Earth Democracy and Ecological Civilization with Vandana Shiva
Listen to this episode: Duration: 42 min.
Dr. Vandana Shiva shares key ideas from her book Earth Democracy and discusses the need to establish an Earth Democracy where we acknowledge that we are all part of the Earth, and that everything, including trees and rivers, have a right to exist. She connects this to the idea of Ecological Civilizations, democracies based on ecological oneness. These stand in opposition to today’s western civilizations that separate humans from nature and each other.
Shiva also talks about her work fighting industrial agriculture and promoting seed sovereignty. When companies like Monsanto began patenting seeds and making farmers dependent on them, she began to promote seed sovereignty and native seeds. She believes seeds are the embodiment of life and should not be treated as inventions or commodities, but rather as a commons. Through her work she has found that native seeds promote biodiversity and are more nutritious and outperform industrial seeds. If we work with the Earth and replace what we take, using organic practices, she believes we can meet our food needs, reverse climate change, and regenerate biodiversity.
Questions and Topics Addressed in this Episode
- Your book, “Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace,” calls for a shift in the values that govern democracies. You start the book stating that Earth Democracy connects the local to the global, and it incorporates the notion of Earth Family, the community of all beings supported by Earth. Can you explain what an Earth Democracy and Earth Family are, and why you think they are important?
- Why is seed sovereignty important, and how is it related to other issues like diversity loss, justice, and sustainability?
- How do you respond to those who argue we need chemical fertilizers and GMO seeds to produce enough food to feed the global population?
- We are at an important moment to set the path and move towards an ecological civilization. What does ecological civilization mean to you and what are the key ingredients for that?
- Should there be one common vision of an ecological civilization or plural civilizations?
- What role should education play in building ecological civilizations? How do you imagine education with a higher purpose for ecological civilizations, and how can the Earth Charter play a role?
Earth Democracy and Ecological Civilization
Who is Vandana Shiva?
Indian scholar, environmental activist, and ecofeminist, Dr. Vandana Shiva, originally trained as a physicist, became a leading voice and advocate of food sovereignty. She founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology which works to address the pressing ecological and social issues of the world and also develops sustainable agriculture methods. She also started the Navdanya project which promotes seed banks and conservation of local seeds. She is a member of the World Future Council and has written more than 20 books including “The Violence of Green Revolution,” “Earth Democracy; Justice, Sustainability, and Peace” and “Monocultures of the Mind.” In 1993, she received the Right Livelihood Award and the Sydney Peace Prize in 2010. She is a board member of the International Forum of Globalization and of Diverse Women for Diversity. She also helped found the Women’s Environment and Development Organization which contributed to the drafting of the Earth Charter.