An Inspiration for us all – Dr. Vandana Shiva

“Over the past three decades I have tried to be change I want to see.”

I was privileged to hear Dr. Shiva speak this weekend in Anaheim, CA.  The topic of her talk was Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis.

Vandana Shiva was a Physicist in India and left the world of science, she says, “When I found that dominant science and technology served the interests of powerful, I left academics to found the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, a participatory, public interest research organization.

When I found global corporations wanted to patent seeds, crops or life forms, I started Navdanya to protect biodiversity, defend farmers’ rights and promote organic farming.

Navdanya/RFSTE’s journey over the past two decades has taken us into creating markets for farmers and promoting tasty, healthy, high quality food for consumers. We have connected the seed to the kitchen, biodiversity to gastronomy. And now we have joined hands with Slow Food to celebrate the quality and cultural diversity of our food.”

She spoke about ‘a century of error’ in food technology.  When the Indian farmers were encouraged to grow Bt cotton (a genetically modified cotton) their seed price went from 7 rupees to 7,000 rupees for them to buy seed. And the GE seed is made to be infertile so the farmers couldn’t save their seed to grow the next year.  They got so in debt that 84% of the cotton farmers that were using the GE seed, committed suicide.  Dr. Shiva calls this Bio-Piracy; The stealing by a large multi-national corporation [{Monsanto] of our food and seed supply.

It’s time for all of us to stand up and say, no, we won’t stand for this.

Instead of changing and then patenting (and owning!) our seeds, we need to get back to basics; organic and sustainable farming. Which can feed the world and will help climate change as well. In research that was done, biodiverse organic farms had the greatest food yield of any kind of farming.  It can feed the world and is good for the environment as well.  The number two issue of climate change is the factory farms of the world. Our government has been exacerbating this issue with subsidies (with our tax dollars!) to GE and factory farmers.  We need to focus on many small, organic farmers so people can eat local and healthy food.

She said, “A healthy environment and a just world go hand-in-hand. In a time of changing climates and increasing food scarcity, sustainable and biologically diverse farms are the champions for food production that is resistant to disease, drought, and flood. By promoting the productivity of small independent farms we can increase the potential for social justice and biodiversity”

And she ended her wonderful and inspirational talk, with a reminder to also cultivate peace, happiness and joy.

You can visit her website here:

http://www.navdanya.org

Vandana Shiva is a world-renowned environmental leader and thinker. Director of the Research Foundation on Science, Technology, and Ecology, she is the author of many books, including Water Wars: Pollution, Profits, and Privatization (South End Press, 2001), Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge (South End Press, 1997), Monocultures of the Mind (Zed, 1993), The Violence of the Green Revolution (Zed, 1992)

Ms. Shiva is a leader in the International Forum on Globalization and founder of Navdanya (“nine seeds”), a movement promoting diversity and use of native seeds. In 1993, Shiva won the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize (the Right Livelihood Award). Before becoming an activist, Shiva was one of India ’s leading physicists. She holds a master’s degree in the philosophy of science and a Ph.D. in particle physics.

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