Dr. Vandana Shiva on "Earth Democracy"

Vandana Shiva, the College's fifth Peace and Justice Scholar, addressed an overflow crowd in Prosser Auditorium, October 12. The internationally known physicist, environmental activist, and author is the founder of Navdanya, a movement of 500,000 seed keepers and organic farmers in India.

"Saving seeds and saving biodiversity are not just issues of sustainability, but also of justice," said Dr. Shiva during her lecture, "Earth Democracy." "Creating a novel life form through genetic engineering allows the inventor to patent it and collect royalties. . . . But what has genetic engineering given us in 20 years? It has not increased yields. Herbicide resistance, a genetically engineered trait in crops, has given us super weeds. Farmers' fields are becoming contaminated with genetically modified plants, and the absence of testing these new plants is treated as proof of their safety. Already, genetically modified crops are starting to fail, and there are no genetically engineered alternatives.

"In Navdanya we are creating community seed banks. We must save everything. The salt-tolerant seeds we saved were declared useless by the seed companies, yet we took salt-tolerant rice to the areas affected by the tsunami. . . . Our present economic system has allowed what is vital to life to be privatized. We must become aware that we are all members of the earth community; all individuals—including those of future generations—have rights." Hear the entire lecture here.