Vendana Shiva, wearing her beautiful sari, is interviewwd by George of CBC.
She has a background in quantum physics but gave up her career in favor of seed-saving and organic farming. Through her academic realizations in physics, that all things are interconnected (she studied non-locality in quantum theory), she came to see that the same is at work in both the natural and social worlds. While the Cartesian revolution in science, which is still the foundation of contemporary thought, is based on mechanistic reductionism, fragmentation, and atomization, she sees that this perspective is clearly not the world. The world is one of interconnection. Quantum theory recognized this 100 years ago and biology is giving that up in the name of genetic engineering. The current application is in favor of more fragmentation.
In 1987, she was invited to a conference on bio-technology where she was made aware of companies who wanted to "own everything, patent everything, and collect royalties on life." The same agri-chemical companies were also the same pharmaeutical co's and were now spreading into the seed industry.
She saw a situation where people were realizing that they were not been told the complete story - of how much bio-diversity can produce and can increase food security. "If we are going to save the planet and give people what they need, we must protect bio-diversity."
Since 1997, 1/4 million farmers in India have committed suicide. These suicides started in the cotton-belt where seed monopolies have been established.
76% of all commercial seeds are now in the hands of 10 companies while most of GM seed are in the hands of one company. While we could be eating 8,500 plant species .... crops have been reduced to a very few ... where royalties can be collected.
She calls it the "Second Coming of Columbus". Where the first colonization was about land and territory, this second colonization is about the reproductive capacity of every seed and plant and the ownership of life itself. At one time you could get a patent on a new invention, something you have created ..... now it seems you can get a patent on something you have not ..... plants which have always been and on which we and other species depend on. As Vendana points out, it is so easy to take away the humanity of the one who is being colonized.
Saving seeds was made to be a criminal activity, so she enthusiastically encouraged Indian farmers to save seeds ... and they did. Why? Because the cotton farmers who once paid 5 rupees for each cotton seed, seeds which could be saved and planted over and over again, were now buying the same seeds at each new planting season at a cost of 4000 rupees every year .... an 8000% jump. Pesticides are not supposed to be used, yet farmers were incurring a cost at a 13 fold increase for there Bt cotton.
In a consumer economy, the goods end up selling for cheap in grocery stores because of massive subsidies... "400 billion is what was given to agri-business by richer countries to make costly production cheap". The combination of so-called free trade, subsidies, monopolies and dumping, which is what industrial agriculture is all about, to create low costs on the shelves.
As for our run-away human population .... the population will increase when you create economic insecurity. When you take away land, you get familes who beget more children for security reasons. When you leave land in people's hands you get more stable populations.
With a population of 7 billion we need to be more prudent with our resources. It doesn't make sense to use 10 units to produce only 1 which is what the industrial food system produces. It is a violent system which denigrates the micro-organisms in soil, destroys 70% of species and denudes entire waterways for irrigation of animal crops (where what is left is pollluted water).
40% of greenhouse gases are coming from a "bad" food system that is not sustainable and unjust. Food has become a commodity rather than the nourishment it is. As a business model it cuts off the innate relationship that makes nature work and makes human society work.
We have a relationship with food and with animals. When a cow becones a milk or beef machine, we have cut off our relationship with it.
It is time that we adjust ourselves to a more "feminine" attitude. That of nurturing and caring and sharing. This feminine attitude is not one necessarily possessed by women, although women may be more naturally equipped in many ways, but as Vendana says, her grandfather was a great feminist. Without the qualities of the feminine, whether male or female, we are not going to survive.http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... 3d9k23UyQQ