Category Archives: 11. bio-piracy & guerrilla gardening

a. summary


ON BIO-PIRACY
& GUERRILLA GARDENING

What is the social meaning, and what are the political and economic implications when the very building blocks of life are claimed the property by biotech companies?

Indigenous peoples tend to have very different attitudes toward property. When a transnational corporation attempts to patent traditional knowledge or genetic material, they consider such propertization both fatuous and outrageous. No individual can claim to be the sole “author” of collective resources (as copyrights and patents imply) because these resources required generations of stewardship, inherited innovation and culture to develop and refine! No one can appropriate and sell for private gain something entrusted to a commons as a sacred trust. Hence the term “biopiracy.” It is important to note that indigenous communities can be as vulnerable to the seductions of money and power as anyone else. Some indigenous leaders have sold their traditional knowledge or resources for a pittance or entered into “benefit sharing” arrangements with Western pharmaceutical interests that end up betraying or greatly weakening their cultures. The San people of the Kalahari Desert in Africa agreed to 8 percent of the profits in a new diet drug made from Hoodia gordonii, a cactus the San have traditionally used as a natural appetite suppressant. Many have criticized this deal as a case of biopiracy that has injected market norms and large sums of cash into a traditional culture, with troubling effects.(David Bollier: Think like a Commoner, 2014: 152-153)

Sometimes enclosures involve things that a community only owns morally or inherits, such as the biodiversity of nature. These are common-pool resources, not actual commons (because the social systems to manage them remain aspirational, not actual). CPRs are particularly vulnerable to enclosure because there is no organized community to resist the seizure, so they are seen as “free for the taking.” Markets become the structural force for redesigning nature.(David Bollier: Think like a Commoner, 2014: 49)

 

b. Potato Park

GUARDIANS OF DIVERSITY:
INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE EXCHANGE IN THE POTATO PARK, PERU

SIFOR Project, Asociacion Andes, Peru
2014, 15 min 35 sec

In April 2014, indigenous and ethnic minority farmers from Bhutan and China visited the Potato Park in Peru for a learning exchange on how to cope with climate change. They learned from the many biocultural innovations of the five Potato Park communities, which collectively conserve 1,460 varieties of potato. The film was produced as part of the SIFOR project (Smallholder Innovation for Resilience) in partnership with Asociacion ANDES (Peru), with funding from the European Union. Film-maker: Adam Kerby

d. Seed Bomb

GUERRILLA GARDENER RICHARD REYNOLDS:
MAKE YOUR OWN SEED BOMB

Planet Green, USA
2008, 2 min 30 sec

The guerrilla gardner strikes again. This time he demonstrates how to make a seed bomb in his quest to attack urban blight. Careful, as this is explosive homework: the wrong seeds at the wrong place can create the wrong biotope.

c. Biocultural Community Protocols

BIOCULTURAL COMMUNITY PROTOCOLS:
ARTICULATING AND ASSERTING STEWARDSHIP

Philadelphia, USA
2012, 13 min 1 Sec

Different groups of people that are skilled in breeding and taking care of animals, such as the Raika People from Rajasthan – India, help a great deal to maintain the biodiversity of the environment they live in. Across the world there are innumerable such examples of  communities with animals that live in a landscape that supports and is supported by them.

c. Maintaining a Culture over Millenia

BRUCE PASCOE: ABORIGINAL AGRICULTURE – MAINTAINING A CULTURE OVER MILLENIA

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Australia
2016, 53 min 32 sec

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute Reconciliation Seminar Series 1 June 2016 Mr Bruce Pascoe http://www.wehi.edu.au

e. further reading


FURTHER READING & RESEARCH

Richard Fleischer, Soylent Green (1973)

Ed Schehl, A Silent Forest: The Growing Threat Genetically Engineered Trees (2011)

Vandana Shiva: The Future of Food and Seed (2009)

George McCayRadical Gardening: Politics, Idealism and Rebellion in the Garden (2011)

Vandana Shiva: Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge (1997)

Who Really Feeds the World: The Failures of Agribusiness and The Promise of Agroecology (2016)

Jeff Noon: Pollen (1995) 

Richard Reynolds, On Guerrilla Gardening: A Handbook for Gardening without Boundaries

Paul Stamets, Mycelium Running (2005)

Bill Mollison, Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual (2012) 

Carlo Petrini, Slow Food: The Case for Taste (2001)