“The Covid19 crisis and lockdown has had very high social and human costs in terms of lives lost, and the deepening of the crises of hunger, loss of livelihoods and work.
But it is also a wakeup call that reminds us we are “One Humanity on One Planet”. The forced lockdown creates an opportunity to reduce our ecological footprint, live within ecological limits, and tread lightly into the future, embracing all life with awareness that, though diverse, we are interconnected.”—Dr Vandana Shiva
This is part one of an extensive article Dr Shiva wrote for World Simplicity Day, July 12th 2020: “Simplicity helps protect the Planet and create Ecological and Economic Justice”.
“Live simply so that others may simply live. Simplicity is the essence of universality”. —Mahatma Gandhi
Simplicity helps protect the Planet and create Ecological and Economic Justice
The Corona lockdown has forced us to shed the clutter and the speed and become an invitation to humanity to differentiate between the essential and non-essential.
In making us stay home, the crisis creates the possibility of realising that no matter who we are, where we are, we are members of one Earth Family and share a common home, our beautiful Earth. We are part of Nature, not separate from it nor superior to it.
Living on the earth with other beings makes simplicity (shedding the clutter) an ethical and ecological obligation. By taking simply what we need to sustain our life, living within ecological and planetary boundaries, we leave vital ecological space for other beings.
All beings need their share of ecological space and the right to participate in the living processes which ensure food and water for all. By extracting more from the earth, we overstep the limits of our rightful share, disrupt planetary boundaries, ecological limits as well as the integrity of species. In the web of life species sustain each other. Sustainability and justice are interconnected, and robbing others of their rightful share deprives them of their basic needs with a deepening crises of food and water, poverty, hunger and starvation.
“The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.” —Lin Yutang
The earth is being brought to the brink by greed – of giant corporations making super profits at the cost of nature and people, and of ordinary citizens participating blindly as “consumers” in the economy of greed which has polluted the land and the atmosphere, contributing to destabilising the self-regulatory processes through which Gaia, the living earth, maintains the biosphere and the climate system.
Blindly taking more than one’s share, indifferent to the rights of others and the Rights of Nature is termed “Extractivism” – an ecological and ethical crime. Extractivism has been “naturalised”, the norm, over 500 years of colonialism, 300 years of fossil industrialism, and a few decades of corporate globalisation which is in effect recolonization.
As movements for justice and decolonisation spread worldwide during these times of the Corona virus, let us remember that the roots of the health emergency, of the ecological emergency, and the economic emergency of brutal inequality are the same – greed, power and extracting others’ share.
“Out of clutter find simplicity” Albert Einstein
The Corona crisis is a product of extractivism.—Dr Vandana Shiva
Poverty and hunger are a by-product of colonialism. The British appropriated $45 trillion from the peasants of India and transferred it to Britain, pushing more than 60 million Indians to famine.
Poverty and hunger are a result of exclusivity and selfish practices which enclose common land, forests and pastures, seeds and biodiversity for accumulating wealth.
Poverty and hunger results from an extractivist system of industrial globalised agriculture which extracts fertility from the soil, value from hard working farmers, leaving then indebted and dispossessed, pushing them to suicide. It extracts life from species which are being driven to extinction. And it extracts health.
The Corona crisis is a product of extractivism.
Poverty and hunger and chronic diseases are a consequence of the greed of corporations who push poisons and chemicals to grow food and to process it. There is now an attempt to make Fake Food and Artificial Food in labs and patent every step of the process which will contribute to new avenues of extractivism and aggravate the food and health crisis.
Every step towards more extraction, more manipulation, more concentration creates more demands on the Earth’s Resources, and denies the just share from other species and people. Gandhi reminds us that:
‘The Earth has enough for everyone’s needs, but not for a few people’s greed’.
We should enjoy the gifts of the earth through renunciation, not through greed of possession and exploitation.
In ‘Less is More’, Jason Hickel shows us that in an ecologically interconnected world, ‘less is more’.
This extract is reprinted by kind permission of Dr Vandana Shiva: “In Gratitude for a Legacy of Freedom”. You can read the full article here on Dr Shiva’s “NavdanyaInternational.org” site [click here]: and follow Dr Shiva’s social media on Twitter @NavdanyaBija [click here].
Dr Vandana Shiva is an Indian scholar, environmental activist, food sovereignty advocate, and anti-globalization author. Dr Shiva, currently based in Delhi, has authored more than twenty books. You can learn more about Dr Shiva’s work through her Navdanya.org website [click here].