Interview with Ecofeminist Vandana Shiva: ‘Polluting Companies Are Hijacking Nature in the Name of Protecting the Planet’ | The planting

✍ December 18, 2022 – 11:05

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By Maialen Ferreira.

vandana shiva she wears a red and gold sari that she has woven with her own hands. When you stop using it, you will use it as an awning to shelter from the sun. When it wears out, he will make rags with it to clean the floor. And, when it’s no longer worth it, he’ll make compost with it. And so with everything else. Shiva knows that consumerism derived from globalization is destroying the planet and, therefore, proposes real alternatives. There is not much time left, “globalization must be stopped now”, holds during the interview with in Vitoria before the Basque Government handed over the Ignacio Ellacuría Award for being a world leader in the international ecofeminist movement and in the fight to preserve biodiversity and build sustainable agricultural alternatives in the face of the climate crisis.

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In addition to being Ecofeminist activist, Shiva is a physicist, philosopher and writer. Among the many awards he has received throughout his career is the Well Earned Livelihood Awardalso called Alternative Nobel Prize (in English Right Livelihood Award). As he points out, one of the challenges facing humanity today is prevent polluting companies from controlling strategies and policies against climate change.

“Polluting companies should be complying with treaties and not providing solutions against climate change. It is they who set the conditions now and are thinking only of their benefits. They are hijacking nature in the name of protecting the planet. Coca-Cola was one of the sponsors of the Climate Summit, 700 lobbies from the fossil fuel industry were there, those are indicators that polluting companies have no shame and are in charge of the fight against climate change”, laments the activist.

What does it mean for you to receive the Ignacio Ellacuría Award for Development Cooperation?

For me it is an honor because Ignacio Ellacuría gave his life for justice and solidarity and fought against violence. I receive this award with humility and hope that it strengthens me and gives me courage.

You are a benchmark of ecofeminism. He was already talking about this concept 30 years ago, when he published the book ‘Ecofeminism’ in 1993. What has changed since then?

I believe that evolution is seen in that each time there are more people who realize that there are different forms of violence against the land, women, children and against human beings in general. We realize that this is rooted in the convergence between the capitalism as an economy of greed and patriarchy as a structure of domination. When these two elements come together, it creates colonialism, racism and sexism. Essentially they reduce the world to a world of property and commodities. So the relevance of ecofeminism today is even greater than decades ago, when I joined this movement to protect forests and jungles.

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Before, the threat was in the jungle and in those industries that wanted to plunder it for their own benefits, but now it is in all of us because colonialism concerns us all. Ecofeminism means that the land and women are not passive elements, but that we are the basis of production for the entire world and that all human beings have the right to be free. Ecofeminism today is not just about women, it is about all human beings who do not want to harm other human beings and do not want to be harmed either.

Society is more aware of the importance of a greener world, but is it willing to give up its privileges to achieve it?

There is a violent industrial system that the only thing it offers us is to improve the comfort of the world in which we live, but it fails to do so.. We are supposed to trade the land and produce that farmers grow for junk food, and then get diseases like diabetes from eating that food. So, it is clear that this does not give us comfort.

I think the time has come to share ideas about what a Good Life. A good life has nothing to do with corporations that reduce us to consumers and we end up only thinking about buying because we believe that this way we will have a better life. We will have a better life when we consume less, when we realize that we are part of a community, that we are not alone. Buying does not give meaning to our lives, in the long run it does not give us satisfaction.

So why does society believe that shopping gives you satisfaction?

Because they have colonized us. We have been colonized by those who have denied ourselves to be creators and have reduced us to being mere consumers of a production system.. The junk food industry doesn’t want us to have economies based on local food. The same is true of the fashion world, which also doesn’t want us to be able to create our own clothes or fix them when they break. H&M, Zara and all the brands are creating so much material waste that we have enough clothes in the world to live 500 years and they keep creating more. There is a whole desert in Chile that is full of clothing waste.

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All our resources should be a gift treated with respect, They should last as long as possible. For example, the sari that I wear, I have made by hand. When it doesn’t work for me, I can use it to make an awning, then to clean the floor and, finally, I’ll compost that fabric. We do not have to waste resources because everything is part of the cycle of nature and in nature there is no waste or waste. The same thing happens with humanity, we would have to recognize that each refugee is the result of an economy of consumerism.

Have you seen a change in this sense in companies and public institutions or is it what they call ‘greenwashing’ or ‘eco-whitening’?

A lot of green paint is being wasted in the world to wash the image of companies and institutions. We are in a climate crisis and there are many false solutions. For example, the problem of climate change is the destabilization of the climate cycle through pollution of the atmosphere. Greenwashing is used to say that the solution involves more engineering to remove pollutants from the earth or to block out even the sun, but the sun is the basis of life on earth and Polluters accuse life of being the problem, while offering even more pollution as the solution.

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Another issue is agriculture. There are industries that want to create agriculture without farmers and create food that comes from laboratories. If ultra-processed foods contaminate and make us sick, imagine what foods created in a laboratory will do. That’s why I consider real and local food to be the only solution.

Part of society, especially in the spheres of power, fiercely criticizes and underestimates activists like you instead of changing their attitude towards the environment. What would you say to those people?

I always invite you to see my work. I invite you to eat real food and see the difference, to stick your hands in the dirt and plant a seed. This way they will realize that they do not need digital agriculture with surveillance systems. I invite you to experience the beauty of this world, the abundance of nature and the knowledge of people.

Are we in time to reverse the negative consequences that globalization has brought with it?

We have an obligation not to let the acceleration of the globalization. We have to stop it right now. We need to protect what still exists. The indigenous populations, for example, we have to prevent them from falling into the hands of industries. We must regenerate local cultures and preserve their agriculture and food.

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Strengthening these territories is a solution to problems related to water, land, or disease, and thus, we create alternatives that move us away from the junk economy that creates clothes or fast food and does not allow other forms of economy to exist. I have seen the factories in Bangladesh where slaves make clothes, I have seen how they have destroyed the local economies with violence, that is why we had to peacefully disobey and create a movement against those industries. We have to protect what is ours, regenerate it and share it.

What is the hardest or most complicated thing you have had to face in your life as an activist?

The most challenging thing is that everything I have done has been because I have seen terrible violence. I have witnessed violence against the land, farmers and women and my response is to try to find the truth and fight it in a non-violent way.. The challenge today is more pressing because those who earn so much money are the ones who unleash the violence, but when I work honestly, I create alternative movements.

When the powerful realize what I do, they see that their markets are in danger and they fight back using their financial means.. They not only attack us, they claim that, despite their attacks, society believes them and trusts what they do. When thousands of farmers commit suicide in India due to their working conditions, economic instability or losing their land as a result of natural disasters caused by climate change, companies and institutions say that it is not true, that they die alone, but people He is beginning to have doubts about it and that doubt is expanding. They try to create a division of the population and that is what I find most challenging and difficult, because with their lies are blocking the ability of many people to think and decide.

How do you assess the Climate Summit held in Egypt? Is she positive or even more worried after the meeting?

We should be concerned, and not just about this Climate Summit. Polluting companies should be complying with treaties and not providing solutions against climate change. They are the ones who set the conditions now and they do it thinking only of their own benefits. They are hijacking nature in the name of protecting the planet.

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Coca-Cola was one of the sponsors of the Climate Summit, 700 lobbies from the fossil fuel industry were there, those are indicators that polluting companies have no shame and are at the wheel of the fight against climate change. That is the biggest challenge we face and we must avoid it at all costs.

Via elDiarioAR.

Vandana Shiva photo by 總統府, CC BY 2.0via Wikimedia Commons, edited in Canva by El Planteo

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Interview with Ecofeminist Vandana Shiva: ‘Polluting Companies Are Hijacking Nature in the Name of Protecting the Planet’ | The planting