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Earth Democracy

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"Earth Democracy" is the name of a book[1] by Vandana ShivaDEPRECATED TEMPLATE - PLEASE USE {{W}} INSTEAD.. This page will present some of key ideas in this book, that are very important to take into consideration as we go about finding and creating solutions in the post-modern age. The idea of earth democracy is not new. The web of life that Chief Seattle talked about has it's counterpart in many ancient cultures. In the struggle for environmental justice, and social justice we must decide how we are going to frame the problem. How we respond to the problem in contingent on how we perceive the problem. When we reframe the problem in terms of the idea that we are all the intertwined and interdependent organism we call planet earth. Thus, it makes sense that we should all have a say in a democracy and that we all have a right to life.

"Logic" of Domination

The "logic of domination" is the term used to explain the complex and reinforcing ideologies of power, privilege, and oppression that are expressed in colonialism, racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism and other outcomes of systematic prejudice. The forces of neo-colonialism expressed in the globalization that is culminating current global socio-economic policy is based on the "logic of domination" and there are many other supporting ideologies such as the tragedy of the commons, the myth of overpopulation and the myth of scarcity. All these incomplete analysis' of the problem lead to problematic solutions. To better understand the issue we need to deconstruct the complex ideologies.

False Tragedy of Commons

In many communities around the world, such as England, the land was managed communally, and that land was called the commons. Before privatization this was the cooperative way people democratically shared resources. Privatization is when the land and resources of the communities are taken over using a "logic of domination" to justify the dispossession. These enclosures lead to the polarization of the "common interest of the people in to the interest of the rich and the powerful and the poor and marginalized" (Shiva:2005: 53). Garret Hardin is responsible for reviving the idea of the tragedy of the commons and he turned into a science, and a commonly accepted and taught ideology. The tragedy of the commons is in reality the tragedy of privatization. The degradation of the commons results from the ability of the powerful and rich to exploit the resources of the poor.

Myth of Overpopulation

Neo-malthusians use the idea of overpopulation in environmental security policy. In Garret Hardin's "Lifeboat Ethics" the poor are considered expendable, and women in the so-called Third World are blamed for population growth and our current ecological crisis. Thusly, the populations of the Third-World need to be controlled so that the U.S. can continue it's high consumption lifestyle. But "controlling the populations without controlling production and consumptions patterns", including the type of technology and the government policies that influence these patterns, does not address the environmental crisis(Shiva: 2005; 58). The IPAT equation fails to include the appropriative practices of the neo-colonialist policies of powerful countries like the U.S. with it's hegemonic relationship with South America.


  1. 2005, Earth Democracy; Justice, Sustainability, and Peace, South End Press, ISBN 0-89608-745-X