– Maati kahe kumhar se tu kya Ronde moye | Ik din aisa ayega, main rondugi toye – Clay is saying to the potter: You can trample on me, as much as you like but A day will come, when I will be trampling on you!” – Saint Kabir
WE ARE THE SOIL
We are made up of the same five elements — earth, water, fire, air and space — that constitute the Universe. We are the soil. We are the earth. What we do to the soil, we do to ourselves. And it is no accident that the words “humus” and “humans” have the same roots.
This ecological truth is forgotten in the dominant paradigm because it is based on eco-apartheid, the false idea that we are separate and independent of the earth and also because it defines soil as dead matter. If soil is dead to begin with, human action cannot destroy its life. It can only “improve” the soil with chemical fertilisers. And if we are the masters and conquerors of the soil, we determine the fate of the soil. Soil cannot determine our fate.
History, however, is witness to the fact that the fate of societies and civilisations is intimately connected to how we treat the soil — do we relate to the soil through the Law of Return or through the Law of Exploitation and Extraction.
The Law of Return — of giving back — has ensured that societies create and maintain fertile soil and can be supported by living soil over thousands of years. The Law of Exploitation — of taking without giving back — has led to the collapse of civilizations.
Living seeds and living soils are the foundation of living and lasting societies.
—Vandana Shiva, Navdanya