Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Extinction Rebellion – Our Duty to Save the Earth

This is an extract from the foreword to ‘This Is Not A Drill’ written by Vandana Shiva.

The signs are loud and clear. From the Earth. From science. From women. From children. 

From indigenous communities. From our daily lives.

The life on this planet, and our own future, is under severe threat.

We are living through the sixth mass extinction, driven by the limitless greed of the 1 per cent, their blindness to the ecological limits the Earth sets and the limits set by social justice and human rights. We forget that we are one humanity on one planet. There is no planet B. 

This is where we will live, or go extinct as a species, with the millions that have been driven to extinction by the violence and carelessness of the brute force misleadingly called the economy.

‘Economy’, like ‘ecology’, is derived from oikos – our home, the Earth. An economy that destroys our home is no longer an economy. It is a war against the planet, the people and our future.

The Hopi people of North America describe the phenomenon of destroying everything that sustains a society as Powaqqatsi – ‘an entity, a way of life, that consumes the life forces of beings in order to further its own life’.

The Powaqqatsi phenomenon of the Hopi's is clearly in evidence today. We are dealing with a destructive force that is taking out life forces wherever it can. If the corporations have their way, our fragile web of life will be poisoned and broken, species will be driven to extinction, people will lose all their freedoms to their seeds, to their food, to their knowledge and decisions, and all social relations will be ruptured and broken.

Life, society and democracy are under threat. We refuse to allow this future to unfold. We love the Earth; we embrace humanity. We celebrate our biological and cultural diversity and we will defend the rights of the Earth, and the rights of all citizens, including the last child, with our fearless love and compassionate courage.

To make peace among people we need to make peace with the Earth. To defend the human rights of people we need to recognise the rights of Mother Earth. We need to live through our creativity and her generosity to reduce our ecological footprint while expanding our planetary consciousness of being an Earth family, with one common home.

The extermination of biological diversity and of our indigenous cultures that know how to live in peace with Mother Earth is part of one extinction, one interconnected war against life. Ecocide and genocide are only one indivisible process, and they began with the idea of the colonisation of the Earth as the ‘civilising mission’ of a ‘superior race’.

Gandhi wrote in his book on freedom, Hind Swaraj, or Indian Home Rule, ‘This (attacking) civilisation is such that one has only to be patient and it will be self-destroyed.’ However, in the process of this civilisation’s self-destruction, it is destroying the planet and our lives. It is destroying our future.

Therefore, it is a moral imperative to rebel against a system that is driving extinction, exterminating species and cultures. To not cooperate has become a moral imperative – a survival imperative. The non-cooperation must begin with the refusal to accept that a system based on ecocide and genocide qualifies to be a ‘civilisation’. 

There are better ways to live, to produce and to consume. Extinction Rebellion begins with liberation of our minds from colonising categories. We are diverse but equal – not ‘superior’ or ‘inferior’. The extermination of life in its diversity cannot be justified by declaring other species and other cultures ‘inferior creatures of God’.

The Earth is for all beings, today and tomorrow.

I call Extinction Rebellion ‘Satyagraha for Life’. Satyagraha for Gandhi was non –cooperation based on the force of truth.

Today’s struggle for truth is that extinction and extermination are not inevitable. They are crimes against the Earth and against humanity. And we can stop this crime by refusing to participate in and cooperate with this project of ecocide and genocide.

Together, as diverse species and diverse cultures, we have the creative power to stop extinction through non-cooperation at every level, beginning with each of us, expanding the rebellion into ‘ever-widening, never-ascending circles’ of interconnected life and freedom.

This is the call of Earth Democracy. This is our highest duty as Earth citizens.

Dr Vandana Shiva is an Indian author and academic @drvandanashiva  

The worldwide rebellion continues 7 October 2019. Earth Strike 20 September 2019.     

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