Vandana Shiva on the coronavirus: from forests to our farms, to our gut microbiome

Vandana Shiva on the coronavirus: from forests to our farms, to our gut microbiome

The Indian activist, philosopher and writer reviews in this exhaustive article the causes and consequences of the exploitation of biodiversity as responsible for diseases.

It calls to understand health in an interconnected way and believes that we are facing a paradigm shift, from the mechanistic and industrial era to the era of a civilization based on planetary consciousness.

The manipulation of animals and plants. The lesson of living beings: diversity, integrity and self-organization. Systems that create health, and those that spread disease. The alerts on glyphosate and the lack of concern of the WHO on this subject. The Venomous Cartel as a group of companies that get sick (such as Bayer, Dow, Syngenta, Big Pharma) and profit from it.

The holistic approach, and agroecology: "Chemical-free organic farming must be part of the rejuvenation of public health." The global costs of health care due to diseases related to the food system. The need for an independent science. And the idea of ​​«deglobalize»The food system:«The health emergency is forcing us to deglobalize. We can do it when there is a political will. Let's make this deglobalization permanent. Let's transition to localization».

By Dr. Vandana Shiva

We are an Earth family on one planet, healthy in our diversity and interconnectedness. The health of the planet and our health is not separable.

As Dr. King reminded us: “We are trapped in an inescapable web of mutuality, tied together in a single garment of destiny. What affects one directly affects all indirectly. "

We can link ourselves around the world through the spread of diseases like coronavirus when we invade the homes of other species or when we manipulate plants and animals for commercial gain and greed and spread monocultures. Or we can be connected through health and well-being for all by protecting the diversity of ecosystems and protecting the biodiversity, integrity and self-organization (autopoiisis) of all living things, including humans.

New diseases are being created because a globalized, industrialized and inefficient model of agriculture and food is invading the ecological habitat of other species and manipulating animals and plants without respecting their integrity and health. The illusion of the earth and its beings as raw material to be exploited for profit is creating a world connected through disease.

The health emergency that the coronavirus is waking us up is related to the emergency of extinction and disappearance of species, and is related to the climate emergency. All emergencies have their origin in a mechanistic, militaristic and anthropocentric world view of humans as somethingseparate of Yabove other beings that we can possess, manipulate and control. It is also based on an economic model based on the illusion of unlimited growth and unlimited greed that systematically violates planetary boundaries and the integrity of the ecosystem and species.

As forests are destroyed, as our farms are converted to industrial monocultures to produce toxic, nutritionally void products, and our diets are degraded through industrial processing with synthetic chemicals and genetic engineering in laboratories, we connect through disease, rather than being connected through biodiversity within and outside of us, through a continuum of health through and into biodiversity.

The health emergency requires a systems approach based on interconnection

With the health emergency engendered by the corona virus, we must look at the systems that spread disease and the systems that create health in a holistic systems approach.

A systems approach to health care in times of the corona crisis would address not only the virus, but also how new epidemics are spreading as we invade the homes of other beings. It must also address co-morbid conditions related to chronic noncommunicable diseases that are spreading due to unsustainable, anti-nature, unhealthy industrial food systems.

As we write in the manifestFood For Health of the International Commission on the Future of Food, we must rule out “policies and practices that lead to the physical and moral degradation of the food system while destroying our health and endangering the ecological stability of the planet, endangering the biogenetic survival of the life on the planet «.

Now we must deglobalize the food system that is driving climate change, species disappearances and a systemic health emergency.

Globalized and industrialized food systems spread disease. Monocultures spread disease. Deforestation is spreading disease.

The health emergency is forcing us to deglobalize. Let's transition to localization.

The location of biodiverse agriculture and food systems enhances health and reduces the ecological footprint. The location leaves room for diverse species, diverse cultures and diverse local living economies to flourish.

The wealth of biodiversity in our forests, our farms, our food, our gut microbiome makes the planet, its various species, including humans, healthier and more resistant to pests and diseases.

The Earth is for all beings, protecting the rights of Mother Earth is a health imperative

The invasion of forests and the violation of the integrity of species is spreading new diseases.

In the past 50 years, 300 new pathogens have emerged as we destroy species' habitat and manipulate them for profit.

According to the WHO, the Ebola virus has spread from wild animals to humans. The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through person-to-person transmission. As the New Internationalist reports: “From 2014-16, an unprecedented Ebola epidemic killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa. Now scientists have linked the outbreak to rapid deforestation.

Professor John E. Fa of Manchester Metropolitan University, Senior Research Associate at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), also warns: “Emerging diseases say they are related to environmental disturbances caused by humans. Humans are in much more contact with animals when you open a forest… You have a balance of animals, viruses and bacteria and you alter it when you open a forest.

Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) is a highly pathogenic virus that spreads from monkeys to humans via virus-infected ticks, as deforestation reduced the monkeys' forest habitat. “The KFD virus is a pathogen that has existed for a long time as part of an established ecosystem in South Kanara. The human modification of this ecosystem through deforestation caused the epidemic appearance of the disease »(link to the source).

The Coronavius ​​has also come from bats. As Sonia Shah says "when we cut down the forests in which bats live, they not only leave, but they come and live in the trees of our yards and farms.

Cornell professor Dennis Carroll acknowledges that as we penetrate deeper into ecozones we have not previously occupied, we create the potential for the spread of infection.

Mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), is an infectious disease caused by deformed proteins called "prions" that affect the brains of cattle.

The cows were infected with mad cow disease when they were fed meat from dead infected cows. When beef from infected cows was fed to humans, they became infected with CJD. The prion is a self-infecting agent, not a virus or bacteria. This illustrates that when animals are handled and their integrity and right to health are violated, new diseases can arise (Link to the source).

Antibiotic resistance is growing in humans due to the heavy use of chemicals in factory farms. Antibiotic resistance markers in GMOs could also be contributing to antibiotic resistance. Horizontal gene transfer across species is a scientifically known phenomenon. That is why we have biosafety science and biosafety regulations like the Cartagena Protocol of the Convention on Biodiversity and national laws for biosafety.

Diseases are transferred from non-human animals to the human animal as we destroy the habitat and homes of wild species, violate species integrity by manipulating animals on factory farms, and genetically engineering plants using viral promoters, and antibiotic resistance markers.

The illusion that plants and animals are machines to make raw materials that become fuels for our bodies, which are also machines, has created the paradigm of industrial agriculture and food that is at the root of the explosion of disease chronicles in our times.

A toxic, industrialized and globalized food system is causing an explosion of chronic non-communicable diseases.

In recent decades, chronic non-communicable diseases are spreading exponentially and killing millions of people. Industrial and toxic food systems are the main contributors to chronic diseases (Link to source).

Almost 10 million people die from cancer annually. Every sixth death in the world is due to cancer (Link to source).

Cancer is the second leading cause of death (Link to source).

Diabetes, a diet-related metabolic disorder, is the seventh leading cause of death. 1.7 million people die annually due to diabetes complications leading to blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, strokes and lower limb amputation (Link to source).

The risks of infectious diseases such as the corona virus increase many times when combined with the comorbidity of chronic diseases.

  • The death rate of the coronavirus is 1.6%.
  • If one has heart problems, it increases to 13.2%.
  • With diabetes, it increases to 9.2%.
  • With cancer it is 7.6%.

Governments must take WHO as seriously on cancer as they have on the coronavirus epidemic.

The WHO IARC has identified glyphosate manufactured by Bayer / Monsanto as a probable carcinogen. This advice should be taken seriously. The corporate attack on IARC is contributing to the health emergency. It must be stopped.

Thousands of glyphosate-related cancer cases have been filed in American courts. In the Johnson Edwin Hardeman, Alva and Alberta Pilliod cases, the courts have ruled in favor of cancer victims.

Governments must ban chemicals that cause harm. And they must hold the Poison Cartel responsible and answer for the damage they have done.

My journey through agriculture began with the Bhopal genocide, which killed thousands when a Union Carbide-owned pesticide plant leaked. Union Carbide is now Dow, which has merged with Dupont.

The Venomous Cartel that has created toxic diseases by driving globalized industrialized agriculture is also Big Pharma. They spread the disease and benefit from it.

Bayer is a pharmaceutical company and an agrochemical chemist that sells toxic pesticides.

Syngenta is a toxic company and like Novartis it sells pharmaceuticals.

Big Pharma is using the health emergency to expand its markets and profits (Link to source).

That money must go to the protection that governments give to the Poison Cartel. Instead, governments at all levels must work with citizens and communities to promote people's health with the same force that they have acted in Corona.

We need to remove the chemicals that have created a health disaster from the food system.

Governments should follow the advice of the UN and WHO on all health-related issues with the same enthusiasm they have shown with the coronavirus.

The Food from Health manifesto synthesizes the high costs of new chronic diseases that have grown exponentially in the last two decades from the spread of industrial food and agriculture through globalization.

As early as 2012, a study quantified the health impact and costs related to damage resulting from exposure to 133 pesticides applied in 24 European countries in 2003, which is equivalent to almost 50% of the total mass of pesticides applied in this year. According to this survey, only 13 substances, applied to 3 classes of crops (grapes / grapevines, fruit trees, vegetables) contributed to 90% of the overall health impacts due to a loss of approximately 2000 years of life (corrected for disability) in Europe every year, corresponding to an annual economic cost of 78 million euros. In 2012, a survey was published evaluating the costs of acute pesticide poisoning in the state of Paraná, Brazil, and concluded that the total cost of acute pesticide poisoning amounts to $ 149 million each year.

In the United States in the 1990s, the environmental and public health costs resulting from pesticide use were estimated to be $ 8.1 billion each year. Therefore, 4 billion dollars are spent each year for the consumption of pesticides in this country, which means that for 1 dollar spent on the purchase of these substances they spend 2 on outsourced costs. Another study published in 2005 estimated that in the US the costs of chronic diseases from pesticide poisoning amounted to $ 1.1 billion, of which about 80% for cancer. It has been calculated that in the Philippines the transition from one to two treatments for rice cultivation resulted in an additional gain of 492 pesos, but additional health costs of 765 pesos. with a net loss of 273 pesos. In Thailand, it has been estimated that the externalized costs of pesticides can range from $ 18 million to $ 241 million annually276. In Brazil, the only costs for damage to the health of workers employed in bean and corn crops represent 25% of profits277.

To obtain more recent data and closer to the European reality, we can recall a recent work carried out to evaluate the burden of disease and the costs related to exposure to endocrine disruptors in Europe: a panel of experts evaluated with "high probability" that Every year in Europe 13 million IQ points are lost due to prenatal exposure to organophosphates and there are 59,300 additional cases of intellectual disability278. Given that each IQ point lost from prenatal mercury exposure is estimated to be worth around € 17,000, early accounts can also be made for organophosphate exposure.

The health consequences of maladaptive modernity, driven by commercial food systems, are currently being experienced in epidemic proportions around the world. In addition to premature death and prolonged disability, diseases that result from nutritionally poor diets are forcing people to seek expensive, often financially unaffordable health care. Commercial health care systems benefit from these modern epidemics by offering high-cost, technology-intensive testing and treatment for health conditions that could and should have been easily prevented through good nutrition and a healthy environment. The Bayer-Monsanto merger means that the same corporations that sell the chemicals that cause disease also sell pharmaceuticals as remedies for the diseases they have caused.

The global costs of health care due to diseases related to the food system are:

-Obesity $ 1.2 billion by 2025

-The global cost of diabetes alone in 2015 was estimated at US $ 1.31 billion. In Italy, each patient suffering from diabetes currently costs 2589 euros a year for the National Health System, and diabetes-related therapies cost the Italian National Health System about 9% of the budget, or about 8.26 billion euros. euros281. In Africa, 35 million people, twice the current number, will be affected by diabetes in the next 20 years. By 2030, diabetes will cost $ 1.5 trillion 282

-Infections for AMR $ 1 trillion by 2050

-Cancer $ 2.5 billion

- The costs of exposure to endocrine disruptors in Europe alone are $ 209 billion annually; costs of exposure to endocrine disruptors in the US are $ 340 billion

- New research finds that the annual cost of autism has more than tripled to $ 126 billion in the United States. Autism reached £ 34 billion in the UK and is the costliest health problem286

- The rise in infertility has led to a new fertility industry that will cost US $ 21 billion by 2020 «

And it is the planet and the people who bear the burden of disease.

Health is a right, regulation is a matter of life and death: strengthening biosecurity and health regulation, upholding the precautionary principle and ensuring corporate responsibility is the government's duty

As the current crisis shows, regulation is a matter of life and death. And the precautionary principle is more vital than ever. It should not be abandoned with the false claim that "time is our greatest enemy" and any manipulation of living organisms should be rushed for introduction into the environment with little or no evidence (Link to source).

There is an attempt to undermine the precautionary principle through free trade agreements such as the so-called "mini-agreement" on trade by the United States and the European Union. According to US trade negotiators, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and US agricultural interests, the precautionary principle must go and now is the time to finally end the US-EU trade deal.

Governments must ensure that Food Safety and Biosafety assessments are not influenced by industry that benefits from the handling of living organisms and suppresses scientific evidence of harm. Evidence of such manipulation of research and attack on scientists and science by industry was presented at the Monsanto Court and People's Assembly in The Hague in 2016.

The harm done to people's health by corporate manipulation of research is now proven.

We need to strengthen independent research on Biosafety, Food Safety, Healthy Safety, epidemiology and health ecology.

Governments must immediately strengthen biosecurity and health regulation. The global attempt to deregulate food safety and biosecurity regulations must stop. Gene editing has unpredictable impacts and new gene editing-based GMOs must be regulated as a genetically modified organism (GMO) because the genome has been modified, and we need to assess and know the health impact of manipulation to genetic level.

New attempts by genetic drives to genetically manipulate organisms into extinction to prevent crimes against nature and create new unknown diseases through unintended impacts must be stopped.

With coronavirus, governments are showing that they can take steps to protect people's health when they have the will.

Now is the time for you to take all the necessary steps to stop all activities that compromise our health by compromising the metabolic processes that regulate our health. The same systems also cause damage to the planet's biodiversity, the Earth's self-regulating ability that wreaks climate havoc.

The crisis of the crown and the response to the crisis must become the basis for stopping the processes that degenerate our health and the health of the planet and the initiation process that regenerates both.

We know that industrial agriculture and globalized industrialized food systems based on fossil fuels and toxic chemicals derived from fossil fuels are contributing to species extinctions, climate change and the catastrophe of chronic diseases.

We know that regenerative organic agriculture based on biodiversity can address all three crises.

It's time for governments to stop using our tax dollars to subsidize and promote a food system that is making the planet and people sick.

Corporations must be held accountable for the harm they have done and prevent them from remaining free to do more harm by undermining independent science and research, which is the only source of real knowledge about harm to health.

The crisis also gives people the opportunity to see how corporations have undermined our health.

The health emergency has demonstrated that the right to health is a fundamental right, health is a common good and a public good, and the government has a duty to protect public health. That is why the privatization and corporatization of health should stop, and public health care systems should be protected and strengthened where they exist, and created where they do not exist.

Rejuvenating the science of life and healthy living: decolonizing our knowledge systems and health systems:

The path to a healthy planet and healthy people is clear.

The economy based on unlimited growth is generating an unlimited appetite to colonize the land and forests, destroying the homes of other species and indigenous peoples. The Amazon is being burned by GMOs for animal feed. Indonesian rainforests are being destroyed by palm oil in Indonesia

The disease is being created by the unlimited demand for resources for a globalized economy based on unlimited growth. An economy of greed is violating the Rights of Mother Earth and the integrity of her diverse being, which are the foundation of One Health.

Health for All Begins is based on the protection of the earth, its ecological processes and ecological space and the ecological integrity of life on earth, including humans.

We need to move from a mechanistic and militaristic paradigm of agriculture based on chemical warfare to Regenerative Agroecology, an agriculture for Biodiversity based on life and working with a living nature, not participating in a war against the earth and its various species. agriculture is care and gratitude, of giving back to the land, the law of return or the law of giving, creating circular economies that heal the land and our bodies.

Indigenous health care systems have been criminalized by colonization and the pharmaceutical industry.

We need to move from a reductionist, mechanistic and militaristic paradigm based on the separation and colonization of the Earth, other species and our bodies, which have contributed to the health crisis to systems like Ayurveda, the science of life, which recognizes that we are As part of Earth's web of life, our bodies are complex, self-organizing life systems, which have the potential to be healthy or sick depending on our environment and the foods we grow and eat. Health depends on healthy eating (Annam Sarva Aushadhi - Good nutrition is the medicine for all diseases). A healthy gut is an ecosystem and is the foundation of health. Health is harmony and balance.

(Annam: Food and Health, Navdanya)

Health systems and indigenous knowledge systems that are based on interconnectedness must be recognized and rejuvenated in times of health emergencies that we face.

Health is a continuum, from the soil, to the plants, to our gut microbiome.

While the globalized industrialized agriculture that is destroying the forests and biodiversity of our farms is justified as Feeding the World, 80% of the food we eat comes from small farms. Monoculture farms produce products, not food.

Globalized industrialized agriculture is a system that creates hunger and disease. It has spread poison-related diseases and is destroying the small farms that feed us, trapping farmers in debt and driving them to suicide.

This disease that creates an unhealthy food system is subsidized by our tax money, first by providing subsidies for production and distribution, and then by making people pay for the high costs of health care.

If we add the subsidies and health externalities of globalized and industrial food systems, we realize that neither the planet nor people can continue to bear the burden of this disease by creating an industrialized and globalized food system.

Chemical-free organic farming must be part of the rejuvenation of public health.

Unlike factory farms, small ones take care of people's health, especially when they are free of chemicals, organics, and biodiversity. We should direct all public funds to support agroecological farms and local economies as health systems.

Through biodiversity and organic matter in the soil, we grow more nutrients per acre, our plants are healthier, and more resistant to disease and pests. Returning organic matter to the soil also heals the broken cycle of carbon and nitrogen that is driving climate change. The healing of the planet and the healing of our bodies are interconnected processes.

We need the intensification of biodiversity and the rebuilding of our farms, not chemical and capital intensification. Biodiversity creates cultures and economies of care, including caring for the health of the earth and people. The more biodiversity we conserve on the planet, the more we will protect the ecological space so that diverse species are maintained and protect their integrity to evolve in freedom and resilience. All species have the right to ecological space and the freedom to evolve, and all humans as part of the Earth have the right to access biodiverse, chemical-free food.

We need to protect the biodiversity of our forests, farms, our food to increase the biodiversity of our intestines, which is the true source of health. Plantations are not forests, and the cultivation of commercial monocultures of trees or transgenic soy is a threat to various species. , diverse cultures and our own health.

Organic biodiversity systems must be central to public health solutions to the health emergency we are witnessing.

The biodiversity of the mind must replace the monocultures of the mechanistic mind that see the diversity of life as the enemy to be exterminated.

India's 'Namaste' salute has gone global in times of the corona virus. The meaning of Namaste is not separation, but a deeper unity that connects us all. Namaste means "I bow to the divine in you." It means an interconnection that we are part of a sacred universe where everything is permeated by the divine for the benefit of all, the exclusion of none.

This is the consciousness of unity and unity that we need to cultivate in these times where a small virus has connected us all over the world through disease and panic.

Do not let the social isolation required in a health emergency become a permanent pattern of separation, destroying social and community cohesion. Don't let the closure of local and farmers markets become a permanent closure to create a future of agriculture without farmers in Bayer / Monsanto's vision and fake foods that destroy our health while billionaires extract profits from the currency of life (Link to source).

The future depends on our unity as humanity on a planet connected through biodiversity and health. Let's not allow today's precautions to cement into a permanent climate of fear and isolation. Nos necesitamos mutuamente y a la tierra en nuestra rica diversidad y autoorganización para crear resiliencia en tiempos de emergencia y para regenerar la salud y el bienestar en el puesto.

La crisis del coronavirus crea una nueva oportunidad para hacer un cambio de paradigma desde la era mecanicista e industrial de separación, dominación, avaricia y enfermedad, hasta la era de Gaia, de una civilización planetaria basada en la conciencia planetaria de que somos una familia terrestre. Que nuestra salud sea una salud enraizada en la interconexión ecológica, la diversidad, la regeneración, la armonía.

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Video: A message from Dr Vandana Shiva for the New Year 2020 (January 2022).