In the Bay Area, environmentalists and agricultural activists draw the kinds of crowds reserved for rock stars elsewhere. This public lecture 2 nights ago started half an hour late as the organizers tried to find room for the 200 people still lined up outside when the hall was packed to capacity.
I've read a couple of books by Vandana Shiva
, extraordinary scientist, thinker, ecofeminist. They're dense - dizzyingly so. To tell the truth, they left me depressed - over the sheer brutality and scale of biopiracy, the monumental nastiness of agribusiness
, and the devastation and suffering wreaked by both. In person, though, Shiva exudes cheerful optimism, without relinquishing an atom of intellectual rigour.
Some quotes from the evening:Globalized industrialized food is not cheap: it is too costly for the Earth, for the farmers, for our health. The Earth can no longer carry the burden of groundwater mining, pesticide pollution, disappearance of species and destabilization of the climate. Farmers can no longer carry the burden of debt, which is inevitable in industrial farming with its high costs of production.
Industrial farming is incapable of producing safe, culturally appropriate, tasty, quality food. And it is incapable of producing enough food for all because it is wasteful of land, water and energy. Industrial agriculture uses ten times more energy than it produces. It is thus ten times less efficient.Every conflict of our time is about vital access to vital resources. But the conflicts are always presented as ethnic, religious, national.
Monopolies mean hunger. Monopolies mean famine.Patenting - the ultimate enclosure of life.
Capitalism died with the signing of the World Trade Agreements. It was taken over by corporate rule. Corporate rule is not about free markets - it's about coercive markets, violent markets, undemocratic markets.
I have always hated monocultures.
Violence comes from a fear of the feminine. Of the Other, being free, independent, alive. Imagine the smallness of the minds that fear fertility.
We live in an amazing universe. We have to play with it, not against it.