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EARTH DEMOCRACY November 8, 2010

Posted by wmmbb in Natural Environment, Peace.

So how do we stop violence in all its forms? The ecological and atmospheric crises we face did not just happen. They have a source in perception and thinking.

Cultural assumptions are difficult to question and more difficult to change perhaps because our tools and our organizations are so closely intertwined. Vandana Shiva, recipient of the Sydney Peace Prize, in a speech given at the Sydney Opera House pointed our we are at war with the Earth. She notes:

When we think of wars in our times, our minds turn to Iraq and Afghanistan. But the bigger war is the war against the planet. This war has its roots in an economy that fails to respect ecological and ethical limits – limits to inequality, limits to injustice, limits to greed and economic concentration.
. . .
I believe that ”earth democracy” enables us to envision and create living democracies based on the intrinsic worth of all species, all peoples, all cultures – a just and equal sharing of this earth’s vital resources, and sharing the decisions about the use of the earth’s resources.

Earth democracy protects the ecological processes that maintain life and the fundamental human rights that are the basis of the right to life, including the right to water, food, health, education, jobs and livelihoods.

We have to make a choice. Will we obey the market laws of corporate greed or Gaia’s laws for maintenance of the earth’s ecosystems and the diversity of its beings?

People’s need for food and water can be met only if nature’s capacity to provide food and water is protected. Dead soils and dead rivers cannot give food and water.

Defending the rights of Mother Earth is therefore the most important human rights and social justice struggle. It is the broadest peace movement of our times.

It is an interesting, and important, suggestion that we human beings have to make peace with the planet. Will it then be easier to make peace among ourselves? In the meantime corporations apparently carelessly trash the Earth for the sake of their bottom line, a Pyhrric Victory at the cost of the greater common good.



1. stan kohls - November 8, 2010

Human beings are part of an evolutionary tradition that goes back hundreds of millions of years, that involves aggression and violence. Trying to eliminate violence would be like trying to eliminate eating, sex, or other basic animal instincts.
We are hard-wired for survival, and survival often involves violence.

wmmbb - November 9, 2010

Good points Stan.

Human beings, it seems, are “machine programmed” for compassion and empathy. Neuro-scientists have identified mirror neurons in the brain – see the following post with video.

How could that be? Aggression and violence as drivers (to keep the computing analogy) of evolution and progress have significant negative effects. They seem to operate at a lower level of thinking whereas compassion and empathy are more cerebral. The mirror neurons are located on the frontal lobes, associated with higher-order, cognitive processes such as language and planning. Violence and aggression are socially disruptive. Kindness is natural for human beings it seems.

I am always amazed we human beings are such as recent phenomenon on this planet. The rocks and even the rivers and creeks have been around longer than we have as a species. Not that I know anything about it, but I suspect new species are quantum leaps. They behave in very unique ways with distinct patterns of development. 100,000 years is a very long time in human history.

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