Sunday, October 25, 2009

Vandana Shiva's Earth Democracy; Oxymoron?

In celebration of World Food Day, Vandana Shiva spoke of Earth Democracy: Food Freedom and Ecological Balance at the Hart House Theatre, University of Toronto.

Is Earth Democracy an oxymoron? Are these two terms / concepts / structures / entities harmoniously opposed? Where earth is a natural manifestation and democracy is a civil manifestation, does Earth Democracy generate clash or harmony between the natural and civil worlds?

Anarchists (Bankunin, Kropotkin etc.) distinguished between two categories of rights: i) natural rights, and ii) civil rights.

Natural rights are governed by natural laws. Even today, many communities, such as tribes, reside in the jungle / bush / outback where natural elements of earth wind fire water administer natural rights to food shelter light peace. Natural rights are inherent to sheer existence to which we become entitled instantaneously upon successful entrance into the world (or, rather, successful exit from the womb).

Civil rights, by contrast, are governed by civil laws. Civil rights are demanded, drafted, legislated, defended and are, thus, constructions of a human order; not a natural order.

•Natural earth is not a civil democracy. What is, then, the socio- politico- economic-order of earth, if any?
•Does natural earth lend itself to being governed by civil democracy?
•How does the natural order of earth change when we orient it to a more civil order of democracy? Are the results favourable or less than favourable?
•Can democracy help us to cultivate earth in a manner that is more equitable sustainable effectual? Or, is tension created when we re-organize natural earth as a civil democracy?

**images courtesy of
harthouse.utoronto.ca
navdanya.org

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