Humanity and nature must work in coordination to make sustainable living a possibility. With our tendency of excessive exploitation of nature and a desire for reckless growth we are bound to cause immense destruction to nature and subsequently to our own civilization. An alternative discourse is that of ecofeminism: a voice against the hegemony of aggressive developemntalism and a plea for sustainable futures.
Here is an engaging excerpt from the book ‘Soil Not Oil’ by Vandana Shiva.
The most creative and necessary work that humans do is to work with the soil as coproducers with nature. Human effort and knowledge based on care for the soil prevents and reverses desertification, the root of collapse of so many historical civilizations.1 Rebuilding soil fertility is the very basis of sustainable food production and food security. There is no alternative to fertile soil to sustain life, including human life, on earth. And, as I show in this book, it is our work with living soil that provides sustainable alternatives to the triple crisis of climate, energy, and food. No matter how many songs on your iPod, cars in your garage, or books on your shelf, it is plants’ ability to capture solar energy that is the root of it all. Without fertile soil, what is life?
The transition from oil to soil is a multidimensional transition of economy, politics, and culture.
First, it is an economic transition from a fossil fuel-driven, globalized economy—one that favors corporations by subsidizing oil and outsourcing costs—to a network of renewable energy-driven, climate change-resilient, local economies. These living economies are grounded in the soil, literally and metaphorically. They are localized, which reduces our ecological footprint on the planet while enhancing our well-being. Economies rooted in the soil are centered on nature and people. The driving force is maintenance of life, today and in the future. Their currency is not money but life itself.
Second, the transition from oil to soil is a political transition. It is a transition from undemocratic political structures—which impose globalization and a fossil fuel infrastructure on society and force the large-scale uprooting of peasants and indigenous peoples—to a decentralized democracy in which local communities have a say in what happens to their land and their lives. In this sense, soil is a metaphor of decentralized and deep democracy. As David Bosshart writes, “Consumer democracy is the gasoline for the bulldozer of globalization.”2 Consumer democracy is a pseudodemocracy associated with economic dictatorship; it desertifies the soil of real democracy. Authentic democracy, like plants, grows from the ground up. It is fertilized by people’s participation.
Third, the transition from oil to soil is a cultural transition—from a deadly consumerism to reclamation of our rightful place as cocreators and coproducers with nature. The shopping mall and the supermarket are temples of consumerism through which global corporations seduce us into participating in the destruction of our productive capacities, our ecological rights, and our responsibilities as earth citizens. Soil teaches us how to be earth citizens. And for the half of humanity that works the soil as peasants, the soil is also protector. As globalization violently pushes peasants off the land, the soil symbolizes another culture, a culture of non-violence, a culture of permanence, a culture of dignity in work, a living culture for the protection and renewal of life.
The convergence of these three crises provides us with the convergence of three opportunities—to create living economies, living democracies, and living cultures. Earth Democracy grows in the fertile soil shaped by the earth, the human imagination, and human action.
The age of oil has symbolized a rule of capital, of centralized control and coercive government, of pollution and non-sustainability, of injustice and inequity, of violence and war. The age of soil symbolizes the age of Gaia, of the flowering of diversity and democracy, of justice, sustainability, and peace.
The New Leam has no external source of funding. For retaining its uniqueness, its high quality, its distinctive philosophy we wish to reduce the degree of dependence on corporate funding. We believe that if individuals like you come forward and SUPPORT THIS ENDEAVOR can make the magazine self-reliant in a very innovative way.