New Delhi, 1st October: Navdanya, in collaboration with India International Centre, concluded its annual festival Bhoomi, dedicated this year to Listening to the Mountains – listening to the message of the Rights of Nature flowing from the mountains, listening to the cry of the Mountains bearing the burden of climate change, and listening to the promise of agroecology and organic farming to stop the spread of poisons that spread disease and increase Greenhouse Gases that destabilise the climate. A book on the subject was also released.
Navdanya has been part of the movement for the Rights of Nature and promoting Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam, the Earth Family. At the Bhoomi festival Valerie Cabanes , eminent lawyer from France spoke about the necessity to recognise ecocide – the destruction of the Earth and the environment – as a punishable crime. Citing the Indian court’s judgment to declare Ganga as a living entity with rights, she spoke about how there is a need to implement such steps all over the world. Her book “Rights for Planet Earth: Ending Crimes Against Nature ” was released by Dr Vandana Shiva at the event.
The mountains are considered sacred in almost all cultures of the world and have been an inspiration of wisdom for societies across the world. At Bhoomi 2017, panel discussions, talks ad presentations were held by some of the global pioneers of mountain ecology conservation, activists and mountain farmers. Keys speakers at the event were Chief Minister of Sikkim Pawan Chamling, renowned environmentalist and founder-director of Navdanya Dr Vandana Shiva, Andre Leu, President of the IFOAM, Ulrich Veith, Mayor of Mals, Dr Saamdu Chetri, Director GNH Centre Bhutan, Dr Sonam Dawa, CEC, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Council, etc.
Communities in the Alps which have become pesticides free have joined with Himalayan communities that are chemical free to create a global network of poison free Organic zones.
Navdanya has worked to train farmers in Sikkim. Chief Minister of Sikkim P Chamling, who has declared Sikkim 100% organic state, gave the closing address and was requested to be an Ambassador of an Organic Himalaya and an Organic pesticide free world. Speaking on the occasion chief minister Chamling said, “We the people of mountains have a huge responsibility towards our country, because the Himalayas are the source of the water for billions of people and we have to take precious care of it. We need to listen to the mountains, if want our future generations to live.”
“Today, humanity is facing a great crisis because of a man made disaster, Climate Change. To combat this threat we have to adapt, and amend our ways. Even in our Sikkim climate is changing, longer summers, irregular climate patterns marked by heavy rainfall and landslides. We have to change now, we have to stop interference with nature and remove the poisons from our food and farms. I will play my part in the mission to make Himalayas 100% organic,” he added.
The festival also featured cultural performances which included theatre, songs, films on mountain ecology and organic farming. Ani Choying Drolma, “the Singing Nun” and UN Goodwill Ambassador to Nepal also performed at festival
Dr Vandana Shiva on occasion said, “Today is a historic moment as people from Himalayas to the Alps have joined hands to make a commitment to the Earth by stopping the use of poisons in our farms and not to allow toxic to pollute our rivers and spread cancer in our societies.”
Being the 30th year of the Navdanya movement, a special ceremony to honour the Navdanya family was also organised, which included seed keepers across the country, farmers, women processors, teachers and other individuals who have devoted their lives to make Navdanya evolve froma seed to a tree. 30 members of the Navdanya family were felicitated at the event .
Festivities ended by 8 pm with an organic dinner crafted by the Navdanya chefs. The menu featured nutritious and tasty dishes made from scratch with a mix of rare and common grains, mountain vegetables, herbs and was attended by gourmet food lovers of the city.
Press release by Indra Shekhar Singh