Ecological Reflections on the Coronavirus
Medium 23 Mar 2020
Dr. Vandana Shiva
The planet’s health and our health are non-separable . As Dr. King reminded us, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
We can be linked worldwide through the spread of disease like the coronavirus when we invade the homes of other species, manipulate plants and animals for commercial profits and greed, and spread monocultures .
Or we can be connected through health and wellbeing for all by protecting diversity of ecosystems and protecting the biodiversity, integrity, self-organization (autopoiesis) of all living beings, including humans.
New diseases are being created because a globalized, industrialized, inefficient food and agriculture model is invading the ecological habitat of other species and manipulating animals and plants with no respect for their integrity and their health. The illusion of the Earth and her beings as raw material to be exploited for profits is creating one world connected through disease.
The health emergency that the coronavirus is waking us up to is connected to the emergency of extinction and disappearance of species, and it is connected to the climate emergency. All these emergencies are rooted in a mechanistic, militaristic, anthropocentric world view of humans as separate from, and superior to other beings who 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 and ecosystem and species integrity.
As forests are destroyed, as our farms become industrial monocultures to produce toxic, nutritionally empty commodities, and our diets become degraded through industrial processing with synthetic chemicals and genetic engineering in labs, we get connected through disease — instead of being connected through biodiversity within, and outside us, through a continuum of health through and in biodiversity.
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