She will join us at the next EoF global event, and on this journey toward Assisi, we wanted to interview her, so we can go deepen on some important topics. So, let’s talk about ecology, economy and environment with Vandana Shiva.
- In the face of the ecological crisis, and the crisis of social and economic inequality, how do you see The Economy of Francesco movement and what role can it play?
First of all, I do not see the ecological crisis as different from the social and ecological crisis. They’re just too faces, it depends on which part you look at. When you look at it from what’s happening to the Earth, you see the ecological crisis, but when you see it from the perspective of people who are off the Earth, you see the social and economical crises. But unless you see the two together you will never ever find the real way out of these crises. The same patterns repeated cause the crises.
The first pattern is money-making. Money-making is not the true economy, money-making is one element of some people’s activities. Most people do whatever they do not for money and not because of money but for higher reasons and money might be a medium, to pay a salary for example, but the work is of a higher order. What is being called economy today? is the art of money-making by a few billionaires who now control 40% of the wealth of the world in the name of wealth creation.
How do San Francisco teachings correct this error and stop the throat and create a new economy? First, by helping us realize, aware that we are part of the Earth, that other beings are brothers and sisters, and to see not only the economical crisis but also the social and deep economic inequality. is because the gifts of the Earth have been appropriated. Four cooperations want to control the seas, cooperations want to control the food! That is not right for the Earth and is not right for the people. When we realize that the Earth is our family, and that’s a teaching of Saint Francis, we realize that we cannot own it! What connects family is giving love, so instead of maximizing the currency of making money, when you see the Earth as a family you maximize love! Making money is an extraction, taking care is giving!
And that’s why for me the most important “mantra”, as we call it in India, most important mantra for the future is Saint Francis simple statement: It is only in giving that you receive.
This year’s EoF School was dedicated specifically to plants and what they have to teach us, for a paradigm shift: because just as plants are anchored to the earth, we too are closely linked to this planet; we do not have a planet B. We are aware of the knowledge and passion that you have for forests. What do you think forests can teach us to have a better economy?
Plants and forests have to be the teachers of the future. They have been my teachers since the ’70s. Plants teach us: It’s in giving that you receive. But there are other systems that plants teach us, all the infrastructure that we have been building is an escape from where we belong! Mobility has been seen as a virtue for which communities must be sacrificed.
Plants teach us three things that are so important for our future. They teach us about belonging, being rooted, having roots that humanity needs to reclaim, the right to rootedness and belonging. The second thing that plants teach us is symbiosis. You give to the soil and then the soil fruits come up! Plants teach us an economy of mutuality and symbiosis! And the third thing that plants give us is abundance. One carrot (one seed) gave us 5000 carrots. 1 tomato, 1500. That’s the level of abundance that plants give. A small seed that keeps growing and feeding all life. That kind of economy of abundance. Plants give us in abundance, in the stationary system of state, which is not static, which is hugely dynamic, and evolutionary.