By Vandana Shiva
In March 2015, Bill Gates showed an image of the coronavirus during a TED Talk and told the audience that it was what the greatest catastrophe of our time would look like. The real threat to life, he said, is “not missiles, but microbes.” When the coronavirus pandemic swept over the earth like a tsunami five years later, he revived the war language, describing the pandemic as “a world war.”
“The coronavirus pandemic pits all of humanity against the virus,” he said.
In fact, the pandemic is not a war. The pandemic is a consequence of war. A war against life. The mechanical mind connected to the money machine of extraction has created the illusion of humans as separate from nature, and nature as dead, inert raw material to be exploited. But, in fact, we are part of the biome. And we are part of the virome. The biome and the virome are us. When we wage war on the biodiversity of our forests, our farms and in our guts, we wage war on ourselves.
As I look to the future in a world of Gates and Tech Barons, I see a humanity that is further polarized into large numbers of “throw away” people who have no place in the new Empire. Those who are included in the new Empire will be little more than digital slaves.
Or, we can resist. We can seed another future, deepen our democracies, reclaim our commons, regenerate the earth as living members of a One Earth Family, rich in our diversity and freedom, one in our unity and interconnectedness. It is a healthier future. It is one we must fight for. It is one we must claim.
We stand at a precipice of extinction. Will we allow our humanity as living, conscious, intelligent, autonomous beings to be extinguished by a greed machine that does not know limits and is unable to put a break on its colonization and destruction? Or will we stop the machine and defend our humanity, freedom and autonomy to protect life on earth?
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