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Vandana Shiva x3

by Øyvind Holmstad

In this interview for CSSC Encounters, Dr. Vandana Shiva gives the history of her engagement and explains the situation we are in now, facing a new fascism as corporations and governments merge. Still, she is always using an optimistic tone, in spite of corporate grabs of our common heritage, the natural world — a world caught in a system where the ecology and the economy are fierce enemies, when they should have been best friends. How to reunite them? Vandana gives the answer, through true community!

I was also lucky to come across two more recent videos of Dr. Shiva from Eco Walk the Talk. Take your time to read their introduction article: Vandana Shiva: Traditional Knowledge, Biodiversity and Sustainable Living.

While Geoff‘s main focus is upon the microbiological diversity of soil life, his female counterpart has her main focus upon the diversity of native seeds. Today these seeds and their properties are patented on a large scale, before being sold back to those they were stolen from by the GMO corporations.

I’ll let a quote from the article referred to above introduce both these videos:

In the following interview, she explains the work done at the organization she founded in 1987 – Navdanya Biodiversity Conservation Farm and Bija Vidyapeeth, the research and training arm. She reiterates that ecological farming is pro-peace, pro- biodiversity, pro-culture and pro-livelihood for the poor. — Eco Walk the Talk

Here’s a recording in part, of a session by Dr Vandana Shiva at Navdanya, where she clearly explains four kinds of seeds – open pollination, green revolution varieties, hybrid varieties and GM seeds. This distinction is fundamentally important to understand the arguments against genetic engineering. She also describes how the cost of GM seeds and pesticide use soar astronomically, which are major factors behind the indebtedness and consequent suicide of farmers. (Kindly excuse the poor lighting conditions in the room, which is more than made up by Dr Shiva’s articulate discourse)Eco Walk the Talk


  1. Commons as a Different Engine of Innovation:

    “The whole enterprise of “development” has been a mixed success at best, and a disaster in so many other cases. It has left poor people at the mercy of volatile global markets and speculators without really solving hunger, poverty or inequality. Worse, the former commoners have been cut off from their traditional sources of culture and mutual support, and stigmatized as losers in the marketplace. That is why, for example, some 200,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide over the past decade – a story that gets very little coverage because it conflicts with the business narrative of India as a fierce economic tiger.

    So this is the real cost of enclosure: The connections that bind a community together – its control of resources, traditions and rules – are destroyed. When the U.S. Government tried to vanquish Native Americans in the 1800s, the first thing that it insisted upon, as a legal precondition for U.S. citizenship, was that Native Americans abandon their common ownership regimes, and assign individual property rights to everyone. I can think of no better way of destroying a people.

    So rather than focusing primarily on capital-driven types of innovation, which require us to become creatures of the market, I think we need to pay more attention to commons-based innovation. The results are more likely to be socially and ecologically benign, if not more effective over the long term. Let me give a few examples.”

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