In order to find radical solutions to achieving peace, prosperity and protecting the planet we must address the interconnectedness of the crises that threaten them and are at the root of the turbulent world we live in i.e. the growing ecological crisis, which includes the climate crisis and the crisis of biodiversity erosion and species extinction, along with the ever deepening economic crisis and global inequality, the increasing conflicts, and violence.
Extraction, Inequality and violence
These crises are rooted in an old economic paradigm of “false prosperity” based on out dated model of limitless growth, over utilization and extraction of earth’s resources, and an unsustainable model of production and consumption. When the non sustainability of land use and water use based on the extractive logic combines with the extreme impacts of climate change, we see large-scale, rapid displacement leading to violent conflicts.The violence to the Earth is inseparable from the violence in society. The result of this extractive system can be seen around the globe, from North to South, West to East: economic inequality is feeding the violence and social unrest everywhere. Moreover, the intolerance to diversity , both of diverse species and of diverse cultures is undermining ecological processes and fuelling hate and conflict . We need another model of prosperity which goes beyond the present economic model which maximizes profit at the cost of the Planet, peace, and of people. By linking peace with prosperity and the health of Planet we can start to overcome these insecurities and conflicts and cultivate a culture of sharing and peace.
Changing our way of thinking
To stem this tide of deepening conflict, we must radically change our present mechanistic and separatist way of thinking to one based on the concept that all is linked, forged around people and the earth. The ecological circular law of return maintains the basis of the Planet’s sustainability. For society, it is the basis of ensuring justice, prosperity, and peace. These are to be found in the fertile soil of the Planet, the human imagination and human action. True prosperity is created through economies that dont destroy the planet and people’s livelihoods, where everyone’s basic needs are met, which includes food, health and nutrition, and that people have meaningful work in providing for their needs. When these criteria are met, can we create the conditions of security and peace.Starting with the soil, we want to create Gardens of Peace, Diversity and Prosperity in India, Italy and Greece, to start to address the challenges of survival that vulnerable communities, particularly small farmers in India, and immigrants and refugees in Italy and Greece, face on a daily basis.
Industrial Model of Agriculture at the root of multiple crises
The industrial model of agriculture is also based on the dominant paradigm of unlimited extraction and is at the root of these multiple crisis. Industrial farms produce only 30% food, using 75% of the land, and also destroying 75% of the soil, water, biodiversity, while emitting 50% of the Green house gases that are polluting the atmosphere and destabilising the climate systemLarge farms grow monocultures, using intensive chemicals, and energy intensive mechanisation. The costs of production in chemical, industrial agriculture systems is higher than the value of the output. Without giant subsidies they cannot survive. Farmers in distress and committing suicide are a symptom of an exploitative agriculture which extracts fertility from the soil and wealth from farmers.
Sowing Diversity, Peace and Prosperity through Small farms and Gardens
Scientific evidence and Navdanya's work shows that small farms based on diversity are more productive than large farms, providing more health per acre, more food per acre and higher yields per acre than giant industrial farms.Our work (Health per Acre) shows that nutrition per acre can be doubled, and rural incomes increased tenfold through small scale ecological farms.. Returning organic matter to the soil builds up soil nitrogen. A study we are undertaking shows that organic farming increases upto 99% organic matter in the soil. Organic matter returned to the soil pulls carbon out of the atmosphere and puts it in the soil where it belongs . Scientists are now recognising that this is the most effective solution to climate change. Not only do small scale ecological farms and gardens avoid the emissions that come from industrial agriculture, organic farming transforms carbon in the air through photo synthesis and builds it up in the soil, thus contributing to higher soil fertility, higher food production and nutrition, and a sustainable, zero-cost technology for addressing climate change. The renowned medical journal, The Lancet, recently published an article on the importance of the contribution of smallholder farmers to the quantity and quality of our global food supply and of their benefits and risk reductions against nutritional deficiencies, ecosystem degradation, and climate change. Navdanya's experience of working with farmers across the country and Bhutan established that through adopting the principles of agroecology and biodiversity based organic farming farmers could not only increase their yields by 2 to 3 times but vis-à-vis can reduce their input costs. The small farmsmodel simultaneously takes care of the planet and people and provides health from food, as being free of toxic chemicals. The solution to poverty, agrarian crisis, the health and malnutrition crisis is the same - care for the soil and care for our farmers, who nurture the soil and our health.
Navdanya's Terra Viva - Our Soils, Our Commons Our Future and Gardens of Hope
In 2015, for the year of soil, Navdanya brought together experts from varied backgrounds - scientists, ecologists, environmentalists, UN experts amongst others to draft a manifesto that laid out a vision for a paradigm shift that has become necessary in the times of ecological, economic and social unrest. We initiated a pact for the protection of the planet, peace and prosperity on 9 November 2015 by planting a Garden of Hope in Paris and showed that through simple steps with high impact we can sow the seeds of change towards peace and true prosperity in harmony with the earth. This pact has been endorsed by hundreds of organizations and movements throughout the world. Navdanya has also started a pilot project- the One Acre Farm project shows that biodiverse and ecologically intense production systems are the answer to food and nutrition security, prosperity and protection of the planet.
Navdanya's project is thus to create a worldwide initiate that creates awareness on the links between violence, scarcity, ecological degradation on the one hand and between peace, prosperity as well being and regeneration of the planet on the other. We will create a platform to bring together thinkers, practitioners and experts across varied backgrounds through a global conference, participatory publication and campaign. Navdanya will also create a network of gardens and small farms
The Gardens will act as a lighthouse – one which highlights the consciousness between peace, prosperity and the Planet. It is a site for public awareness education, linked to practical learning, activity, and consciousness building, showing that peace is possible, protecting the planet is possible, shifting your thinking is possible by becoming aware of how caring for the Planet is essential for attaining peace and prosperity. This is also one of the messages of Pope Francis in his Encyclica ‘Laudato Si’ where he urges people to care for the Earth and not let anyone go hungry.People will see for themselves that one seed leads to a thousand seeds, that there is no need for scarcity and that the Planet can create abundance if we only nurture and take care of it, beginning with the soil.