Manifesto on Care Economies and Earth Democracy

On World Environment Day on June 5, 2022, globalization critic, environmental activist and ecofeminist Vandana Shiva released the Manifesto on the Care Economy and Earth Democracy. This was done as part of his tour of Italy and France, where Dr Shiva launched his new book, True Economy – From Greed to an Economy of Care, and participated in numerous events including EireneFest, Festival du book for peace and non-violence, and a joint event by his organization Navdanya International with the Italian Buddhist Union and the Rome City Council on agroecology and regenerative agriculture.

“The future of the next generations can only be secured if we take the path of care and respect for the Earth, which requires a profound shift in the global economic, cultural and environmental paradigm,” Navdanya International said in a report on the tour, which took place June 3-11, 2022. We’re posting the full manifesto below.

By Dr Vandana Shiva

Care and mutual support are the currencies of life both in nature and in society that interact together as a whole, sharing intrinsic values ​​and inherent rights.

Earth, Gaia, Terra Madre is a living planet whose rich biodiversity of life has evolved over billions of years and sustains all life. It is neither dead matter nor raw material to be exploited and degraded.

Caring for the Earth and all life is our ethical and ecological responsibility.

Earth Care is the economy of life, Oikonomics.

In a time of ecological and social collapse and disintegration, the healing and regeneration of the Earth is the basis for restoring the human future.

  1. Earth Care and Earth Rights

Recognize that we are one earthly family, interconnected living beings, in all our diversity, participating in and sharing a common web of life. Care of the Earth regenerates the natural resources, biodiversity and economy that provide us with life and sustenance. The Earth and its ecosystem support us with oxygen to breathe, water, food, clothing, shelter and medicine.

Industrialization, driven by fossil fuels and oil, is destroying the Earth’s living ecosystems and has led to climate change, loss of vital biodiversity, disease, destruction of forests and the extinction of plant life and animal, propelling us towards extinction.

Respect for the Earth’s finite resources is fundamental to a care economy and a caring humanity.

  1. Human intelligence, autonomy, freedom and rights

Humans have been co-creating with the Earth, its biodiversity and each other since time immemorial – a reality forgotten since the beginning of industrialization and which we must now reclaim.

The mechanistic and separative Cartesian approach to all life has reduced humans to machines, unthinking and mechanical beings, responding mindlessly to imposed norms and stimuli. High frequency technology and digitalization are numbing our brains and intelligence and eroding our inherent right to choose. Big Data, algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are now imagining a future of agriculture without farmers, manufacturing without workers, education and information without teachers, health without doctors.

Care economies rely on reclaiming our minds, our autonomy and our creative potential, to preserve our freedoms and rights to work in service of the Earth, our communities and future generations. Care economies stimulate creative freedom, justice and cohesion.

  1. Regenerating Community

Life is a sensitive and benevolent communal phenomenon – in society as well as in nature. It is relational and not atomistic. Communities are where local economies of subsistence, health and well-being converge and regenerate. Relationships forged in respect and reciprocity cultivate creativity and well-being. Care economies create harmony and prosperity.

  1. Reclaiming the commons

Care economies are based on reclaiming commons and public goods – caring for the land and sharing the earth’s commons resources: the commons of seeds and biodiversity, water and land, food and nourishment; and the public goods and services that societies have developed through common responsibilities and common rights: knowledge, democracy, health, education, energy, transport and housing.

Privatization, patents and enclosures of the commons are a failed system of a colonial process based on extraction and greed and have no place in care economies. The financialization and comodification of nature reduces the earth and its resources to financial assets, now controlled by billionaires and their asset management funds, and worsens the ecological crisis and endangers indigenous communities and small farmers who have always nurtured biodiversity and the Earth. Mother Earth is not for sale.

  1. From competition to cooperation, economies of Greed to care economies, from extractive economies to the circular economies of the law of return

Cooperation and synergy are the basis of Care economies. Care economies respect the boundaries of the Earth and are based on need. As Gandhi reminded us, “The Earth has enough for everyone’s needs, but not for the greed of a few people”.

Competition and greed violate nature’s ecological processes and destroy the ability of ecosystems and communities to renew, regenerate and produce. Greed economies, based on extractivism and competition, create scarcity, hunger and disease, the disposable, unemployment and violence.

Care economies are based on circular, gift, reciprocity, sharing and mutuality economies – the law of return.

Circular economies increase the creative and regenerative potential of society and nature. Care economy systems are circular, local, participatory and harmonious and lead to well-being and abundance.

  1. Diversity and decentralization

Globalization has led to centralized control over the earth’s resources, centralization of control over markets, and degradation of quality – of the food we eat and the clothes we wear. Quality requires care. Care economies involve decentralization and participatory democracy and embrace cultural and biological diversity that precipitates participation and location rooted in relationships and affinities.

  1. Democracy

Care economies are based on equality, justice and dignity for all and are at the heart of a living democracy of the people, by the people, for the people. No person or species is dispensable.

Care economies generate food for all, health for all, work for all.

Greed economies are based on centralized control, uniformity, domination and the creation of hierarchies and are a threat to democracy.

Greed encourages the use of reckless technologies that harm the Earth and her people and render people useless.

Earth democracy is the democracy of all life in interdependence and participation.

  1. Consideration and concern for the rights of future generations

The principles of care economies are grounded in the visionary principle of the seventh generation of the Iroquois Confederacy, the oldest living participatory democracy where the guiding principle of all policies is consideration and care for the next seven generations.

The Principle states: “In each of our deliberations, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations”.

  1. From war and conflict to peace and harmony

Greed and competition create conflicts over resources, wars over the resources of the earth and wars that destroy the earth.

To avoid ecological collapse and species extinction, we must stop the war on Earth and make peace with Earth, working within ecological laws, respecting planetary boundaries and the rights of all species and all other humans in harmony as a whole.

Through Care of the Earth, regenerating and healing broken cycles and broken societies, we can make peace with the Earth. Not taking more than we need is an act of peace. Caring for and sharing the gifts of the Earth is the path to Peace.

The original article can be found here