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Cultivating the Wild

Cultivating the Wild

(p.228) 23 Cultivating the Wild
Vandana Shiva
University of Chicago Press

This chapter investigates wildness as the generative force of the universe. Vandana Shiva draws parallels between the Hindi word “Shakti” and wildness, with Shakti referring to energy as the “all-pervasive element of life.” That energy is harnessed through the “living energies” of the sun, dynamic soil, livestock and wildlife, plant diversity, and human labor. Shiva contrasts the living energies of Shakti with fossil fuels, which have “fossilized” our thinking about how to connect with the wildness of the universe. Shiva looks to a new economy that is not as dependent on fossil fuels for replacing living energies. Wildness, thus, is under threat from the fossil fuel economy—both in terms of how fossil fuels impact biodiversity through climate disturbance and through how fossil fuels obstruct human creativity and wildness in tapping those living energies to provide for our livelihood. Rather than seeing the wild as free of humans and the cultivated as free of nature, Shiva looks to the potential of humans as co-creators of wildness—referring to the 80,000 species of edible plants produced mostly by women throughout human history. Therefore, wildness as the self-organizing energy of the world can be reawakened through humans cultivating the wild.

Keywords:   Vandana Shiva, living energies, wildness, Shakti, self-organizing, co-creators

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