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Only ecology can stop wars! Report to Vandana Shiva

Only ecology can stop wars! Report to Vandana Shiva

By Martín Castelló

Alternative Nobel Prize and speaker at the Rototom Festival. Inspired by characters like Einstein or Gandhi, nuclear physicist and philosopher, this Indian environmentalist rejects nuclear energy as polluting and invented to kill. He defends ecology as an inseparable part of human rights and continues to believe more than ever in an alternative to brutal capitalism based on love and non-violence.

If there is one thing that someone remembers the first time they speak to Vandana Shiva, it is her captivating smile, astonishingly constant, always ready to share the little secrets of happiness; those that make this world worthwhile.

Can ecology stop wars?

Only ecology can stop wars! -he smiles-, because wars are fought for natural resources: oil, minerals, water ... And if someone does not respect the earth, nature, they cannot respect human rights either. Ecology, and only ecology, can stop wars.

Is there an alternative to capitalism?

Most of the world survives outside of capitalism; in my country, 95% of the population. And most of human history has not had capitalism.

But the capitalism of western countries does influence the rest of the world, for better or for worse….

In the last 50 years the bad part has gotten bigger. In your countries, capitalism had a social face and this has led many to give up their fight against capitalism. And that is why what we see in crisis like that of Greece, Spain, Ireland or Iceland happens now, and these are just a few of the first countries where it will happen. It is also happening in a way already in England. In our world, capitalism simply comes in and steals your land, with its most brutal face. Now, in your world the crisis has made capitalism take off that social mask and you are beginning to experience brutal capitalism.

In Greece they believe that they have started a revolution that they will lead with Spain and Italy to change the world, although they still do not know how ...

I visited Puerta del Sol in Madrid and I see that 50% of the population have been expelled by the economic system, 49% unemployment among young people; which is like saying "we have no place for you in the system." There are people lying in the streets, there is intelligence in the street, and they are going to seek a change. That revolution is inevitable; You cannot exclude 50% of society from the system and expect nothing to happen. And what is going to happen will not depend on the financial system. People will have to find other ways of living. People want less capital, fewer resources, and more welfare. And whatever the change it will be an ecological and sustainable change. It is not an empty utopia. It is an ecological imperative and a social imperative.

In the 1970s you hugged trees to prevent them from being cut down. Should people hug trees more often?

People should embrace all things of value more often. Trees are valuable, soil is valuable, children are. And we have to declare with love: "You are not going to destroy these valuable things!"

Can you explain why ecology and human rights are linked?

The illusion of mechanistic philosophy and capitalism have tried to put into our minds that they are separate and told us that we are not part of nature. And the truth is that financial capitalism grows on this planet, but human well-being does not. The most basic things we need come from the ground. Nuclear power is the most expensive and dangerous that can exist and they still tell us that it is clean and safe. Fast-food is destroying our forests and killing our bodies, it disconnects our brain so that we do not think and do not choose; Fertilizers pollute our waters and with GMOs we are polluting and destroying the diversity of thousands of species on the planet so that someone can patent a monoculture.

What does non-violence mean to you? Do you think the Satyagraha Gandhi's (peaceful struggle) is possible today despite the violence of governments?

The principle of non-violence is not to harm the earth or living beings. And it is more pertinent than ever. In India we are applying the Satyagraha of Gandhi with the defense of the seeds; and in the streets of India non-violence is being practiced against corrupt politicians. And yes, governments are more violent because capitalist globalization demands violent military action. And there are people who die, but if your answer is to take a gun, I assure you that you will have already lost, because the capitalist armies have more weapons than you can ever have. Non-violence is more ethical, more effective, and also prevents a movement from being criminalized. You cannot do it from fear, only with love, it is also a matter of connections, connecting ... and the magic moment arrives.

Is the lack of contact with nature the cause of so much stress, unhappiness, depression ...?

It even has a name: Nature Deficit Disorder. And it has been proven with many people that they feel good as soon as they have contact with nature.

What is your biggest lesson learned?

That there is no force more powerful than love. As an example I can tell you that I am here with my son. I am a single mother and most of the good things I have done have been guided by my love for him, by my desire for him to have the best in life. Love is my guide I could have been a very angry and unhappy person, but I have made love an enrichment for my life.

"Transgenics is to agriculture what usury is to the economy"


Industrial agriculture has several stages, first because of the control of seed production and because of the patent system, which causes a total dependence on farmers versus producers. The second stage occurs with fertilizers, which also imply a control of production and a dependence on the part of the peasants towards the manufacturers of these chemical fertilizers. And the third is through pesticides. In this way the alternatives are eliminated. The last step of the food industry has been with transgenic foods. The price of these seeds is very high and, at first, many farmers in India, for example, began to cultivate them. In order to buy them, thinking that they were magic seeds that would not need insecticides, since they were said to be immune to pests or insects, they threw the house out the window. What the peasants did not know is that they were seeds that produced, in turn, non-usable seeds. This situation has destroyed thousands of small producers, has caused the suicide of many peasants and is destroying the peasant social fabric in India.

Why are small family farms more productive than industrial monocultures?

They are more productive if we look at production from a broad and qualitative aspect, from energy efficiency… That is why I am a defender of organic agriculture. In organic agriculture, a producer will consume less energy to produce products that will also have higher quality. He will use seeds that he produces himself, he will not use fertilizers or pesticides that harm the environment. Production will take place in a natural cycle, respecting the environment, that is, conserving it. The industrial system of agricultural production is profitable, it favors monoculture that produces large quantities but requires a much greater energy investment, an energy that unfortunately is not accounted for within the production system, such as the purchase of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides , energy expenditure on machinery, irrigation, etc.

GMOs in India have driven many people to suicide… Are GMOs to agriculture what usury to the economy?

Everything is part of the same system and there is no doubt that GMOs are the usury of industrial agri-food and what nuclear energy is to energy production. Thousands of peasants have committed suicide anguished by the debts contracted due to the purchase of "miraculous" seeds that were sold to them at very high prices. In these three cases - transgenics, banking and nuclear energy - what is perceived is that there is an absence of responsibility and it is society that pays for the broken dishes with alarming consequences.

Vandana Shiva She is an Indian scientist, philosopher and writer. In 1982, she created the Foundation for Scientific, Technological and Ecological Research, which includes among its initiatives the promotion and dissemination of organic agriculture, the study and maintenance of biodiversity, and promoting the commitment of women to the environmental movement. He received the Alternative Nobel Prize in 1993.

New world


Video: Vandana Shiva: Earth Democracy at PCC (January 2022).