by Vandana Shiva
This is a transcript of a youtube talk
It would be the greatest stupidity that rules us today: to let the water system, the food system and the planetary climate system get destroyed.
So our challenge really is against stupidity. Finish the water and you find a substitute. Finish the food and you find a substitute. Are they substitutes for the real things that make life work? No! The food that they say they can substitute is fake food, which is doing huge amounts of damage to our health. They cannot create water, but they can steal it. So the powerful go to poorer communities to divert more water. I don’t think the planet will die; the earth is too powerful. She’s lived through hotter times, colder times. She’s lived with dinosaurs, without dinosaurs. She’ll live with human beings or without human beings. We are dispensable; she’ll find a way.
But we need to protect our home.
The importance of women
Women were left to do the work that was considered unimportant. Going to war and killing was considered important. Making profits at the cost of others was considered important. That’s the way the powerful men designed it; and they sucked in not-powerful-men to do their dirty work. But actually, women were left to do the real things: provide the water, provide the food, and take care of the family. The values we need are the values of the knowledge of how to live with nature – that’s what women’s knowledge is. We need knowledge of how to care. It’s called
emotional intelligence now. We need knowledge of how to share. That is a capacity we will need more and more in the future in a period of privatisation and in a period of extraction. So women with their caring and sharing will be the teachers of how to be human in the future.
It is said that respecting nature costs money
We are living in the final stages of a very deceitful system, which has made everything very costly for the planet; costly for the producer; and look cheaper for the consumer. So very high cost production, with GMOs and patents and royalties and fossil fuels, is made to look like cheaper food. And with clothes – very costly production that kills the girls in Bangladesh in slave factories is made to look like cheap clothing. This is a fake cheap.
Advice for young city-dwellers
In this period of seemingly the end of the world as we knew it, how do we sow seeds of a possible new world ? Firstly: every young person should recognise that by working with their hands, and their hearts and their minds, being interconnected, is the highest evolution of our species. Working with our hands is no degradation, it’s our real humanity: start a garden; create a playground; save seeds, grow food, cook. When your mother cooked it was treated as if it was not work, but a background activity. But she is the reason that you were sustained. Start cooking classes. Ask grandmothers to teach you how to cook. Create community. We are not atomised producers and consumers: we are part of the earth family. We are part of a human family, and so we are part of a food community. Food connects us: everything is food. And finally, never be afraid of deceitful, dishonest, brutal power.
That is true freedom.