Making peace with the Earth. 500 organisations urge a sustainable new start

The Covid-19 pandemic is a planetary wake-up call from the Earth to humanity. On Earth Day, over 500 organisations launched a global call for urgent action with the health and wellbeing of all peoples and the planet at its core.

On International Earth Day, over 500 organizations from more than 50 countries have launched a world-wide call for a new start in the name of environmental sustainability and social justice. The lockdown, due to the coronavirus, must be used as an opportunity to reflect on the current state of planetary degradation, demand the activists. A state caused by an economic system based on the indiscriminate exploitation of Earth’s resources.

A global coalition

The current pandemic must, therefore, lead us to reflect on the consequences and risks we are facing if we continue the current race toward deforestation and biodiversity loss. This was the request signed by international figures such as Vandana Shiva – president of Navdanya International, Adolfo Perez Esquivel- Nobel Peace Prize winner, and Maude Barlow- president of the council of Canadians. As well as international organizations such as Argentinian Naturaleza de Derechos, Health of Mother Earth Foundation from Nigeria, IFOAM, Via Organica, and ISDE– International Society of Doctors for the Environment.

The signatories stress the devastating role of industrial agricultural production on the environment which has triggered land grabbing for plantations and livestock farming, creating ideal conditions for the spread of new epidemics.

agricoltura manifesto Food for health Monsanto glifosato pesticidi Navdanya international
“The health of the Planet and the health of people are to be considered as a whole,” says Vandana Shiva © Ingimage

Returning to the Earth

Chemically intensive monocultures and intensive livestock farming contribute to the health crisis by debilitating our immune systems, making us more exposed to new diseases: “As we invade forest ecosystems, destroy the habitats of species and manipulate plants and animals for profits, we create ideal conditions for the outbreak of new disease epidemics. Over the past 50 years, up to 300 new pathogens have emerged.

It is well documented that around 70 per cent of the human pathogens, including HIV, Ebola, Influenza, MERS, and SARS emerged when the forest ecosystems were invaded, and viruses jumped from animals to humans. When animals are cramped in factory farms for profit maximisation, new diseases like swine flu and bird flu appear and spread”.

Indonesia’s deforestation rate is the highest In the world © Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images
The health emergency that the coronavirus is waking us up to is connected to the emergency of the extinction and disappearance of species, and it is connected to the climate emergency. All emergencies are rooted in a mechanistic, militaristic, anthropocentric worldview of humans as separate from and superior to other beings whom we can own, manipulate, and control. It is also rooted in an economic model based on the illusion of limitless growth and limitless greed which systematically violates planetary boundaries, as well as ecosystem and species integrity. Localisation of biodiverse agriculture and food systems grow health and reduce the ecological footprint. Localization leaves space for diverse species, diverse cultures and diverse local, living economies to thrive. Biodiversity richness in our forests, our farms, our food, our gut microbiome make the planet, her diverse species, including humans, healthier and more resilient to pests and diseases.Vandana Shiva

A call for an ecological transistion

This alternative to our current system isn’t a fantasy out of reach, as the many grassroots and bottom-up experiences spread throughout the world show us. Such experiences such as local production, urban gardens, agroecology, and circular economy, are already being field tested and are showing they’re more likely to ensure food sovereignty and resilience to climate change in the near future. In order to truly facilitate this transition, as the signatories of the international appeal conclude, the political will be necessary to stop flooding unsustainable sectors with huge amounts of public subsidies. And, instead, help support these ecological movements in order to build a more sustainable future.

In signing this manifesto, we commit ourselves as a planetary coalition, to urge and exhort the authorities and representatives of the governments in each one of our countries, cities, towns and communities, to shift from the paradigm of ecocide that today governs our models of productivity, to a paradigm where ecological responsibility and economic justice are central to creating a healthy and vibrant future for humanity. Real climate change action means leaving behind our petroleum-based civilisation of extraction and greed and bringing in a new era of interconnection and care of the Earth. We call for concerted support of communities, territories and nations that put ecology at the centre of a paradigm of a new and just economy of care.

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