Today’s show features a global icon and humble giant working tirelessly on behalf of humanity. This is an encore episode with the brilliant Dr. Vandana Shiva (find her on Twitter) who’s been called the Gandhi of Seed and has written several books, including the masterpiece Oneness Vs. the 1%: Shattering Illusions, Seeding Freedom. I feel like this beautiful and luminous soul has rekindled my hope in our collective future.
Dr. Vandana Shiva is an Indian scholar, environmental activist, food sovereignty advocate, ecofeminist and anti-globalization author. Based in Delhi, Shiva has written more than 20 books. She is often referred as “Gandhi of grain” for her activism associated with anti-GMO movement.
Shiva, the daughter of a forestry official and a farmer, grew up in Dehra Dun, near the foothills of the Himalayas. She received a master’s degree in the philosophy of science from Guelph University, Ontario, in 1976. The thesis “Hidden Variables and Non-locality in Quantum Theory” earned her a doctorate from the department of philosophy at the University of Western Ontario in 1978. Shiva developed an interest in environmentalism during a visit home, where she discovered that a favourite childhood forest had been cleared and a stream drained so that an apple orchard could be planted. After completing her degrees, Shiva returned to India, where she worked for the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Management. In 1982 she founded RFSTN, later renamed the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology (RFSTE), in her mother’s cowshed in Dehra Dun.
Shiva proceeded to work on grassroots campaigns to prevent clear-cut logging and the construction of large dams. She was perhaps best known, however, as a critic of Asia’s Green Revolution, an international effort that began in the 1960s to increase food production in less-developed countries through higher-yielding seed stocks and the increased use of pesticides and fertilizers. The Green Revolution, she maintained, had led to pollution, a loss of indigenous seed diversity and traditional agricultural knowledge, and the troubling dependence of poor farmers on costly chemicals. In response, RFSTE scientists established seed banks throughout India to preserve the country’s agricultural heritage while training farmers in sustainable agricultural practices.
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