Vandana Shiva

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Vandana Shiva (05.11.1952) is a physicist, ecofeminist, environmental activist and author. Shiva, currently based in New Delhi, is author of over 300 papers in leading scientific and technical journals. In 2002, she was awarded the Durban Institute of Technology's Hajee M.L. Sultan Leadership Award. She was described as "probably at this time, the brightest, freshest activist who is asking all of the most pertinent issues that confront the world." Ms Shiva, a physicist who gave up a job at a prominent Bangalore-India based institution to campaign for what she saw as important since the early 'eighties, has raised basic themes of water, seeds, women's health and education of girls. Dr Vandana Shiva also was awarded the Golden Plant Award, the international award of ecology. She is the author of a number of prominent publications -- "Staying Alive", "The Violence of the Green Revolution", "Monocultures of the Mind", and "Captive Minds Captive Lives". Earlier, she has been actively involved with the innovative hug-the-trees Chipko campaign of Northern India and the World Rainforest Movement.

Earth Democracy - Justice, Sustainability, and Peace (2005)

  • Earth Democracy connects people in circles of care, cooperation, and compassion instead of dividing them through competitoin and conflict, fear and hatred.

On science, and violence

  • The nexus between modern science and violence is obvious from the fact that 80 percent of all scientific research is devoted to the war industry and is frankly aimed at large-scale violence.

On biopiracy

  • Biopiracy (is) biological theft; illegal collection of indigenous plants by corporations who patent them for their own use. -- Quoted in a booklet No Patents on Seeds: A Handbook For Activists, collectively authored by the the Navdanya Team, run by Dr Shiva and her colleagues, first published in Feburary 2005 and republished in January 2006.
  • No to patents on seeds. Yes to bija swaraj (seed freedom).

On the poor, and their need to agitate (2002)

On reinventing the liberation movements (2002)

  • We are in a strange kind of time, where the kind of liberation movements such as anti-apartheid movements and freedom struggles in India need to be

reinvented. We need to retool them so that all the gains that our generation has made can be passed on to future generations. (See )

On the possibility of a Green-Red alliance in India

  • If enough work is done on both sides, there will be (enough space for industrial workers too in a green scheme of things).

On the 'confusion' within India's scientific community

  • They've been told earn your own money, you won't get government grants. Instead of saying you jolly well have to support a research or university system, since every society needs knowledge systems. They're fumbling around trying to see how they can fit into corporate culture.

On the challenges before the non-affluent world

  • Globalisation is about liberalised imports and exports, which makes India export our best natural wealth and import the junk and wasted pollution of international production, including of the Western economies.

On the changing face of governmenance in the Third World

  • We're going through a very major rewriting of the Social Contract, or the contract between governments and people. What we're getting is a whole series of new policies that is turning the government from being an instrument that people can use, into being an instrument that only foreign corporations use against the Indian people.

On changing policies in India

  • (India's) Finance Ministry's ... feet might be in India, but it's head is in Washington.
  • Very vital resources we need both for survival -- drinking water, all the resources people need for livelihoods -- are just disappearing so rapidly that life is becoming impossible.
  • [Vested interests are] trying to spread the rumour that environmental protection is a luxury in this country. And the environmentlists are a vested interest group. Really, you don't have that many voices to talk about the survival rights of the large majority of the people.
  • ...corruption has not ended with globalisation; it has actually increased. Corruption is another force of environmental destruction.

On her book "The Enclosure and Recovery the Commons"

  • The message is: the privatisation of knowledge, and of biodiversity, is a threat to the future of humanity. It's an enclosure of the intellecutal and the biological commons, and we need to recover it. Simply because we need biodiversity and knowledge to continue to live.
  • We've proposed the idea of community rights as an alternative to the idea of intellectual property rights.

On her critique of 'intellectual property'

  • It's taking a greedy, Western corporate personality as the paradigm of being human. Just like in colonialism, the European was taken as the paradigm of being human, and the Third World was then treated to being animals, to being flora and fauna.
  • Greed creates scarcity, and we're living in periods of scarcity. We need to have abundant thinking. We need to think generously to be able to generate generously.
  • Both diversity and knowledge multiply. One seed can give rise to millions. One piece of useful knowledge can travel and help millions. By treating that as property, and blocking its multiplication and flow, you're actually creating a scarcity and that could deepen the universal crisis.

On environmentalism in India, and in the future

  • India's elite wants not just cosmetic environmentalism, but a consumer-environmentalism. It wants to have good areas to go for tourism to. So it's happy to have national parks, because people can go for wildlife tourism. Or good beaches. But they don't want, and don't care about, a livelihood environmentalism.
  • The environmental movement can only survive if it becomes a justice movement. As a pure environmental movement, it will either die, or it will survive as a corporate 'greenwash'. Anyone who's a sincere environmentalist can't stand that role.
  • It is time to learn from the mistakes of monocultures of the mind and the essentialising violence of reductionist thought. It is time to turn to diversity for healing.
  • Diversity creates harmony, and harmony creates beauty, balance, bounty and peace in nature and society, in agriculture and culture, in science and in politics.

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