We can only sow a future in freedom if we break the rampant power of the elites. Exclusive print from "One earth for all! - oneness versus the 1 percent".
by Vandana Shiva
[This article published on Nov 8, 2021 is translated from the German on the Internet, Earth Democracy | Rubicon (rubikon.news).]
We must sow the seeds of the future when our possible extinction stares us in the face. We must sow the seeds of freedom when the freedoms of all beings are abolished for the limitless freedom of the 1 percent, so that they can exploit the earth and people and manipulate life and our thinking. This, however, requires a quantum leap in our imagination, our intelligence, our capacity for compassion and love, and our courage for creative nonviolent resistance and non-cooperation with a system that drives us to extinction.
Our only option is to heal the Earth and thus heal and reclaim our humanity, creating hope for our only possible future - as a humanity on one planet. Stephen Hawking's two options - to die out or flee from planet Earth to other planets - are not the only two future options available to humanity.
There is a third option beyond extinction and flight: the alternative of regeneration of the Earth to continue living here, in our respective places on the planet we call home. This is our evolutionary challenge. As we awaken to our intelligence and evolutionary potential, and to the intelligence that permeates our planet and the universe, we need not slide into the despair and hopelessness of inevitable extinction or the hubris of conquering and dominating other planets.
Elon Musk wants to create a Space-X city on Mars: "By talking about setting up Space-X-Mars, I want to point out Mars as a possibility - to portray it as if it's something we can achieve in our lifetime," he writes, adding, "There's always a path anyone could take if they wanted to."
Musk believes the threshold for a self-sustaining city on Mars would be one million people. Current calculations indicate that it would take between forty and one hundred years "to achieve a fully self-sustaining civilization on Mars."
The masters of the universe would like to see one-eighth of one per thousand of the human population get into a spaceship and escape to Mars - of course, the rest of humanity and the rest of the species are not discussed.
In less than a hundred years, however, humanity could regenerate the planet, Earth's soils, water, and biodiversity, create a balance among humans, and provide enough food for all.
For Musk, as for Hawking, there are only two possible paths for humanity - that we stay on Earth forever and eventually die out, or become a "space civilization and a multiplanetary species." Musk, like all people suffering from technological hubris, does not seem to understand that inhabitants of a planet do not need space travel. To be an earthling is to be aware that we are part of the universe and the earth and that we must live in accordance with the laws of the universe as well as the earth. The most basic law is the realization that we share the planet with other beings and that we have a duty to care for our common home.
The physical capacity to organize space flights has been achieved. However, we must now develop our planetary consciousness as Earth citizens. The further our consciousness reaches, the smaller our ecological footprint will become. I would like to adopt for the present evolutionary moment Gandhi's words on universal ecological responsibility:
"The earth provides enough for the needs of all, but not enough for the greed of a few."
Today we need to realize that the Earth offers enough: for all living beings and their future evolution. Only in a worldview driven by greed, by hubris, and by a mechanistic, militaristic intelligence of conquest does extinction seem inevitable. The assumption that going to Mars is tantamount to creating life on Mars and building a self-sustaining civilization demonstrates hubris and arrogance, ignorance and indifference.
Both Hawking and Musk do not seem to take into account at all the fact that the Earth is a self-organized, living planet that first creates the conditions: for its life and that of all species that have evolved on it; that the Earth and every living thing, even the smallest cells, have the capacity to heal, renew and regenerate. From this potential, from the fact that we share the planet with millions of species, comes hope. It is irresponsible, immoral, and unethical to believe that we can continue to ravage the planet and flee to another, even if it were technologically feasible.
Staying home is an environmental and ethical imperative. It is also a joyful option. It is the practice of oikonomia (of homesteading) as an art of living. It is Earth Democracy in action, cultivating and expanding the freedoms of all beings.
While we face the hyper-anthropocentrism and hyper-greed of the 1 percent that is eradicating biodiversity and enslaving the 99 percent, we take our strength for change from being part of the Earth Family.
Knowing that we are one with the earth and all its beings, we realize that we are one as humanity. The web of life connects us. The power of Big Money and its political machinery divides us, splitting us into locked-in, constructed identities, creating the illusion that we are separate from the Earth. This separation creates the illusion that it is the money machine that determines our lives: That without Monsanto and Cargill we have nothing to eat, without Coke and Pepsi we have no water, without Big Pharma we have no health, without Facebook we have no friends, without Twitter we have no communication, without Big Banks we have no money, without Big Oil we have no energy, and without Big Data we have no knowledge.
Mechanistic thinking keeps us trapped in the belief that any inclusion of something else in our being and consciousness is an encroachment on our space and freedoms. But the ecological space in which life renews and regenerates itself is not a two-dimensional Cartesian space. It is a four-dimensional space of "desha" and "kala", space and time, where life evolves in intelligence, vibrancy and diversity. The more interactions and relationships take place in the ecological space of life, the more we expand our own freedoms and possibilities.
The business of tearing at and making profit through a violent extractive economy that has built the 1 percent is burdening the earth and humanity with immeasurable, unsustainable costs and has brought us to the brink of extinction. We do not need to flee the earth, we need to flee the mirages that enslave our thinking and make extinction seem inevitable.
We are living through the latest phase of an epic struggle that has shaped human history over the centuries: between the power of domination, destruction and possession and the non-violent power of co-creation, cooperation and co-evolution.
The power of violence and destruction springs from separation - from nature and from each other. Our nonviolent power springs from connectedness and unity. For this reason, we are sowing an alternative based on intelligence and science, responsibility and consciousness, care and compassion: Seed by seed, farmer by farmer, plate by plate.
And in this process, there are more species thriving, more food, and a regeneration of our biodiversity, soil, and water. The potential for a healthier planet and a healthier society with more knowledge for more people and with an Earth democracy based on the intelligence of all evolving life is before us and it is real. It heralds the resurgence of the real.
Vandana Shiva is a scientist, author of more than 20 books, environmental activist and advocate for food sovereignty and earth democracy. Her pioneering work in traditional agriculture and women's rights, particularly in the Global South, has brought about a fundamental cultural shift in the way the world views these issues.