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A People's Pact to Protect the Planet

Vandana Shiva

2nd December 2015

We cannot rely on governments in meeting in Paris to solve the many-headed climate problem, writes Vandana Shiva. It's up to us to safeguard the future of the Earth, and of our own and other species. So let's all join in this pact to love and protect our one and only home.

We commit ourselves to breaking out of the vicious cycle of violence and degeneration, and creating virtuous cycles based on non-violence and regeneration for the wellbeing of all people and all species.

The governments under corporate influence may fail in Paris - but we as citizens cannot.

As citizens of this beautiful and bountiful planet, we make a pact with the Earth, to protect her, care for her, and give back to her the gifts she provides us with, in gratitude and love.

Here is my ten-point pledge that reflects what we can all do in our own way to protect the Earth in our own lives. If you agree with it, please join me in this pledge, and ask others to do the same

1. In living soil lies the prosperity and security of civilization

In the destruction of soil is the destruction of civilization. Our future is inseparable from the future of the Earth.

We commit ourselves to protect our soils and biodiversity. Our living soils will become reservoirs of water and sinks for carbon. Ecological and regenerative agriculture is based on recycling organic matter, and hence recycling nutrients.

We will give back living carbon, as organic matter, to the earth, in gratitude and responsibility, based on the Law of Return, and thus help mitigate, adapt and build resilience to climate change.

As Sir Albert Howard said, "Taking without giving is a robbery of the soil, a particularly mean form of banditry, because it involves the robbing of future generations which are not here to defend themselves."

2. Our seeds and biodiversity, our soils and water, our air, atmosphere and climate are a commons

The gifts of the earth vital to life have always been held in the commons with common duties to protect, and common rights to draw sustenance.

Our seeds and biodiversity are a commons. Their enclosure through patenting is pushing diversity to extinction and farmers into a debt trap. Soil is the very basis of our life and our food. Water is a commons. It is not a commodity. It sustains our life.

The air and atmosphere is a commons which give us clean air to breath and gives Gaia the ca-pacity to regulate the climate. Polluting the air and atmosphere with greenhouse gases and emissions trading is a privatization of this commons.

We do not accept the enclosure and privatization of our commons. We will defend and reclaim them through care, cooperation and solidarity.

3. Seed freedom and biodiversity are the foundation of food freedom and climate resilience

We commit ourselves to defending seed freedom as the freedom of diverse species to evolve, in integrity, self-organisation, and diversity, and the freedom of communities everywhere to reclaim open source seed as a commons. The saving and exchange of open pollinated, non-GMO, non-patented seed is an inalienable right. Farmers rights are non-negotiable.

We will resist every law and technology that attempts to undermine the freedom of the seed, which is intimately linked to the freedom of Mother Earth so that the generations to come are as fortunate as we have been in receiving her gifts of diversity, nourishment and livelihoods.

We join and stand together for our seeds and say no to GMOs, no to patents.

4. Industrial globalised agriculture is a major contributor to the climate crisis

Industrial Globalised agriculture contributes more than 40% of the greenhouse gases that are de-stabilizing the climate through deforestation, fossil fuel based fertilisers, packaging, processing, re-frigeration, and long distance transport.

Knowing that it is one of the causes of climate change, we do not accept Industrial Agriculture as a solution to the climate crisis and hunger.

We do not recognize false solutions to climate change such as geoengineering, 'climate smart' agriculture, ge-netic engineered 'improved' seeds, or 'sustainable intensification'.

5. Ecological, small-scale agriculture and local food systems can feed the people and cool the planet

We commit ourselves to practice and protect small-scale ecological agriculture which produces more health and nutrition per acre and provides 70% of the food we eat, while it rejuvenates our soils, biodiversity and water systems, and stabilizes the climate.

We will support and create local food systems which provide the answer to the food, nutrition and health crises, as well as to the climate crisis. Organic ecological small-scale agriculture and local food systems can feed the world while cooling the planet.

6. 'Free trade' as corporate freedom is a threat to the planet and our freedoms

'Freedom' has been hijacked through 'free trade' which has substituted the freedom of people and freedom of life of the planet and its diverse species to freely evolve and nourish, with freedom of corporations to destroy the planet and the living economies which sustain the people.

The ecological and social destabilization of the world in the last two decades is a result of the deregulation of commerce through the 'free trade' agreements of the World Trade Organization (WTO), engi-neered and written by corporations, for the benefit of corporations.

We commit ourselves to resisting the attempts to push new 'free trade' agreements such as TTIP, TPP and regional and bilateral trade agreements which are based on corporate rights and corporate personhood and which in fact dismantle human rights and our democracies and constitutions.

We do not recognize corporations as persons. They are legal entities to whom society gives permission to exist within limits of social, ecological, and ethical responsibility; corporations having responsibility for climate change are subject to the Polluter Pays Principle.

7. Local living economies protect the Earth, create meaningful work, and provide for our needs and wellbeing.

Local living economies based on the law of return and regeneration of the natural world and society, nourish all life. Nature's gifts and people cannot be reduced to 'inputs '. Economies which focus on life and the wellbeing of people instead of corporate profits, rejuvenate and regenerate resources and work for all and for future generations.

We will not participate in production and consumption systems, including industrial food and agriculture, that destroy the Earth's ecological processes, her soils and biodiversity and displace and uproot millions from the land. In living economies there is no waste, and there are no wasted or disposable people.

8. Participatory, living democracies are the foundation of Earth Democracy

We commit ourselves to creating participatory, living democracies, and resist all attempts to hijack our democracies through powerful interests. We will organise on the principles of sharing, inclusion, diversity, and the duty to care for the planet and each other.

We commit ourselves to breaking out of the vicious cycle of violence and degeneration, and creating virtuous cycles based on non-violence and regeneration for the wellbeing of all people and all species.

We will not be divided by fear or hate, but will stay united as members of one Planet and one Humanity. And, in keeping with Gandhi's principle, when rules and laws interfere in the higher laws that flow from the earth and our humanity, we will collectively draw the courage to not cooperate.

9. We are members of the Earth Community in which all species, peoples, cultures have intrinsic worth and rights to sustenance

We will create an Earth Democracy in a vibrant and bountiful Earth - 'Terra Viva' - which recognizes the intrinsic worth of all species and all people. Because all people and all species are by their very nature diverse, it recognizes diversity as not something to be tolerated, but something to be celebrated as the essential condition of our existence.

And all life, including all human beings, have a natural right to share in nature's wealth to ensure sustenance - soil, food, water, ecological space and evolutionary freedom.

We make a pact to live consciously as Earth Citizens recognizing that the Earth Community includes all species and all peoples in their rich and vibrant diversity. The rights of Mother Earth and human rights are not separate from each other and are one indivisible continuum.

The violence to the earth and injustice to humanity are part of the same process. Sustainability cannot be separated from justice, human rights and peace.

10. Gardens of Hope

Everywhere we will grow organic food on our farms, our gardens, our balconies, our terraces. We will plant Gardens of Hope everywhere as a concrete symbol of our pact with the earth for her rejuvenation.

Through small steps with significant impact, undertaken by millions of people aware of their power by acting in resonance, harmony and unity, we will sow the seeds of change towards a new planetary citizenship, taking care of the Planet and each other by building living economies and living democracies.

We started by planting a Garden of Hope on 9th November 2015 in the Jardin Marcotte in Paris, together with the AMAP Ile de France Network and the Cultures en Herbes, as a first concrete step towards a new planetary citizenship.

We will continue to plant gardens of hope everywhere, and sow the seeds of change that will lead to a new Earth Democracy based on justice, dignity, sustainability and peace.

 


 

Vandana Shiva is an Indian environmental and anti-globalization activist, and author of more than 20 books, and founder of Seed Freedom. Find out more at her personal website.

These pledges form the basis of Vandana Shiva's 'Pact for the Earth'.

 

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