Sunday, March 20, 2011

One of my personal SHEroes: Vandana Shiva

Dr. Vandana Shiva
I first became acquainted with Vandana Shiva when I read her 2004 article "Mad Cows and Sacred Cows" for a feminist theory class.

Trained as a physicist, Shiva could be considered the embodiment of the earth goddess within the ecofeminist movement who is fighting for an earth-based economy that transcends international borders and flies in the face of the corporations and governments that believe all of the world is a marketplace and everything is for sale. 

Instead, she advocates  an “earth democracy” meaning no nonsustainable rule by corporations. In a rights-based society, says Shiva, the environment should have rights too.  No creature should dominate another.  We should not use resources beyond our needs, because others have a right to them, also. 

She explains how trade agreements have made countries too poor to feed themselves by bringing in cheap goods so that local farmers cannot sell their crops competitively. This creates a spiral of hunger and poverty, especially for those who produce the food.

Agriculture is born from war, Shiva says.   

Those who made chemicals that killed during war now make chemicals that kill, but are essential for the production of food.  She is speaking of all the chemicals that were used to further faster development of food while eradicating pests during what is known as the Green Revolution

Shiva has taken steps to put agriculture back into the hands of indigenous women in developing nations by establishing a seed bank that is designed to perpetuate native species of plants that were designed by nature to thrive in local environments and provide for the people.   

She is one person who has used her background and education to interrupt the exploitation of the environment and – by extension – the exploitation of women.

Vandana Shiva talks about the drawbacks of bioengineering:

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