind is today collapsing, and it is trying to turn the new problems into a new threat to the planet, a new threat to women, a new threat to the future.

Let me just share with you two – you know, when I travel I get to have The Economist on my flight and Financial Express. So, this was The Economist when I left India. It said it’s going global. Who’s going global? The coronavirus. And I thought this article would then lead to some level of caution. Where are these new disease epidemics coming from? A.) You’re chopping down forests. Wild animals are coming closer to our habitat. That’s how all of the new epidemics are starting.

In the case of corona, a lot of people are saying it’s moved from bats because bats came much closer because you’ve destroyed their habitat. Others are saying it came from manipulation. But whatever it is, it comes from taking away the ecological space of other species which includes both their habitat as well as their evolutionary protection. When you take away the habitat they move closer, so you have elephant conflicts, tiger conflicts, corona conflicts.

When you manipulate them then you get all the other problems related to the destruction of the gut microbiome. Well, by the time I arrived yesterday and was transferring in Munich, the title of The Economist had now become, The Corona is Still There — And Now the Right Medicine for the World Economy. Just reflect on that title. If corona is a threat to human health, should we be having the right medicine for Public Health? Or is what is being saved by the corona panic a collapsing economy that we should actually phase-out of? Because this economy has led to ecocide, which is the threat to the earth, the threat to the environment, and the threat to diverse species. It also includes the fact that 50% of the emissions come from climate change.

The last time I was here, I talked much more about how the living earth and women have living solutions to climate change, but it is also driving accelerated femicide. This was yesterday’s Financial Times. What’s the top story? Femicide in Mexico. You kill a woman here and nothing happens. How much is this femicide? It used to be – it’s 87,000 women worldwide. In Mexico, 1000 every year in the last year. That’s the number of women being killed. So, in a way, the witch hunts carry on in a different way at a different level in everyday life of ordinary women.

And then the 8th of March, marches in Chile, in Mexico, in Argentina were all on breaking the silence on femicide. So, you have ecocide. You have genocide. The killing of 400,000 Indian farmers because of debt and suicide. And you’ve got increasing femicide. Most importantly there’s a crime being committed against the future. And that crime is what’s closing the future and making the younger generations rise.

How does ecofeminism decolonize this violent process of a war against life itself, and the war against women, and war against the future? By removing the false assumptions of superiority and separation. Those are the two key issues. The false assumptions that we are separate from nature and powerful men are masters of nature. The false assumption that powerful men are in charge of our future. And the false assumption that some races, some religions are superior.

All the violence we see around the world today is around the rising of the false idea of superiority – superior race, superior religion. In my country, killings are going on in the name of a superior religion. Ecofeminism removes these false assumptions and turns our times into the celebration of the creativity of nature, the creativity of women. It turns our times into a refusal to go extinct. It turns the back to a violent system, a violent way of thinking.

I mean, the way the coronavirus has been handled is a military operation. I got a message from friends in Italy. They’re talking about triage. Triage was a war term that in a war you let the very wounded be there. Second lot, who can’t really be rescued, you let them die. Only one-third you save. Now, can you imagine a future in which the world is being pushed to the edge, and meantime while new crises are coming, they’re saying only one-third of you deserve to live for a short while? Well, we will make you redundant too because they’re all talking about artificial intelligence making 99% of humanity redundant.

The problem is artificial intelligence downloading the mechanical paradigm of this age of capitalist patriarchy. Having a machine learn a few steps and then feeding that data back to us as serfs of the Alexa. I’ve just launched a campaign on Women’s Day because the announcement was made by a government that our children would be taught about eating by Amazon’s Alexa, that there’d be labs in schools when an Alexa would sit there and give instruction to kids. And we said, “No, Mother Earth will be the teacher. We’ll start gardens of hope. Our grandmothers will be the teachers of how we know what good eating is about, which is based on diversity. Because without diversity, our gut microbe cannot be fed and nourished.

Because if we begin with Alexa for food, they’ll say, “Why do we need teachers? Just have some computer learning, you know, Alexa, and let her repeat the lessons. Why do we need doctors? Why do we need people? Why do we need nature?”

Let me conclude with this whole idea of fear of nature. We are part of the earth and we can live on this earth in ways that we don’t destroy the planet, we don’t destroy the future. Every child, every woman, every indigenous person has a promise for the future.

The hotel where Indigo has put me, below me is Burger King. On my left is McDonalds. And I thought that was bad enough.But they are now moving to a fake burger. It’s called, “Impossible burger.” It’s made of GMO soya. And then they do genetically engineered blood so that it looks like meat, except that it’s made in a lab. And somehow, lab blood stops being blood, but it makes it look like meat. This is what the person, Mr. Pat Brown, says about the impossible burger. Just like they want Alexa to teach our children what’s eating right.

Mr. Pat Brown says, “If there’s one thing we know, it’s that when an ancient unimprovable technology” — he’s talking about food. He’s talking about food, real food as “unimprovable technology” because why would I stop eating my grandmother’s dishes? Yeah? So good eating is unimprovable technology. And he said, “Comes is a better technology that is continuously improvable, it’s just a matter of time before the game is over and I see a $3 trillion opportunity in this fake burger.”

I have another friend who wrote a piece saying, “Oh no, humans are the problem and eating is a problem” — even though in growing food and in eating, if we do it right as we do in Navdanya – and the Earth University is a place where you learn how to do it and there are some fliers at the back on the Earth University.

Agriculture means the culture of care, the culture of love. Good agriculture is care for the land. Chemical agriculture was war against the land. We are connected to the earth and to other species through the circulation of nutrition and food. That’s why in my culture we say everything is food. The earthworm, the mycorrhizae, the plants, the animals, we are all connected in a food system.

And the circulation of chemical-free, GMO-free, healthy, safe food is basically the circulation of life. The food web is the web of life. And while Mr. Pat Brown talks about a $3 trillion opportunity, others are talking, “Oh, we must stop eating food.” Humans are the problem. Our bodies are a problem. Our eating is a problem. But the unique period of destruction of the earth through hundred years of chemicals, through two or three hundred years of fossil fuels, 500 years of colonialism is a mistake. It’s not the way we are as human beings.

Ecofeminism realizes that we are connected to the earth through our life and our living systems, through our intelligence — because the earth is intelligent, and we are intelligent. It’s just that capitalist patriarchy’s mind was too narrow to understand these rich intelligences – of ecological intelligence, of cooperative intelligence, of living intelligence, of compassionate intelligence, of the intelligence of caring. Those are all intelligences because intelligence means to be able to make a choice.

And we are making choices for life. Capitalist patriarchy has made a choice for death. It is now time to say together we will sow the seeds of the future. And no panic, no threat, no fear, will be stronger than our will, our creativity, and our knowledge. Thank you.

Stephanie: You’re at Nonviolence Radio and you’ve been listening to a talk from March 2020 with Vandana Shiva entitled, “Ecofeminism and the Decolonization of Women, Nature, and the Future” that she gave at the Museum of Basque Society and Citizenship, also known as the San Telmo Museum.

You’ve been listening to Nonviolence Radio. We want to thank our mother station, KWMR, to Matt Watrous, Jewelia White, Annie Hewitt, Waging Nonviolence — Bryan Farrell, especially over there. We want to thank all of you, our listeners and to everybody out there, please take care of one another. Until the next time.

Transcription by Matthew Watrous.

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