This most valiant of campaigners for life on earth, packed the Civic Hall on Tuesday with another eloquent overview of the follies of what is called 'development', our human version of it.
Natural development, she describes, as an organism's capacity to freely develop in its own way,directed from inside itself, and infinitely diverse. By contrast, we humans have tried to improve on nature, to 'fix' it, often failing to see in time the drawbacks and damage inflicted by our interference. The history of our later realisations includes the exposure of the damage of DDT by Rachel Carson in the 1960's, to a shocking present-day example that Vandana shared with us, relating to farmed shrimp.
Apparently in the contrived circumstances of a shrimp farm, the female shrimps are reluctant to lay their eggs, the environment not being hospitable to this, so they are blinded and the shock of this makes them lay their eggs. How can we ever eat farmed shrimps again knowing this?
The trends lying behind these kind of practices in farming include the 'war' mentality that invades both our agriculture and our medical treatments; and our stupidity in considering ourselves as 'top' of the chain of life on earth. Life, including ours, depends on the work of myriads of micro-organisms in soil and air and water, without whom no higher life forms could exist.
What we need to do is turn away from a mentality that uses force, co-ercion, to one that directs our energies into creating a 'hospitable environment' in which all life forms can flourish and find their balance with each other.
Somehow,despite the continuing mainstream trend towards more and more 'unnatural' ways of feeding ourselves, and healing ourselves, Vandana remains a powerful force and shining example to us all for the possibilities of another way. Keeping our seed freedom, growing our own food, remembering that those in so-called 'developing countries' are closer to appreciating these kind of wisdoms than we are in the West/North; all these familiar messages she offered again with unfailing freshness.
Feb. 18th 2013