Addressing the crises: global warming, peak oil, extinction & resource depletion

Vandana Shiva is the feisty doyenne of the anti-corporate-globalisation movement. Here is part of her speech, courtesy of Alternet, given ‘at a conference on “Confronting the Global Triple Crisis — Climate Change, Peak Oil, Global Resource Depletion & Extinction,” in Washington DC. For more information, visit the International Forum on Globalization’s website.’

[…] In India right now, the relocation of industry for example; industry like steel that’s shutting down in Europe and America, is relocating to India. Automobile companies that are shutting down in the West are moving to India; they’re talking about making 50 million cars in India annually. Only four percent of India will ever own them. The rest will either be exported or that four percent will have eight cars rather than two. Already my landlord has five in a family of three. Those cars need minerals, they need steel, they need iron ore mining, they need aluminum, they need bauxite mining. And every inch of the land in India is today serving a global, fossil fuel economy that’s on fast forward.

It needs land; land grab is the biggest resource crisis. Land you can’t create, you can only exhaust. But peasants are saying we will not move. That’s what they said in Nandigram, 25 were shot dead and they refuse to move. In Dhandri, where women were raped and attacked and refused to move. In place after place, the tribals, the peasants in India are saying this our land, this is our mother, and this is where we will be. And when the money for compensation becomes bigger and bigger– I love this action– the Nandigram peasants sent a letter to the chief ministers to say, “How much is your mother for sale. How much will you take for her? Because this land is our mother.”

And the globalization of agriculture has really become genocidal. It’s hugely responsible for increasing greenhouse gases, whether it’s from the nitrogen fertilizers or the fossil fuel in the mechanical energy that’s used, or in the long distance transport and food miles. But on the ground it’s killing people. Long before it will kill us through climate change, it’s killing people, physically killing people.

150,000 farmers have been pushed to end their lives in India because of Monsanto seed monopolies.

[…] we have basically two options. We have the option of letting the remaining resources of the planet be fought over viciously through militarized power or we can move rapidly to the ability to rebuild our ecosystems, share the limited resources the planet can provide us, and create good lives while doing it. But to do that, we’ll have to get out of many reductionisms.

The first reductionism being the reductionism of energy. We’ve suddenly moved to thinking of energy as something we can consume, not as something we generate. And I think that generative concept of energy — we call it shakti in India — is something we have to reclaim, because the solution to pollution and wasted people is bringing people back — deep into the equation of how we produce things, how we work the land, how we shape community, and how we exercise our democratic rights and rebuild our freedoms.

And of course, we’ll have to get out of the mindsets that treat the laws manufactured by the market as immutable and unchanging. And the three concepts that are constantly referred to as something that can’t be touched are: economic growth. You can’t make any change that will touch the nine percent growth in India, the ten percent growth in China. You cannot interfere in the unregulated market — even though every step of trade liberalization is an interference in the market, every step of creating an opportunity for Cargill and Monsanto, is an interference in the market. And the third false sacred, is unbridled consumerism …

The problem of climate chaos to me and the problem of appropriating the resources of those who need those resources for ecological security and economic security, is ultimately a question of ethics and justice. And that issue of ethics and justice can only be addressed if we recognize some very basic facts and reorient our practices of what we eat, what we do on our farms, our homes, our towns, our planet.

We need to reinvent our eating and drinking, our moving and working, in our local ecosystems and local cultures. Enriching our lives by lowering our consumption, without impoverishing others. And above all, we need to subject the laws that govern production and consumption to the laws of Gaia; the laws of the planet. The laws of a planet that can give forever in abundance for our needs if we do not allow the narrow minded, mechanistic, reductionist, greed based system of industrialism, capitalism, globalization to make us imagine that to be inhuman is the definition of being human.

Via dandelion salad.


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2 Responses to “Addressing the crises: global warming, peak oil, extinction & resource depletion”

  1. Chris Says:

    This is very well put. She captures a lot about the interconnections very rapidly. I don’t think we hear enough about these sorts of issues in mainstream UK news.

  2. drfrank Says:

    Yes, there’s not nearly enough; if news analysis and reporting was to be more systemic, what would it look like?

    I think this is a fascinating question, and an intriguing project proposal for some-one-or-five to run with. I can envisage something very funky indeed. My vision for a systemic news service would be to present complex news items in sleek, straightforward and aesthetically pleasing ways; the editorial function would have to be very smart…

    My experience of Vandana Shiva is of a force of nature, a whirlwind of energy – who can sometimes get carried away in rant mode, which may be a trap when getting into the interconnections of things – hence editing out large sections of the transcript of her talk here.

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