Full names: Vandana Shiva
Date of Birth: 5th November 1952
Place of Birth: Dehradun, India
She was educated at St. Mary’s School in Nainital, and at the Convent of Jesus and Mary in Dehradun.
Also, Shiva read Physics for both bachelor and Masters Degrees at Panjab University in Chandigarh, graduating in 1972 and 1974 respectively. Moreover, she studied for and got an MA in Philosophy of Science at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, in 1977.
Furthermore, Shiva studied for and bagged a PhD in Philosophy of Physics at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, in 1978.
Finally, she later proceeded for interdisciplinary research in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the India Institute of Science and the India Institute of Management, both in Bangalore, India. Thus, Vandana Shiva is a complete and prolific technocrat and a celebrated environmentalist.
Though Vandana Shiva is a well-trained and Certificated Pure Scientist, she makes a living as an author of various innovative books on green education and as a conference speaker.
Vandana Shiva lives in India.
Vandana Shiva is a prolific advocate of women rights and sustainable living. She is also an ever-ready and indefatigable activist of biodiversity and indigenous knowledge.
Thus, she founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology (RFSTE) in 1982, which later led to the forming of what is known as “Navdanya” in 1991.
Navdanya means ‘Nine seeds’ or ‘New Gift’, which is a means of educating farmers of the immense advantages in the practice of having various and individualized crops rather than receiving offers from mono-culture food producers. The initiative brought about the establishment of over 40 seed banks across India for diversified agriculture. Shiva also set up ‘Bija Vidyapeeth’ which is an international College for sustainable living, in Doon Valley, in 2004. He first book entitled ‘Staying Alive’ was published in 1988 and it helped redefine perceptions of Third World Women. Also, Shiva has written copious reports for FAO and the UN on mainly women rights issues and sustainable agriculture and even manufacturing. Besides, she has worked for the Promotion of biodiversity in agriculture to increase productivity, nutrition and farmer’s incomes. It is for this work that Time magazine recognized her as an ‘Environmental Hero in 2003. In an interview with David Borsamian, Shiva argues that the Seed-Chemical Package promoted by Green revolution agriculture had depleted soil, destroyed living ecosystems, and negatively impacted people’s health. In her work, she cites data allegedly demonstrating that today there are over 1400 pesticides that may enter the food system across the world because only 1% of pesticides sprayed act on the target pest. Vandana Shiva, alongside her sister, Dr Mira Shiva, argues that the health costs of increasing pesticide and fertilizer use range from cancer to kidney failure to heart disease. Also, on what she calls ‘biopiracy’, Shiva has fought against and won attempted patents of several indigenous plants in India, such as basmati by the US Department of Agriculture and the Corporation WR Grace. Moreover, her activitism included the struggles against the promotion of the Sale and consumption of ‘Golden rice’ (a breed of rice that has been genetically engineered to biosynthesize beta-carotene, a precursor of Vitamin A) in India by GMO corporation of India, around 2013. However, there have been several and severe criticisms of Vandana Shiva’s views and methods by some reputed solid analysists notably investigative Journalist Michael Specter of the New Yorker in an article on 25 August, 2014 entitled ‘Seeds of Doubt’ and journalist Kerth Kloor in an article published in ‘Discover’ on 23 October, 2014 entitled ‘The Rich allure of a Peasant Champion. Notwithstanding, all the criticisms have not reduced the personality and achievements of Vandana Shiva as a first-rate, world-class environmentalist.
Achievements of Sustainable Development and Environmentalism
The setting up and continuing operation of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology (RFSTE) in 1982, the initiative, promotion and benefit of ‘Navdanya’ in India since 1991; the winning of a 10-year legal battle against biopiracy the US Department of Agriculture and other organizations in 2005; the recognition by Time magazine as an ‘Environmental Hero’ in 2003; the establishment and continuing operation of an international college for sustainable living in Doon Valley, (i.e. Bija Vidya peeth) in 2004; etc
- 1991, Ecology and the Politics of Survival: Conflicts Over Natural Resources in India, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, California, ISBN 0-8039-9672-1
- 1992, Biodiversity: Social and Ecological Perspectives (editor); Zed Press, United Kingdom
- 1993, Women, Ecology and Health: Rebuilding Connections (editor), Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and Kali for Women, New Delhi
- 1993, Monocultures of the Mind: Biodiversity, Biotechnology and Agriculture, Zed Press, New Delhi
- 1993, Ecofeminism, Maria Mies and Vandana Shiva, Fernwood Publications, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, ISBN 1-895686-28-8
- 1994, Close to Home: Women Reconnect Ecology, Health and Development Worldwide, Earthscan, London, ISBN 0-86571-264-6
- 1995, Biopolitics (with Ingunn Moser), Zed Books, United Kingdom
- 1997, Biopiracy: the Plunder of Nature and Knowledge, South End Press, Cambridge Massachusetts, I ISBN 1-896357-11-3
- 2000, Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply, South End Press, Cambridge Massachusetts, ISBN 0-89608-608-9
- 2000, Tomorrow's Biodiversity, Thames and Hudson, London, ISBN 0-500-28239-0
- 2001, Patents, Myths and Reality, Penguin India
- 2002, Water Wars; Privatization, Pollution, and Profit, South End Press, Cambridge Massachusetts
- 2005, India Divided, Seven Stories Press,
- 2005, Globalization's New Wars: Seed, Water and Life Forms Women Unlimited, New Delhi, ISBN 81-88965-17-0
- 2005, Earth Democracy; Justice, Sustainability, and Peace, South End Press, ISBN 0-89608-745-X
- 2007, Manifestos on the Future of Food and Seed, editor, South End Press ISBN 978-0-89608-777-4
- 2007, Democratizing Biology: Reinventing Biology from a Feminist, Ecological and Third World Perspective, author, Paradigm Publishers ISBN 978-1-59451-204-9
- 2007, Cargill and the Corporate Hijack of India’s Food and Agriculture, Navdanya/RFSTE, New Delhi
- 2008, Soil Not Oil, South End Press ISBN 978-0-89608-782-8
- 2010, Staying Alive, South End Press ISBN 978-0-89608-793-4
- 2011, Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature & Knowledge, Natraj Publishers, ISBN 978-8-18158-160-0
- 2011, Monocultures of the Mind: Perspectives on Biodiversity, Natraj Publishers, ISBN 978-8-18158-151-8
- 2013, Making Peace With The Earth Pluto Press ISBN 978-0-7453-33762