At Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), we always aim to understand the events unfolding around us by examining their roots and varied manifestations. Our fundamental position is that the crises the world faces are fathered by the broken relationships between humans, other beings, and our Mother Earth. Another way to see it is that we have lost connection with our duty of care to our mother and other relatives. This disruption did not emerge from the blue. It has been carefully sculpted on the building blocks of dispossession, accumulation, and discounting of everything other than our selves. Whereas we are social beings, we have grown apart, enthroned individualism and decomposed communities.
Scarcity of solidarity, generosity, kindness, love and respect has led to the eruption of xenophobic nationalism, erection of walls between communities and regions, and high levels of sociology-ecological disconnections. The fetishisation of capital has twisted our imaginations and placed humans on a race for expropriation and displacement of peoples and other species.
Destruction of the resilience of ecosystems has directly affected our cultures, spirituality, local economies, and sense of progress. Thus, we see destruction hailed as progress. This is exemplified by the stream of new weapons of destruction being manufactured and tested on communities, territories, and nations through needless wars.
Clashes between species through habitat invasion and destruction lead to unexpected pandemics and will spur more—unless we act now to arrest ongoing ecological misbehaviours and ecocide.
Disruption of the cycles of Nature is anchored on the neocolonial ideas of taking control of Nature and seeking to make her more efficient through genetic manipulation and geoengineering, to mention two. The quest to appropriate and commodify Nature has given rise to concepts like climate smart agriculture which some have described as climate stupid agriculture. It has given rise to concepts that say the current polluting production and consumption modes can be continued while measures are produced to capture the carbon (or pollution) and store it in some reservoirs. By a sleight of hand, intergenerational responsibilities are blatantly ignored.
Slavery, colonialism, and imperialism built the notions of sacrificial zones while the controlling powers suffered least harm in their sacred zones. This gave rise to plantation agriculture and reckless mining promoting production for export and hardly for the territories from where these activities took place. It gave rise to discounting of labour and of Nature. These have added up to create the climate crises which is being toyed with by the application of false solutions based on carbon trading—solutions that never touch on the root cause of the crisis which has been universally accepted to be the burning of fossil fuels. With fossil fuels corporations in the corridors of multilateral negotiations, talking about real solutions to climate change, for example, has been tabooed.
Today, we are inescapably gripped in a polycrisis that can only be resolved through radical surgery. Although this surgical process will be radical, it is rather simple and needs modest thought processes that are in line with Nature. It requires humility to agree that technofixes are often not silver bullets. They create more problems as they shun the complexities in our ecosystem which we do not fully understand. For example, seeing forests as mere carbon sinks can lead to the displacement of human communities and could permit habitat destruction through land use changes. A notion such as the one that sees plantations as forests leads to the creation of monocultures and ignores the complex communities of beings that live and interact in true forests.
We can tackle the hydra-headed crisis will be through clear analysis and cultural production. By using cultural production, we touch the fundamental impulses drawn from our contexts and help us to recover our memory in the fight for our humanity. The loss of memory of our place in the galaxy of other beings is a measure of the loss of mind. We simply must recover our being beings.
At HOMEF we use our Ikike or knowledge platforms to provide a good basis for participatory generating and sharing of knowledge. At the grassroots levels we host diagnostic Community Dialogues and Environmental Monitoring Trainingsessions. Our Schools of Ecology and Sustain-Ability Academies offer spaces for critical interrogation of complex sociology-ecological ideas and serve as platforms for engagements with policy makers, students, academics, and the public. The generation and sharing of knowledge
Bearing in mind that the root of the climate crisis is capitalism manifesting through the exploitation, consumption, and waste of natural resources, we have a duty to fight these vices. Through the building of solidarity, we can construct cooperation and forge a future that is both liveable and enjoyable. The seeds for these are embedded in our cultural notions of Eti Uwem, or good living, which elevates communality, dignity, and respect for all beings at its core. In Southern Africa, the interconnectedness of our humanity is captured by Ubuntu. We will benefit from studying traditions and cultures in Africa and, by studying these subsisting concepts of well-being that are not predicated on growth, accumulation, or dispossession. This way, the wisdom from Africa will contribute to a more complete understanding and resolution of the polycrisis.
Cultural production allows us to fight for these humane ethics through stories, songs, sculptures, poetry, drama, and dance. We can enjoy the process of building a hopeful future. We are calling for a revolution that can be televised and is enjoyable.