dinsdag 25 november 2014

Internationale Dag tegen het Geweld tegen Vrouwen: Wat zijn Patriarchale Structuren?

Vandaag is het Internationale Dag tegen het Geweld tegen Vrouwen. Voor mij mag het elke dag Internationale Dag van de Eliminatie van alle soorten geweld zijn, want ook al lijkt de mens en de wereld te "evolueren", toch zijn de cijfers van geweld huiveringwekkend. Denk maar aan de grote groepsverkrachtingen in India of aan de ontvoering van al deze schoolmeisjes in Nigeria. In België, las ik vandaag in de media, worden 150 vrouwen jaarlijks door hun man vermoord. Geweld tegen vrouwen is overal. Sommige mensen zeggen dat door de globalisering van de media onbekende verhalen aan de oppervlak komen en daardoor een schijn geven dat er een stijging in geweld is, wat ik als een reden zie, maar niet als de enige reden. Ik zie ook de verankering van de patriarchaat in onze wereld als een reden van de stijging van het geweld. In een van de volgende blogs zal ik uitleggen hoe de structurele aanpassingen (SATs) van de World Trade Organisation (een van de voorvechters van patriarchaal kapitalisme) in de jaren' 80 voor "heksenverbrandingen" in Afrika zorgden. 

(Eco)feminisme en de Patriarchaat

Er zijn veel redenen waarom we meer (eco)feminisme in ons dagelijks leven nodig hebben, omdat het een kader biedt aan alle problemen, en een oplossing aandient. De roots -volgens (eco)feminisme- van alle problemen in de wereld -van racisme tot vernietiging van de natuur- ligt bij de patriarchale 
structuur van de maatschappij, die de mannelijke waarden en normen hoger ziet dan de vrouwelijke waarden en normen.  In deze video (Engelstalig) legt Marina Watanabe uit hoe de patriarchale structuur iedereen -man en vrouw- schaadt en onze kansen limiteert. 
Zij is een 21 jarige die "Vrouwenstudies", met minor "communicatie" in USA studeert. Op haar youtube kanaal legt ze in korte video's topics uit waar feminisme meer helderheid of zelfs een oplossing kan bieden, zoals waarom meisjes zich op Halloween vooral als hoeren verkleden. 

maandag 24 november 2014

From Apple Computer to Apple Tree

(c) wendiertje89 on Instagram
Fall in East-Germany, 2014
 Dreaming as reply to the Fall in the World

Winter is Coming. It's one of the most popular and known quotes from the series Game of Thrones. It means that dark times are coming, but it also means that we are in fall, the time between summer and winter, when things start to change. Trees start to loose their leaves, the birds fly to other regions and the temperature starts to decrease. In this period we pluck the fruits of our hard work in the previous seasons and keep it in a dry place, so we can survive the cold, dead winter. People who look further, see the spring after this dead period, and start to plant fruit trees and spread seeds from spinach, salads, parsley and even carrots, because fall is also the period when you can change a lot of things. 

My brother and I are very aware of the crisis, the winter, the dark times, that are coming to us, or in fact, already started. There is a big fall in the world. In two meanings of the world.  The Patriarchal capitalism is spreading as a disease over whole the world, polluting the grounds, the water, the air and the human mind. The violence against women and foreigners increased, biotechnology changed the genetics of seeds and plants so engineers control who has access to food and who not, we are working for money that does not exist, because the banks are speculating with it... etc. I believe the only way to solve many problems is when people have access to small pieces of ground and can grow their own food, as I said in the previous blog about "the future of food". That is why my brother and I decided to do something with the ground that we hearted from our grandparents. We want to create a safe haven, that gives us food, that frees us and our beloved ones from the capitalist patriarchy that makes from us slaves of our own wage, that let us be in contact with nature and let us be in control of our own life. We started to dream... as a reply to the fall in the world. 

Planning with Permaculture Design
Last Summer I participated in the permaculture design course from Regreen ecocenter in Greece. These were two of the most interesting weeks in my life, because apart from the knowledge I also got some skills and tools to achieve my dreams: my mind and my hands became different in my eyes. 
Together with my brother we made a map of our ground and started to draw. We decided to have a greenhouse (without warming elements), but also a place with a self made contain and picknick tables. We also made different phases, to give us enough time. We hoped that in the summer and fall of 2016 we would be 30% self-sustainable. We think it's important to have a part-time job, to pay taxes, medical care etc... but we also think we can save a lot of money by providing ourselves with vegetables, fruits and eggs. 

I have to admit that I feel guilty that I spend too much time with my apple computer. Technology is promoted as progress, something that should make everything goes faster, but instead of creating more time for ourselves, I've the feeling I've not enough time. Nothing can go fast enough. By going back to the nature, and planting apple trees and other seeds, I hope to find again a balance with myself and the world, find more time for myself and can feel really happy and satisfied with what I am doing. Being self-sustainable is not only about being in control of your food, but also in control of your mind. I know that my mind is still a slave of all the ruling dogma's of the patriarchy. 

Maybe that's also why I am so interested for ecofeminism. It is a political answer on racism, sexism, class exploitation and environmental destruction, that not only maps the problems (all the roots of the bad things happening in the world are in patriarchy according to ecofeminists), but also provides the solutions: subsistence. 

(c) The Ecologist

Acting, because actions tell more than words

Since the end of June our garden started to change. We bought 3 chickens. We built a picknick table and a terrace where we hope to celebrate nice evening gatherings with friends. We made a greenhouse where we planted seeds for vegetables for next spring - and I love writing about it and sharing it with Facebook, because it makes me proud that I am doing these things for myself, for the world and for nature.

Today my brother, his friend and I planted also 18 fruit trees: mulberries, apricots, pears, apples, cherries and nuts will be hopefully the main ingredients of our diet. Soon I will plant some flowers (like narcissus) and herbs that belong to guilds of plants protecting trees against diseases and insects and/or making the soil more fertile, but according to a garden architect our soil is perfect for fruit trees, so we will focus on plants that will fight against the pests and diseases. In the next months I will give a list of the guilt of plants we used, what kind of problems we (hopefully not) faced and the solutions we (hopefully) found. 

 Celebrating, as the 4th and most important phase of Dragon Dreaming. 
That's for later, but the feeling that I am doing something good feels already as a nice celebration for the soul. 

dinsdag 18 november 2014

Geography Awareness week: Food of the Future

During Geography Awareness Week (organised by National Geographic), they raise awareness about a geographical topic. This year the theme is  "FOOD of the FUTURE".

Honestly, I do not like to talk with people about what they eat every day, but that does not mean I do not care about food.
In fact, I think every day -in shops, on farms, at my home- about the impact of food.
I think it's important to be in dialogue with yourself and others if what we eat is good for our health, social justice and the environment... and not just "so what did you eat today? Is it delicious?".

I am more aware how important it is to be in control of what you eat. Companies and their engineers are not going to solve the hunger in the world, the social injustice and the environmental crisis; they will only give solutions for problems, but they will not let disappear the roots of these problems.
In fact, I am really scared for many companies, certainly the ones who control seeds, the source of our food, which is the source of our life. Many farmers in whole the world are in huge debts because they do not have access to plants which can procreate, but always have to buy again these genetically modified seeds. Thousands of farmers committed suicide because of their debts, read: their dependence from these companies.

They are not the only persons who are controlled by these companies.
Many companies control the prices of food, and all people who buy their food from the market, are affected by this price. When we talk about food of the future, we should also talk about access, because maybe in some very near future, most of us will not have access to food, because they will not have the money anymore (more jobs will disappear, because of the rationalisation of the economical activities) and they do not know how to grow food.

I get to more and more admiration for skilful, self-sufficient and autonomous people who can make their own food and other important basic products. I think these people do more good to the world than most companies, and I think we can learn more from them than from business leaders and politicians; because these people can teach us how to be free of all this control of food, free of this control of our life.

Some people perceive people who garden as a sign of poverty. I see it is as a sign that you are not a slave, a passive consumer of this society, but are more free than people who are dependent from super market prices. Poverty does not mean you do have money. It means that you do not have a choice, that you are not free.

Apart from the negative perception about self-sufficiency, there are -unfortunately-  also companies and governments who try to have control over anybody, so there are a lot of limiting regulations. So... that's why it is important to lobby for seeds that are not genetically modified for example. That is why I like activists like Vandana Shiva, a leading ecofeminist and one of my big examples. I believe her, because apart from an activist and philosopher, she is also a scientist.

And I believe that many geographers also should talk more about the future of food, because we know the earth the best -the social and environmental aspects, and think how food should be accessible for everyone. Geographers study the problems and the relationship between humans and nature, so in fact, food, which is the most important link between human and nature, is geography.