Shiva, Vandana 1952-
SHIVA, Vandana 1952-
PERSONAL: Born 1952, in India. Education: Punjab University, B.A., M.A.; Western Ontario University, Ph.D., 1979.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Sage Publications, 2455 Teller Rd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Physicist and environmentalist. Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, India, 1980; United Nations University, consultant, 1982; Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Natural Resource Policy, Dehradun, India, 1990. Navdanya, founder.
Forestry Crisis and Forestry Myths: A Critical Review of Tropical Forests: A Call for Action, World Rain-forest Movement (Penang, Malaysia), 1987.
(With J. Bandyopadhyay) Ecological Audit of Eucalyptus Cultivation, Research Foundation for Science and Ecology (Dehra Dun, India), 1987.
Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development, Zed Books (London, England), 1988.
The Violence of the Green Revolution: Ecological Degradation and Political Conflict in Punjab, Natraj Publishers (Dehra Dun, India), 1989, Zed Books (Atlantic Highlands, NJ), 1991.
(With J. Bandyopadhyay and others) Ecology and the Politics of Survival: Conflicts over the Natural Resources in India, United Nations University Press (New Delhi, India), 1991.
Biodiversity: Social and Ecological Perspectives, Zed Books (Atlantic Highlands, NJ), 1991.
(With Sunderlal Bahuguna and M. N. Buch) Environment Crisis and Sustainable Development, Natraj Publishers (Dehra Dun, India), 1992.
(With V. M. Meher-Homji, N. D. Jayal, and Sahabat Alam Malaysia) Forest Resources, Crisis, and Management, Natraj Publishers (Dehra Dun, India), 1992.
Monocultures of the Mind: Perspectives on Biodiversity and Biotechnology, Zed Books (Atlantic Highlands, NJ), 1993.
(With Maria Mies) Ecofeminism, Zed Books (Atlantic Highlands, NJ), 1993.
(With Vanaja Ramprasad) Cultivating Diversity: Biodiversity Conservation and the Politics of the Seed, Nataraj Publishers (Dehra Dun, India), 1993.
Sustaining Diversity: Renewing Diversity and Balance through Conservation, Navadanya (New Delhi, India), 1994.
Biodiversity Conservation: Whose Resource? Whose Knowledge? Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (New Delhi, India), 1994.
Neem, a User's Manual, Center for Indian Knowledge Systems/Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Natural Resource Policy (New Delhi, India), 1995.
Captive Minds, Captive Lies: Essays on Ethical and Ecological Implications of Patents on Life, Research for Science, Technology, and Natural Resource Policy, 1995.
(With Padmini Krishnan and others) The Seed Keepers, Navdanya (New Delhi, India), 1995.
Biopolitics: A Feminist and Ecological Reader on Biotechnology Zed Books (Atlantic Highlands, NJ), 1995.
Towards Sustainable Aquaculture, Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Natural Resource Policy (New Delhi, India), 1996.
Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge, South End Press (Boston, MA), 1997.
(With Afsar H. Jafri and Gitanjali Bedi) Ecological Costs of Economic Globalisation: the Indian Experience, Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology (New Delhi, India), 1997.
The Enclosure and Recovery of the Commons: Biodiversity, Indigenous Knowledge, and Intellectual Property Rights, Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology (New Delhi, India), 1997.
(With Afsar H. Jafri and Shalini Bhutani) Campaign against Biopiracy, Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology (New Delhi, India), 1999.
Betting on Biodiversity: Why Genetic Engineering Will Not Feed the Hungry or Save the Planet, Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology (New Delhi, India), 1999.
Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply, South End Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.
(With Ashok Emani) Climate Change, Deforestation, and the Orissa Super Cyclone: Ecological Costs of Globalisation, Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology (New Delhi, India), 2000.
Seeds of Suicide: The Ecological and Human Costs of Globalisation of Agriculture, Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology (New Delhi, India), 2000.
Tomorrow's Biodiversity, Thames & Hudson (London, England), 2000.
(With Margaret Antony) The Beedi Ban, Tobacco Monopolies, and the Myth of Labour: Deconstructing the Politics of Trade Sanctions, Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology (New Delhi, India), 2000.
License to Kill: How the Unholy Trinity—The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization—Are Killing Livelihoods, Environment, and Democracy in India, Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology (New Delhi, India), 2000.
Patents: Myths and Reality, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Protect or Plunder? Understanding Intellectual Property Rights, Zed Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Yoked to Death: Globalisation and Corporate Control of Agriculture, Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology (New Delhi, India), 2001.
Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit, South End Press (Cambridge, MA), 2002.
(Editor) Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security: The Impact of Globalisation, Sage Publications (Thousand Oaks, CA), 2002.
India on Fire: The Lethal Mix of Free Trade, Famine and Fundamentalism in India, Seven Stories Press (Berkeley, CA), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: Vandana Shiva is one of the youngest female scientists in the world to receive such a high degree of global recognition and prominence in as short a career as she has so far experienced. Well known as an environmentalist, feminist, and physicist, Shiva has taken up numerous global causes for which she has received many awards. A prolific author, she uses her published writings to explore and promote environmental conservation and biodiversity in tropical forests, particularly in her native India.
Shiva abandoned her country's nuclear energy program early in her career to devote herself to halting the global destruction of nature. "I was very lucky to have been born the daughter of a forester in India and to have grown up in the Himalayan forest," she told Judith Bizot of the UNESCO Courier. "Then I studied physics.... Then I went into nuclear physics, where I experienced massive disappointments. It was only when I was doing my master's degree that I realized how unthinking nuclear scientists were about the question of radiation hazards.... While I was groping my way . . . senior physicists would say, 'You don't need to know these things.' If science means to know, then I had no scientific training. So I went to Canada and enrolled on a foundations of physics program, where some of the basic questions about science that were troubling me were being asked."
Shiva has dedicated her career to battling the injustices and causes she cares about, and her bibliography reflects that. One issue in particular that has interested her is the Chipko women's movement, whose goal is to protect the environment. Shiva became involved with the movement after listening to and observing the women. In her UNESCO Courier interview, she explained, "It was their perceptions and their beliefs that were the really rich foundations of my knowledge of ecology. They offered me a new sensibility about relationships....Allmy theory-building has come out of this nature-centered and woman-centered action. In my book Staying Alive I attempted to explain why my insights came from women who were considered ignorant and marginal, who were not given a platform of any kind by society."
Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development was described as "a uniquely modern Green mixture of Hindu mythology, social disquiet, dry statistical tables and bouncy assaults on West 'male' science," by Alexandra Artley in her review for Spectator.
Shiva has found that her feminism and environmentalism are intimately linked, and her writing reflects that. "I think women are taking the lead today....I believe that women in the North are also intimately linked to the environment. Even in the most advanced societies, women have been left to care for children, homes, and health. It's wrong to say that women are unproductive, that they don't work," she told Judith Bizot. "It is often said that women who stay home do not work, but in fact they work harder than anyone else." In addition to Staying Alive, some of her other titles are evidence of her belief that women are nature-centered: Biopolitics: A Feminist and Ecological Reader on Biotechnology, and Ecofeminism.
Other topics of interest and concern for Shiva are the green revolution, biodiversity, genetic engineering, and the sustainability of water. Her book on the last-mentioned topic is titled Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit. In it she explores the relationship between sustainability and equal fair access. Shiva condemns the trend towards redefining water as a commodity and calls for a reckoning of the costs of modern development. Kerryn Higgs in the Women's Review of Books found value in the work. "This book makes an excellent starting point for anyone who wants to understand the forces driving water scarcity today and threatening its future supply."
For Shiva, contemporary society abuses its power. As she explained to Bizot: "Industrial society is the only one which believes that if you have the power to do something, you must do it. Indian philosophy is built on the concept that 'Yes, you might have the power, but it is important that you use your discrimination in the exercise of that power.'"
Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge is one of Shiva's more recent titles. "Biopiracy" refers to the corporate practice of stealing germ plasm from nature and Earth-based cultures and turning it into a commercial commodity. The book takes an historical view of imperialism, and explores the issues of biopatents and intellectual property rights. In his review for Canadian Book Review Annual, Patrick Colgan wrote, "Shiva makes an eloquent plea for diversity, local freedom, and reconnecting elements of intrinsically holistic web. While her opinions are occasionally questionable . . . her arguments merit serious attention and constitute a stiff challenge to the paradigms within which the West deals with nature." Helen Forsey of Canadian Forum wrote, "I found myself totally caught up in Shiva's analysis. Not content with merely exposing and denouncing the corporate outrage of biopiracy, she has pushed the political and philosophical envelopes on questions ranging from nonviolence to patriarchy, from the nature of knowledge and creativity to regional and ethnic separatism."
In addition to giving lectures, presenting papers, and writing, Shiva has established Navdanya, a movement in India calling for biodiversity conservation and farmers' rights.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Breton, Mary Joy, Women Pioneers for the Environment. Northeastern University Press (Boston, MA), 1998, pp. 210-218.
Notable Women Scientists. Gale (Detroit, MI), 1999, pp. 533-534.
Canadian Book Review Annual, 1997, Patrick Colgan, review of Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge, p. 436.
Canadian Forum, April, 1998, Helen Forsey, "Stealing the Stuff of Life," pp. 42-43.
Choice, October, 1997, R. Seelke, review of Biopiracy, p. 318.
New York Review of Books, June 21, 2001, Richard Lewontin, "Genes in the Food!" pp. 81-84.
Progressive, September, 1997, David Barsamian, interview with Vandana Shiva, pp. 36-39.
Signs, winter, 1997, Rhonda Roland Shearer, review of Ecofeminism, pp. 496-501.
Spectator, March 18, 1989, Alexandra Artley, "Bookman, Spare That Tree," pp. 23-25.
UNESCO Courier, December, 2001, "Vandana Shiva Talks to Judith Bizot," pp. 36-39.
Whole Earth Review, winter, 1995, Nathan Boone, review of Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development, p. 20.
Women's Review of Books, June, 2002, Kerryn Higgs, "Running on Empty," pp. 6-7.
International Institute for Sustainable Development Web site,http://www.iisd.ca/ (June 1, 1996), "Vandana Shiva."
Weston A. Price Foundation Web site,http://www.westonaprice.org/ (September 7, 2002), Sally Fallon, review of "Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply."
Zmag,http://www.zmag.org/bios/ (September 7, 2002), "Vandana Shiva.".*