Re: Bolivian Farmers Demand Researchers Drop Patent

As someone who grew up in a large, North American city, travelled and lived
extensively in the developing world and spent his adult life promoting
sustainability, I can appreciate Steve Diver's opinion without ignoring the
generalization and oversimplification of the complex issues that underlie
it.  Having spent time with indigenous, traditional farmers and with
research scientists, I can attest that they inhabit vastly different
universes that operate with very different assumptions, values and rules.
If I had the opportunity to choose one group or the other to guide us on the
road to a sustainable future, I would take the farmers any day, while in no
way impugning the contribution that science has made and will make to future
prosperity on a global scale.

History to this point appears to have been dominated by exploitation,
subjugation, genocide, environmental degradation and aggression.  Does this
mean that we must continue on the same path that our ancestors trod?  I also
see historical evidence for the gradual emergence of justice, brotherhood,
co-operation and wisdom as operating factors in human cultural evolution.
That is the path I would rather walk.  

Jeff Gold. 

>Steve Diver wrote:
>> While I respect the instrumental work of Colorado
>> researchers to adapt quinoa to North American farms, I agree with the
>> Bolivian farmers and RAFI on the topic of biopiracy.
>> Biopiracy is a product of Western Science and Technology.  More
>> importantly, it is rooted in Western Mind, whose paradigm is
>> individualism and extraction of natural resources with the aim of
>> short-term economic gain at the expense of the common good.
>> In contrast, Tribal Mind is based on community ethics and
>> long-term environmental awareness.
>> I became aware of these two paradigms on a recent trip to
>> India, after visiting tribal villages that were (as are many Native
>> Americans, African Americans, and indigenous peoples around
>> the world)  culturally displaced by dominant European colonialism.
>> For a revealing insight, read Winin Pereria's book, whose titles
>> says it all...."Global Parasites:  500 Years of Western Culture",
>> available from The Other India Press.
>> Western Mind, it should be noted, is not just about white people
>> from the North.  It is a frame of mind that results in actions that
>> threaten the planet and its peoples.
>> Sadly, corrupt governments and industrialists of the resource-rich
>> two-thirds world have happily adopted Western Mind think, and
>> are reaping their individual rewards while fellow citizens, wildlife,
>> and plant-based ecosystems are suffering in misery.
>> Globalization, which many are realizing is so destructive,  is a logical end
>> product of Western Mind.
>> I am hopeful, however, in the many alternative models that are
>> emerging from the visionary movements such as spiritual ecology,
>> permaculture, and sustainable agriculture in general.
>> Some of the paradigm shifters that come to mind include the
>> partnership model that Riane Eisler talks about in "The Chalice
>> and The Blade", and from a macro socio-economic perspective, the
>> Progressive Utilization Theory, or PROUT, propounded by the Indian
>> scholar and philosopher, P.R. Sarkar.
>> Steve Diver
>> --
>> steved@ncatark.uark.edu
>All human cultures through the ages have utilized nature for their own
>special needs and have had detrimental impacts. There were however
>simply not enough people to produce significant irreversible
>destruction. They simply moved on to the next inviting location and the
>original had a chance to recover. Native Americans, eastern Indians,
>Inuit, Africans, Asians, Mesopotamians, etc all contributed to the
>degradation of the natural environment. What you term "western mind" has
>no monopoly on raping nature nor advancing technology. All early
>cultures were in fact "close to the natural systems". We would be too if
>we didn't have a substantial roof over our heads and electricity. I
>think we can be much more productive looking for solutions rather than
>casting disparaging remarks about cultures and what they produced or who
>is to blame. We are all responsible. Tribal-Schmibal.