"Diverse Women for Diversity" Event in India
Around 150 People from All over the World Participate in a "Diverse Women for Diversity" International Event in Dehradun, India: We reported on the activities of Seikatsu Club.
Vandana Shiva (center)
In early March, a series of events, including a gathering of the "Diverse Women for Diversity" was held in Dehradun, a city in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India.
At the invitation of environmental activist Vandana Shiva, three people, including Yuriko Ito (advisor to Seikatsu Club Consumers’ Co-operative Union) and members of the Seikatsu Club Secretariat, attended the event and reported on the activities of Seikatsu Club.
Celebrating the Blessings of the Earth and the Diversity of Life
Yuriko Ito speaking at the gathering
In 1989, Seikatsu Club won the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the "Alternative Nobel Prize." The 1993 Laureate of the award, Vandana Siva, is a scientist, philosopher and environmental activist whose writings and activities have been recognized worldwide. There is much to be learned from Dr. Shiva's ideas and activities, for example on environmental destruction and food issues that undermine the security of people’s lives and rights. Seikatsu Club, as a member of the Right Livelihood Award Family, has been interacting with and exchanging information with Dr. Shiva for many years.
The venue for this event was the Navdanya Biodiversity Conservation Farm, run by Vandana Shiva. The liveliest event in the series was the meeting entitled Earth Rising, Women Rising, Regenerating The Earth, Seeding The Future, organized by the Diverse Women for Diversity (DWD) on March 4.
DWD, a group formed in the mid-1980s by women who resisted the destruction of biodiversity and traditional food by globalization and free trade, meets every few years. This year’s gathering was attended by around 150 people including more than 100 women from rural areas across India along with participants from overseas, celebrating together the blessings of the earth and the diversity of life.
Starting with a ceremony to plant the seeds and seedlings brought by the women to the farm, the participants from India shared an anthem to Mother Earth that they all sing together during farm work.
Reports from participants included campaigns against genetically modified corn in Mexico and efforts to protect the diversity of marine life in Costa Rica, while Seikatsu Club reported on "Consumers and Producers Working Together to Eliminate Genetically Modified Foods and Protect Biodiversity."
Participation in the Formulation of a Manifesto to Protect Diversity
Diverse participants in discussions during the manifesto formulation workshop.
Prior to the meeting, from March 2 to 3, participants mainly from outside India worked on the Manifesto for the Protection of Diversity, with Seikatsu Club members joining in the work from March 3.
Workshops were held on eight topics, including "Food, Environment and Health" and "Biodiversity and Climate," and Seikatsu Club joined the team on "Biodiversity, Seed, Breeds and the Web of Life." Facilitated by Nadia El-Hage Scialabba, who previously worked for the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a discussion took place between NGO leaders, farmers, a baker, and a wide variety of other participants from Mexico, Bangladesh, India, Australia, and Canada. Seikatsu Club reported on "The 10 Principles of Consumer Materials" and the "2030 Action Declaration" from the perspective of biodiversity and consumer responsibility.
The resulting manifesto was outlined at the meeting on March 4 and shared by a large group of participants. On June 5, Environment Day, Vandana Shiva’s organization, Navdanya International, held a meeting in Rome, Italy, where the manifesto was finalized and unveiled.
The manifesto entitled "Making Peace with the Earth Through Diversity, Mutuality, Non-violence & Care" also includes an introduction to the activities of Seikatsu Club on one full page.
Toward a Society and Economy with Life at the Center
Charba Village women welcoming our group
On March 5, an exchange was held with women at Charba Village, in the outskirts of Dehradun. We heard a report on the recent history of Charba Village, where the villagers were opposed to the economic situation in which a Coca-Cola Company plant which had moved into the area was producing goods and making profits using the labor of the local people. The leadership of the village, under the village chief, forced the plant to withdraw from the village and the people chose to become independent through organic farming. Instead of relying on cash crop production in the village, the villagers themselves have developed their own independent livelihoods by growing subsistence crops and selling seeds.
Vandana Shiva (second from right) with participants
On June 6, about 20 people, including Seikatsu Club members, gathered for a report meeting at the Seikatsu Club Tokyo Headquarters. Ms. Ayumi Maeda, one of the members of the group that visited India, gave a slide presentation on the local scene and reported on the series of events, life at the Navdanya farm, and the farm’s seed bank. She also explained the similarities between "ecofeminism," as advocated by Vandana Shiva, and the philosophy of Seikatsu Club, reaffirming for everyone the significance of exchanges with people in other countries.
＊Ecofeminism: A philosophy and movement that holds to the belief that there is a link between the oppression of women and environmental destruction. We believe it is necessary to raise the issue of violence and destruction caused by breaking the connection between nature and humans and reducing all values to "market values," and that is it necessary to put life at the center of values. Vandana Shiva is widely recognized as a leading thinker in the pioneering of ecofeminist thought.
Published on July 14, 2023