Vandana Shiva: Bill Gates’ Book “How to Avoid Climate Disaster” is RUBBISH | Interview with Russell Brand | Article by Dr. Mercola

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | mercola.com


  • Big Tech is driving a new wave of colonization in the name of sustainability and “net-zero” carbon emissions
  • Tech billionaire Bill Gates, now the largest owner of farmland in the U.S., is at the root of the problem, pushing technology as the only mechanism to save the world, and in so doing denying real solutions
  • Shiva calls Gates’ book, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” which pushes for the elimination of age-old farming traditions and widespread adoption of fake meat, “rubbish”
  • According to Shiva, in order to force the world to accept this new food and agricultural system, new conditionalities are being created through net-zero “nature-based” solutions, which will only further destroy indigenous people and small farmers
  • Net-zero does not mean zero emissions, Shiva says; it means the rich polluters will continue to pollute and also grab the land and resources of those who have not polluted

Vandana Shiva is a brilliant mind calling for inhabitants of the Earth to unite against forces that are threatening to destroy the planet, in part via a new wave of colonization in the name of sustainability.

Tech billionaire Bill Gates, now the largest owner of farmland in the U.S.,1 is at the root of the problem, pushing technology as the only mechanism to save the world, and in so doing denying real solutions. This path is not accidental but carefully orchestrated to amass wealth, power and control, while making all but the elite subservient.

In my interview with Vandana Shiva, Ph.D., she spoke about Gates Ag One,2 which is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, where Monsanto is also headquartered.

“Gates Ag One is one [type of] agriculture for the whole world, organized top-down. He’s written about it. We have a whole section on it in our new report,3 ‘Gates to a Global Empire,'” she said. This includes digital farming, in which farmers are surveilled and mined for their agricultural data, which is then repackaged and sold back to them.

Bill Gates’ New Book Is ‘Rubbish’

In the above Under the Skin podcast with Russel Brand, Shiva takes aim at Gates’ book “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need,” which was released in February 20214 — calling it “rubbish:”5

“Just by chance I was reading the rubbish in Bill Gates’ new book. I normally don’t read rubbish but when they want to be rulers through rubbish, I read it. And it’s lovely because he says the greenhouse gases from factory farms are not because of factory farms and putting animals in prisons … it’s because the cows were the problem. They had four stomachs and the four stomachs make the methane.”

The reason cows in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) emit methane that smells is because they’re fed an unnatural diet of grains and placed in crowded quarters. It’s not a natural phenomenon. It’s a man-made one. “You walk behind a good cow on a grazing pasture, she’s not stinking,” Shiva said.6

The strong recommendation to replace beef with fake meat is also made in Gates’ book7 — another example of replacing a whole, natural food with something engineered, heavily processed, and fake. It all stems from an overreaching theme of arrogance and the desire for recolonization and a global empire.

The idea is to imply or create an environment in which, survival isn’t possible without technology. “It is a denial of the richness of agroecological pieces of knowledge and practices that are resurging around the world,” according to one of Navdanya’s reports.8

Shiva founded Navdanya, a nonprofit organization promoting biodiversity, organic farming, and seed saving, in 1994. She has also traveled the globe to warn other countries, including Africa, about plans to displace rural farmers so investors can turn the land into industrial farms to export the commodities.

Gates’ book talks about eliminating age-old farming traditions, which Shiva believes must be protected. Speaking with Brand, Shiva said:9

“He [Gates] has put the Indian plow that has existed for 10,000 years and says this primitive technology must go. I call this, as the future technology, a partnership between our bodies, the body of the Earth, and the body of the animals — realizing that we are not masters but we are there to serve through what Gandhi called bread labor, the labor of our body in the service of the Earth, in the service of community.

So we are for sure at an epic moment where everything wrong is being given a new life just at the time when the world was waking up … I think this is happening … because of arrogance … we’ve destroyed every international law, we’ve destroyed all democracy, we have locked people into fear … you know, the British empire had that arrogance.” 

Breaking the Sacred Relationship With Food

Industrialization started the process of severing humans’ age-old connections to their food and the land on which it’s grown. “Now, with digitalization,” Shiva said, “they would like to end it forever.”10 Tech giants, in an effort to drive home digital agriculture, are working to reduce life to software11 while advancing digital surveillance systems.

So far, Shiva’s organization has managed to prevent Gates from introducing a seed surveillance startup, where farmers would not be allowed to grow seeds unless approved by Gates’ surveillance system. The data mining, Shiva says, is needed because they don’t actually know agriculture.

This is why Gates finances the policing of farmers. He needs to mine their data to learn how farming is actually done. In countering the tech giants’ attempts to remove humans’ sacred relationship to food, Shiva states we can fight back by remembering and focusing on a few essential principles:12

  • Food is the currency of life
  • The highest duty is to grow and give food in abundance
  • The worst sin is to let someone go hungry in your neighborhood, not grow food, and, worse, sell bad food

“We’ve got to bring to the center of our everyday life the rituals that make life sacred,” Shiva said. “Our breath … breath is what connects us to the world … water connects us to the world. Food connects us to the world.”13

‘Net Zero’ Nonsense

Gates has been vocal that achieving “net-zero” emissions will be the “most amazing thing humanity has ever done.”14 By 2030, he’s pushing for drastic, fundamental changes, including widespread consumption of fake meat, adoption of next-generation nuclear energy, and growing a fungus as a new type of nutritional protein.15

The deadline Gates has given to reach net-zero emissions is 2050,16 likely because he wants to realize his global vision during his lifetime. But according to Shiva, in order to force the world to accept this new food and agricultural system, new conditionalities are being created through net-zero “nature-based” solutions. Navdanya’s report, “Earth Democracy: Connecting Rights of Mother Earth to Human Rights and Well-Being of All,” explains:17

“If ‘feeding the world’ through chemicals and dwarf varieties bred for chemicals was the false narrative created to impose the Green Revolution, the new false narrative is ‘sustainability’ and ‘saving the planet.’ In the new ‘net zero’ world, farmers will not be respected and rewarded as custodians of the land and caregivers, as Annadatas, the providers of our food and health.

They will not be paid a fair and just price for growing healthy food through ecological processes, which protect and regenerate the farming systems as a whole.

They will be paid for linear extraction of fragments of the ecological functions of the system, which can be tied to the new ‘net zero’ false climate solution based on a fake calculus, fake science allowing continued emissions while taking control over the land of indigenous people and small farmers.

‘Net Zero’ is a new strategy to get rid of small farmers in first through ‘digital farming’ and ‘farming without farmers’ and then through the burden of fake carbon accounting.

Carbon offsets and the new accounting trick of ‘net zero’ does not mean zero emissions. It means the rich polluters will continue to pollute and also grab the land and resources of those who have not polluted — indigenous people and small farmers — for carbon offsets.”

Gates already alluded to this double-standard in responding to those who criticized him for the hypocrisy of being a serious polluter himself, with a 66,000 square-foot mansion, a private jet, 242,000 acres of farmland, and investments in fossil fuel-dependent industries such as airlines, heavy machinery, and cars.18

This pollution is acceptable, Gates said, because, “I am offsetting my carbon emissions by buying clean aviation fuel, and funding carbon capture and funding low-cost housing projects to use electricity instead of natural gas.”19

Carbon Colonization and Carbon Slavery

Carbon colonization and carbon slavery are two terms being used to explain the reality behind carbon trade, which is being regarded by Big Tech as the next big opportunity, Shiva says.20 Carbon trade refers to the buying and selling of credits that allow a company to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide,21 but by buying up credits from nonpolluters, the industry can continue to pollute.

Technocracy is also a resource-based economic system, which is why the World Economic Forum talks about the creation of “sustainable digital finance,”22 a carbon-based economy and carbon credit trading.23 As explained on its website:24

“Digital finance refers to the integration of big data, artificial intelligence (AI), mobile platforms, blockchain and the Internet of things (IoT) in the provision of financial services. Sustainable finance refers to financial services integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria into the business or investment decisions.

When combined, sustainable digital finance can take advantage of emerging technologies to analyze data, power investment decisions and grow jobs in sectors supporting a transition to a low-carbon economy.”

As Navdanya’s report explains, however, this will ultimately further remove the rights of small farmers, who will be forced into a new form of data slavery:25

“A global ‘seal’ of approval based on fake science, fake economics of maximizing profits through extraction will create new data slavery for farmers. Instead of using their own heads and cocreating with the Earth, they will be forced to buy ‘Big Data.’ Instead of obeying the laws of Mother Earth, they will be forced to obey algorithms created by Big Tech and Big Ag.”

Focusing solely on carbon reductionism also misses the point that “forests, lands, ecosystems are so much more than the carbon stored in them,” and putting conditionalities on small farmers will only make environmental injustices worse. The report adds:26

“Conditionalities under any condition violate democratic principles and human rights. Farmers are guided by Earth care. The culture of Earth care needs to be respected and rewarded because it is centered on rights of the Earth and rights of all her children … Conditionalities put on the nonpolluters by the polluters who want to continue to pollute is unjust and ecologically, morally and ethically bankrupt.”

‘The Universe Is Divine’

According to the ancient Vedas, the universe is divine, and everything therein — even the smallest grass — is an expression of the divine. “When I go to villages,” Shiva told Brand, “women will do sacred ceremonies with indigenous seed. They will never use a hybrid seed for a sacred ceremony … It’s quite amazing. No one told them, but they have that understanding of integrity and what the sacred means. It means to treat without violation.”27

The universe exists for the well-being of all, but her gifts must be enjoyed without greed, Shiva explained. Taking more than your share is theft, and will only backfire. The solution to true sustainability doesn’t lie with new technology but is relying on the natural “technology” that is the universe:28

“It is by learning from the Earth that we can regenerate the Earth. We have to become students of Mother Earth, not try and dominate her. When we practice agriculture in unison with the Earth’s ecological processes aligned with the ecological laws of nature and the Earth, we evolve an agriculture of care for the land, for the soil. We participate in the process of regenerating the seed and biodiversity, soil and water.”

Growing Power Shift: Power To The People

By Neenah Payne | Natural Blaze

Most people recognize now that America and the rest of the world are in deep trouble — in terms of our economy, health, politics, the environment, endless wars, etc. Is there a vision anywhere on the planet that can unite the world in envisioning and creating a better future for humanity now?

When I was in college, I knew something major was left out of the history I was taught. However, it was only when I joined the protest against the Columbus Quincentennial in 1992 and met Native Americans that I figured out what was missing — the other side of the story! The 500 Native Nations are like Big Pink Elephants that America does its best to ignore although many of our cities, states, and rivers carry Native Americans’ names.

People fled Europe for America, in part, to escape political, religious, and economic tyranny. They learned freedom here. Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin studied with the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Iroquois) whose system of government-inspired our own and the United Nations. Cornell University held a conference in 1987 on the link between the Iroquois Confederacy and the U.S. Constitution. The next year, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution recognizing the influence of the Iroquois League on the formation of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

When the European colonists first came to America, they were known by their country of origin — Dutch, British, French, Spanish, etc. However, when the US Founding Fathers declared independence from Britain in 1776, they adopted the name “American” which until then referred only to the original inhabitants of this hemisphere — to “Indians”. So, in effect, we all became Indians!

Indian Givers: How Native Americans Transformed the World by Jack Weatherford shows that many of our foods and medicines are gifts of Native America. Amazon says:

“After 500 years, the world’s huge debt to the wisdom of the Indians of the Americas has finally been explored in all its vivid drama by anthropologist Jack Weatherford. He traces the crucial contributions made by the Indians to our federal system of government, our democratic institutions, modern medicine, agriculture, architecture, and ecology, and in this astonishing, ground-breaking book takes a giant step toward recovering a true American history.”

Dr. Vandana Shiva: Oneness Vs The 1%

However, in spite of all, I learned from lectures by the legendary Haudenosaunee professors like Chief Oren Lyons, I could not see how the wisdom of Native American cultures could be “translated” to help rescue America and the world. When Chief Lyons reported to the United Nations the findings of the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders on Human Survival in 2010, he summarized their conclusions with four words: “Values Change For Survival”. However, that directive did not spell out which values to change or how.

Westerners are flocking to the Amazon to drink ayahuasca with shamans now to find their way back to our shamanic roots from which Christianity severed the West. However, while those experiences often provide deep personal insight, they also don’t provide a clear guide on how to rescue the West from its increasingly destructive path economically, politically, or environmentally.

Fortunately, Dr. Vandana Shiva has articulated a very clear alternative vision and comprehensive guide in her 2020 book Oneness vs. the 1%: Shattering Illusions, Seeding Freedom. It explains how the West can get back on track now just by a change of worldview.

In the interview, We Can Do This Podcast: Healing Through Gardening with Dr. Vandana Shiva, Dr. Shiva says we are witnessing the collapse of the unsustainable Western paradigm now. She quotes Thomas Kuhn as saying, “Changes of paradigms never happen because you convince holders of old paradigms to give them up. Paradigms never get given up. They just become irrelevant”. She explains that we don’t have to try to change anyone else or the system. We just need to change ourselves. Dr. Shiva explains that the dying Western paradigm is becoming more tyrannical now in an attempt to maintain control as it is losing power.

When most people think of power, they think in terms of military might or economic domination. However, as the legendary British author David Icke explains, real power is the narrative that controls people’s minds (and thus a civilization). People often don’t realize that entire civilizations are built on Foundational Stories. The story of the West for several hundred years has been “Greed is good” as Gordon Gecko (played by Michael Douglas) told us in the 2010 film Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. That philosophy is based on the insatiable demand for “more” which is celebrated each year by the Forbes List of Billionaires but is unsustainable on a finite planet.

We Change Ourselves To Change The World

Are Victory Gardens Returning Now? features several people and families who have adopted Mahatma Gandhi’s motto “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

The article links to the fascinating interview above with Dr. Vandana Shiva and Rishi Kumar, an urban farmer in Los Angeles. After Rishi studied at Dr. Shiva’s Navdanya Farm in India for seven months, he quit his computer engineering job. He and his mother Manju converted their suburban tract home in Diamond Bar, California in 2009 into The Growing Home — shown in the film Urban Fruit.

The Growing Home began as a home garden with the idea that the way to change the world is to start in your own life. Rishi and Manju first created a small garden for vegetables, fruits, and herbs. In 2011, The Growing Home opened as an educational demonstration site. The Growing Home, on 5,000 sq. ft. of arable land, produces 1,500 lbs. of food a year. It is the largest permaculturally-designed suburban farm, with 50 exotic fruit trees, ponds, wetlands, chickens, rabbits, and beehives.

With a CSA, the Kumars now feed 15 families. They created The Growing Club whose YouTube Channel has over 70 videos and has inspired a host of like-minded projects. The Growing Club now plans to provide organic produce for health food stores across the nation.

The article also links to the video interview Lynette Zang: Why You Must Get Out of the System; The Fed’s Master Plan seen below. Zang explains that the US financial system collapsed in 2008 and has been on life support since then. Zang lists her top eight priorities for a reasonable standard of living as shelter, food, water, energy, security, barter ability (silver), wealth preservation (gold), and community.

Zang stresses that it is important to learn to garden now! In 2010, she sold her condo and moved to a home in central Phoenix. Although she had never been a gardener, she l converted her half-acre property into a food-producing urban farm where she raises chickens, ducks, quail, tilapia, and fresh-water shrimp! Zang has a wide variety of vegetables in her Food Forest including peaches, plums, almonds, and walnuts. She stresses the importance of community. Zang donates food to a nearby school for homeless kids and set up a program so the kids are now growing their own food.

Urban Homestead: Path To Freedom

The article also features the remarkable Dervaes family that has worked since the mid-1980s to transform their ordinary city lot in Pasadena, California, into a thriving organic garden that supplies them and their “citified” backyard farm animals with food year-round. The Dervaes transformed their home in the midst of densely urban downtown Pasadena into an urban homestead where they harvest three tons of organic food annually from their 1/10 acre garden while incorporating back-to-basics practices, solar energy, and biodiesel.

These modern-day homesteading pioneers also run a successful business selling fresh produce to local restaurants and the community. Not only are they successful at growing their own food, but have also grown a community. Through their website, homestead events, and countless skill-share workshops, they are inspiring folks to take matters into their own hands and to be the change they wish to see.

The Homegrown Revolution film was a collaborative family project by Jules, Anais, Justin, and Jordanne with each member taking part in the filming, editing, and structure of the film. The original version of the Homegrown Revolution film was made in three days for a lecture Jules Dervaes gave at the University of California Los Angeles in October 2007 on Slow Food. It received a wildly enthusiastic response from the students, attracted an avid following on YouTube, and got the attention of several local and worldwide film festivals. Since their first press article in 2002, the Urban Homestead project has been featured on thousands of blogs, dozens of  TV appearances  (Sundance, CBS News, ABC Nightline, Oprah, and many more), and hundreds of articles in LA Times,  NY Times, Times of India,  Germany Faz – to name a few.

Jules Dervaes, who founded The Urban Homestead with his three kids, said, “In our society, growing food yourself has become the most radical of acts. It is truly the only effective protest, one that can and will overturn the corporate powers that be. By the process of directly working in harmony with nature, we do the one thing most essential to change the world — we change ourselves!”

In Power of One — Anais Dervaes, Anais says 70 families subscribe to their Community Service Agriculture (CSA) program in which they partner with two other farms. The Dervaes give workshops to adults and kids, teach at schools, and give tours of the garden. Anais points out that there’s a growing trend now as more people are gardening to grow their own food. She recommends that people start small by just growing an herb or two. Anais points out “Small steps have a big impact”.

The Million Gardens Movement

EARNING $2K in ONE WEEK Growing Veggies on his FRONT YARD! shows that Jim Kovaleski’s garden is on a half-acre in the front yards of his and his mother’s homes In Florida. His CSA Buyers Club is full now with 50 people.  Kovaleski points out how hard it is to get seeds now. He says that the fact that he makes $2,000 a week from his garden is an indication that other people can help feed their communities by growing gardens on small plots. Kovaleski also gardens half the year at his home in Maine.

Growing Return To The Garden of Eden shows that Frank Giustra of Modern Farmer and Kimbal Musk of Big Green created The Million Gardens Movement, a charitable project dedicated to mobilizing a million people to grow their own food. Whether it’s in a community garden, or in a window box, it’s small collective acts that sow the biggest seeds of change. When you donate $20, the Million Gardens Movement provides two families with a beginner-friendly garden kit. The site points out that 9.3 million Americans started gardening in 2020.

Buy a “Grow A Garden” T-Shirt to help support The Million Gardens Movement and to spark an urban gardens revolution in your neighborhood! The T-shirts come in navy, red, royal blue, forest green, fuchsia, and teal.

Urban Gardens: The Greatest Revolution

Wikipedia says:

“Vandana Shiva is an Indian scholarenvironmental activistfood sovereignty advocate, Eco-feminist, and anti-globalization author. Based in Delhi, Shiva has written more than 20 books. She is often referred to as “Gandhi of grain” for her activism associated with the anti-GMO movement.

Shiva is one of the leaders and board members of the International Forum on Globalization (with Jerry ManderRalph Nader, and Jeremy Rifkin), and a figure of the anti-globalization movement. She has argued in favor of many traditional practices….

In 1982, she founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology. This led to the creation of Navdanya in 1991, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seed, the promotion of organic farming, and fair trade. Navdanya, which translates to “Nine Seeds” or “New Gift”, is an initiative of the RFSTE to educate farmers on the benefits of maintaining diverse and individualized crops rather than accepting offers from monoculture food producers. The initiative established over 40 seed banks across India to provide a regional opportunity for diverse agriculture.”

“Shiva and her team at the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology challenged the biopiracy of neem, basmati, and wheat….Her first book, Staying Alive (1988), helped change perceptions of third-world women. In 1990, she wrote a report for the FAO on Women and Agriculture titled “Most Farmers in India are Women”. She founded the gender unit at the International Centre for Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu and was a founding board member of the Women’s Environment & Development Organization (WEDO).”

She aligns the destruction of natural biodiversity with the dismantling of traditional communities—those who ‘understand the language of nature. David Wright wrote in a review of the book that to Shiva, “the Village becomes a symbol, almost a metaphor for ‘the local’ in all nations”….Shiva has also served as an advisor to governments in India and abroad as well as non-governmental organizations. She is a councilor of the World Future Council.”

Universal Declaration of The Rights of Mother Earth

The World Economic Forum has proposed The Great Reset as the “new normal” in which by 2030,  we will all be happy owning NOTHING and will rent everything. So, the 1% will own everything — an unsustainable and undemocratic plan. Gates’ Plan To Control World’s Seeds, Agriculture, Food shows that the West is on the wrong path. Our survival now depends on returning to a more holistic vision in greater harmony with the Earth.

In Making Peace with the Earth and Ending Our Separation from It — Vandana Shiva, Dr. Shiva recounts the introduction of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth introduced Evo Morales, former president of Bolivia and the hemisphere’s first Native American president.  The Declaration was introduced at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Bolivia in 2010 with more than 35,000 people from over 100 countries. It has been presented to the UN General Assembly and over 800,000 people have signed for the UN to adopt the declaration. See the video and sign the petitionEcuador included Rights of Nature in its constitution in 2008.

THE SAMI PARLIAMENT ENDORSES THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF MOTHER EARTH. Victor Hugo: “There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”

Plant A Garden: Grow A Community

Dr. Shiva says “Urban Gardens are the greatest revolution!” She urges everyone to save seeds because seeds may become difficult to get — especially heirloom seeds which, unlike hybrid seeds, grow again.

See Dr. Shiva on my Urban Gardens Revolution site. Even people who have no land can grow sprouts and/or use an AeroGarden.

Plant a Seed – Miss Jamie Music Video

The Seeds of Vandana Shiva

The filmmakers of “The Seeds of Vandana Shiva” are allowing for a FREE special stream through April 8, 2021. CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT getting the film out into the world to build awareness around industrial agriculture versus regenerative farming and food.

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | mercola.com


  • Vandana Shiva, Ph.D., is a physicist and activist who works tirelessly to defend the environment and protect biodiversity from industrial agriculture, GMOs, and patented seeds
  • Shiva’s involvement in the contemporary ecology movement began with the Chipko movement in 1973, in which Himalayan villagers, primarily women, fought back against loggers in the best way they could, by physically embracing the trees
  • Shiva went on to found the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, which she called the Institute for “Counter Expertise” because its goal was to counter the “expertise” of the destroyers and “bring to the front the knowledge of those who were defending the Earth”
  • She also exposed the dark side of the Green Revolution and founded Navdanya, a nonprofit organization promoting biodiversity, organic farming, and seed saving
  • There are now at least 127 seed banks in India, which will keep growing, along with a network of farmers and seed savers who have been trained in organic farming

Vandana Shiva, Ph.D., is a physicist and activist who works tirelessly to defend the environment and protect biodiversity from multinational corporations. Her life’s work has culminated in the creation of seed banks that may one day save future generations’ food sovereignty, but how she got there is a fascinating story, chronicled in the documentary “The Seeds of Vandana Shiva.”

Shiva, “a brilliant scientist” who became “Monsanto’s worst nightmare and a rock star of the international organic food movement, “1 grew up in a Himalayan forest, where her father, a forest conservator, carried out inspections. She would travel up to 45 miles a day with her father as a young girl, and as they traversed the forest he taught her everything about the trees, plants, and herbs therein.

“We had a classroom out in the forest,” Shiva said, but her formal studies were done in a convent which, at that time, didn’t regard science as a subject fit for girls. Shiva wanted to study physics, though, and she was especially intrigued by Einstein and his connections of intuition with science. “Everyone has their favorite person that they want to be,” she said. “Einstein was the shaper of the dream of my life.”

A Search for Knowledge as a Whole

Shiva got a scholarship to attend Chandigarh University in Punjab, India, and from there she went on to the Bhabha National Atomic Research Center in Mumbai, India, for training in atomic energy. Later, her sister, a medical doctor, asked her about the health and environmental effects of nuclear technology and radiation.

As Shiva grasped the devastation nuclear energy had caused, she said, “I realized that a science that only teaches you how to modify nature without the understanding of what that modification does to the larger world is not a complete science.”

She gave up her idea of being a nuclear physicist and instead went looking for knowledge as a whole. She studied on her own, finding quantum theory, and while pursuing a Ph.D. in Canada, went to visit some of her favorite spots, including an oak forest she held close to her heart.

When she arrived, the forest had been cut down to make room for apple orchards, changing the entire microclimate in the area. The loss of something that she felt was a part of her impacted her deeply and set the stage for her environmental activism.

The Tree Hugging Movement Is Born

Shiva states that her involvement in the contemporary ecology movement began with the Chipko movement in 1973.2 The timber mafia were cutting down trees throughout the Indian Himalayas, taking away this precious resource from the rural villagers who depended on the forest for subsistence.

The government denied villagers access to the land and the lumber, while the logging companies cleared out forests, leading to problems with erosion, depleted water resources, and flooding.

The villagers, primarily women, fought back in the best way they could, by physically embracing the trees to stop the loggers. Chipko is a Hindi word that means “to hug” or “to cling to, “3, and the movement spread, creating what became widely known as the tree-hugging movement.

The women of Chipko taught Shiva how much women who hadn’t been to school knew about the interconnectedness of nature, but it took a major flood to make the government realize that what the women were saying was right. The revenue that came in from the forest logging was little compared to what they had to pay for flood relief.

In 1981, the government listened to the women and ordered a ban on logging in the high-altitude Himalayas, while tree-hugging became a worldwide practice of ecological activism.

1982: The Water Wars

The Ministry of Environment invited Shiva to conduct a study on the impact of limestone mining in the Mussoorie hills. There were “scars all along the mountains,” and she went straight to the women in the community and asked what the key issue was. It was water. The rainfall in limestone creates giant caves and cavities, which act as nature’s aquifers.

Up in those mountains, Shiva said, the mining was robbing the valley of its water source — billions of dollars worth of water resources — while the miners’ wastes were destroying stream flows, villages were being washed away and workers were being exploited.

When word of Shiva’s study got out, both her father and infant son were threatened, but she continued on with her research, following her father’s advice that “as long as you follow your conscience you have nothing to fear.” Ultimately, Shiva’s calculations showed that the limestone left in the mountain contributed more to the economy than the extraction of limestone from the mountain.

Just as in the case of the forest in the Himalayas, in which the government was forced to recognize that the forest left standing contributed more than their conversion into the timber. Shiva’s study was the basis of a Supreme Court ruling that led to the mining being discontinued.4

The Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology

Shiva went on to found the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology, which she called the Institute for “Counter Expertise.” The goal was to counter the “expertise” of the destroyers and “bring to the front the knowledge of those who were defending the Earth and their lives.”

Shiva was able to carry out independent research because she didn’t rely on funding from outside sources. “You can have a billion-dollar grant and hire researchers to do the work, who don’t know about the issue,” she said, or you can have just a few thousand dollars and work with communities, where the people become the researchers. This is important, Shiva noted, as “When money is your master, then your conscience is no more your guide.”

During this time, she also challenged the standing law in India, which stated that the father would automatically become the natural guardian of the children in cases of divorce. She went directly to the Supreme Court and became the first case in which the court decided the mother should get custody of the child, setting precedent for all of India.

In 1985, she was invited to Nairobi for a U.N. conference on women, where she spoke about women and the environment, including the Chipko movement, stating that it was the first time the link was made between environmental degradation and its impact on women. In 1988, her book “Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development” was published, marking the beginning of eco-feminism. Shiva went on to write more than 20 books.

The Violence of the Green Revolution

In 1984, Shiva was working for United Nations University on conflicts over resources when an eruption of extremist violence broke out in Punjab. Religion was blamed for the unrest, but it was more likely a battle over resources. That same year, a gas leak from a pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, had devastating consequences, killing 3,000 people immediately and 30,000 more in the aftermath, with many still suffering health effects to this day.

“My head is in a spin,” Shiva said of her mindset at the time. “That’s when I realized Punjab is the home of the Green Revolution.” The Green Revolution is the name given to the introduction of chemical agriculture to the developing world, which was promised to bring more food, more prosperity, and more peace.

The movement even earned a Nobel Peace Prize but, Shiva said, “death ensued.” It didn’t add up. “You’re supposed to give a Nobel Peace Prize for peace, but this is war,” she said. When she turned her research efforts toward the Green Revolution, she found that, as a result of this new chemical-based agriculture, soils and rivers were drying and desertification was taking place, while 25% of small farmers were dispossessed.

“This was an agrarian crisis,” Shiva said, “not a religious conflict.” She uncovered that many of the people being killed were those in positions of bureaucratic power, “controlling the architecture that allowed the Green Revolution to happen.”

This led Shiva to write another book, “The Violence of the Green Revolution.” Once she understood that the promises of the Green Revolution were a lie, she moved her focus to truly sustainable agriculture.

Putting Patents on Life

In 1987, Shiva was invited to a biotechnology meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, which was attended by some independent scientists along with U.N. officials and the agrochemical lobby, which would soon turn into the biotech lobby.

The focus was on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that would allow them to patent seeds, securing the GMO seeds’ future growth and the ability to collect royalties from farmers.5 An international treaty was discussed to move GMOs and patented seeds globally. Shiva told IDR:6

“This is why the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), World Trade Organisation (WTO), General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), and others came into the picture. What was most horrifying was their ambition to limit this to a total of just five companies that would control food and health globally. Today, we have four — I call them the poison cartel.”

While the spin was to position GMOs as essential to feeding the world, Shiva said, “the reality was that they were the door to owning life on Earth.” The patented seeds also necessitated monocultures, so the same seeds could be sold everywhere, and people could be replaced with herbicides and machines. It ushered in industrialized farming while eliminating small farms.

On the flight home from Switzerland, she said, she began thinking about how to deal with this, and by the time she got off the flight, “A seed was speaking to me … Farmers with their own seed, fighting for their seed freedom, are the biggest force in the world against seed monopoly.”

Navdanya: The Right to Save Seeds

In 1994, Shiva founded Navdanya, a nonprofit organization promoting biodiversity, organic farming, and seed saving. She traveled to villages where women would give her seeds, and she started saving them and encouraging farmers to do the same. A training and research farm was created in order to have a seed bank where all the seeds were collected and to have research on how biodiversity and native seeds can feed the world.

But saving seeds and creating seed banks was only one aspect. The other was to create awareness, including translating the information into different languages to tell the world about the importance of saving seeds and protecting crops. There are now at least 127 seed banks in India, which will keep growing, along with a network of farmers and seed savers who have been trained in organic farming.

Shiva has also traveled the globe to warn other countries, including those in Africa, about plans to displace rural farmers so investors can turn the land into industrial farms to export the commodities. She said:

“A handful of multinational corporations … is driving species extinction. The poisons they have deployed are pushing the disappearance of bees, the disappearance of pollinators, the disappearance of insects, the disappearance of biodiversity.

Industrial agriculture is not only destroying biodiversity, it is destroying the soil and releasing large amounts of greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere … This is not a food system. It is not an ecological system. It is a recipe for destruction of the planet’s health and the destruction of our health.”

Regenerative agriculture and animal husbandry are the next and higher stage of organic food and farming. They’re not only free from toxic pesticides, GMOs, chemical fertilizers, and concentrated animal feeding operations, but are also regenerative in terms of the health of the soil, the environment, the animals, and rural farmers. As Shiva put it, “Regenerative agriculture provides answers to the soil crisis, the food crisis, the climate crisis, and the crisis of democracy.”7

In short, regenerative agriculture practices aim to rebuild soil health, restore ecosystems and promote human health through the growing of nutrient-dense food, while providing farmers with economic and financial stability. Shiva is confident this can be done, as long as humans embrace their interconnectedness while acting on an individual level to be agents of change:

“Food can be grown in abundant, ecologically sustainable and just ways. But to do this we need a shift in our perception. We need a change in paradigm. We are part of nature. We must participate in her processes. We have to understand our interconnectedness, our oneness on this Earth. But this is not how Big Food and Big Agriculture works.”

Camilla Becket and Jim Becket

About the Directors

I believe in bringing quality to my readers, which is why I wanted to share some information about the Directors, Camilla Becket and Jim Becket, from “The Seeds of Vandana Shiva.”

Here is a little more about them and what went into making this film. Thank you Camilla and Jim for sharing with us.

Camilla grew up in apartheid South Africa and was an activist in the anti-apartheid movement. She managed outreach for independent publishers who originated works by anti-apartheid thinkers and artists, including Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. She launched Becket Films with Jim in 2005 with a mission to focus on international environmental issues, social justice, and health.

Camilla has co-produced several Becket Films projects, including films for the Religion, Science, and Environment series about besieged water bodies around the world and what can be done to restore them.

Jim brings a varied career to his filmmaking: Human rights lawyer, journalist, and author. As Director of Public Information for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, Jim made several films about refugee problems around the world. Moving to Los Angeles, he worked as a screenwriter, producer, and director of TV and narrative movies.

Since then he has co-produced several documentaries on contemporary environmental issues, including The Green Patriarch, The Amazon: The End of Infinity, The Arctic: The Consequences of Human Folly, and El Misterio del Capital de Los Indigenas Amazonicos. Jim’s awards include festival Best Film awards, two Humanities awards, and a George Foster Peabody award.

What was your inspiration for making this film?

We were first introduced to Vandana Shiva at a series of environmental conferences almost twenty years ago. And like most people on their first meeting with her, realized immediately that we were in the presence of an eco-activist rock star.

The more time we spent with her, and learned about her life experiences, the more we, as filmmakers, were inspired to tell her story.

Her life has embodied the notion that “one person can make a difference”, and so finally we asked if we could try to capture her journey on film. She agreed. The Seeds of Vandana Shiva is the result.

Why seeds? After learning that the real goal of developing GMOs was for patents to monopolize the world’s seed supply, Vandana began speaking out about the ecological and social costs of industrial agriculture and building the movement to save native seeds.

And through her evolution as an activist against the global Goliaths of food and farming, we also wanted to shine a light on where we are today — industrial food production accounts for up to 40% of carbon emissions, while pesticides destroy soils, water systems, and biodiversity, and harm human health. Contrary to the spin that industrial food is essential to feeding the world, today more than two billion people face food insecurity across the globe.

The good news is that The Seeds of Vandana Shiva also shows how we can tip the scales, each in our own way: Vandana speaks for an ecologically regenerative vision for food and farming which we can all engage in — millions already do. But we need millions more for real change to occur.

In the end, our hope is that Vandana’s extraordinary story will act as a catalyst for more people to understand the issues at stake, and to deeply inspire them to be part of the change.

What was your favorite part of making the film?

There were many rewards to making The Seeds of Vandana Shiva, but the best part was making the trips to Dr. Shiva’s organic farm, Navdanya, in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Not only is Navdanya the center of Dr. Shiva’s research and seed saving work, but it is also an education center where people travel from all over India and elsewhere in the world to learn about seed saving and ecological food systems.

It is where we found Dr. Shiva at her most relaxed and willing to share her experiences with us. We also loved how many volunteers stepped up to offer time and expertise during production. It was so gratifying to realize how many people really wanted this film to be made!

Now we are enjoying the process of sharing The Seeds of Vandana Shiva with the world, in the hope that it will inspire more people to advocate for regenerative, organic, and fair-traded food.

Where do the proceeds to your film go?

We financed filming and production with foundation grants, crowd-funders, and a lot of sweat equity. Now we’re fundraising for an outreach and impact campaign, for more people to be able to see this film.

There is no time to lose. Our climate, our environment, our health, and our democracies are in crisis.

Sharing Dr. Shiva’s experience and wisdom more widely with the world could not be more timely or urgent. Why? Because the ecological and social crises intersect in agriculture and the way we grow food.

The good news is that no one explains the issues more clearly or what we can do about them other than Vandana Shiva.

Also, documentaries — that both inform and entertain — are proven to be a powerful means to introduce audiences to issues in a way that can move them to advocate for much-needed change.

It’s happened before and it can happen again, but we can’t do it alone. We need everyone who cares about the climate, the environment, and the wellbeing of human communities to support our outreach, in whichever way that they can.

All income raised will be for translations, communications, education, and strategy materials, and to facilitate community screenings around the world. Please support The Seeds of Vandana Shiva impact campaign here!

Seeds of Vandana Shiva

Oneness Versus the 1%

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | mercola.com


  • In “Oneness Vs. the 1%: Shattering Illusions, Seeding Freedom,” Vandana Shiva, Ph.D., argues that the ultra-wealthy elite are responsible for a majority of the environmental, financial, and health crises currently facing us
  • Bill Gates’ wealth and “philanthropic” efforts, for example, have allowed him to gain unprecedented influence over agriculture and global health policies that threaten food security and human health
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed a massive transfer of wealth to the rich
  • While global lockdowns have decimated small businesses and left many to struggle financially, wealthy globalists have amassed immense profits, and lockdowns have prevented public mobilization against tech and retail giants
  • To facilitate the transfer of wealth, the elite lobby for the elimination of labor and environmental laws, as well as human and farmer’s rights

In this interview, social justice and anti-GMO advocate Vandana Shiva, Ph.D., discusses her book, “Oneness Vs. the 1%: Shattering Illusions, Seeding Freedom,” which she co-wrote with her son, in which she argues that the ultra-wealthy elite is responsible for a majority of the environmental, financial and health crises currently facing us.

In reality, it’s really about the 0.001% — the small number of billionaires and centibillionaires who have become ultra-rich over the past 30 years or so. Most of them didn’t exist before globalization. The 1% is just a useful metaphor for the ruling elite that the publisher thought would be easier to communicate.

One of the key players is, no surprise, Bill Gates, whose wealth and “philanthropic” efforts have garnered him unprecedented influence over agriculture and global health policies that threaten food security and human health.

“I was in Paris for the climate summit, and I’ve been doing this UN Summit since the Earth summit in ’92. I’ve been doing the Biodiversity Convention, drafting of clauses, including Article 19.1, which basically required biosafety and assessment of GMOs. So, I was very surprised that, for the first time, the billionaires were on the stage with the heads of state,” she says.

The Ongoing Transfer of Wealth

One of the “solutions” to climate change offered by this billionaire club was geoengineering, which in reality is no solution at all. As noted by Shiva, if the climate is already changing for the worse, engineering temperatures, deflecting sunlight, dumping iron fillings on the ocean and chemicals in the sky, and creating artificial volcanoes, you’re simply creating additional problems without solving the original one.

At the end of the August 2020 update of the book, she also discusses COVID-19, and how this engineered pandemic has catalyzed the transfer of wealth to the rich. While global lockdowns have decimated small businesses and left many to struggle financially, the rich have amassed fantastic profits.

“The 2008 crisis was very clearly about deregulation of the financial economy,” she says. “It was about collateral, it was about taking securities, bundling up risk, and then the system totally collapsed because it was really trading in fictions. But I’ve been working on the economy, because I started to work on the seed in 1987.

Companies wanted to own and patent life. That’s how my journey on GMO started. But they also wanted to change the trade laws. They wanted to own seed as their creation. They wanted an intellectual property treaty in the GATT. I first heard this in a 1987 [United Nations] meeting.

That’s when I decided: a) I would save seeds, b) I would keep track of the GATT and the World Trade Organization (WTO). The antiglobalization movement grew out of that, and the International Forum on Globalization. We shut down WTO in Seattle, which shows the power of the people. We will not allow this lie of seed being Monsanto’s invention.

I worked with our [Indian] parliament, I worked with our government to write laws. Article 3G [says] seeds are not inventions. This is what has prevented Monsanto from ripping off Indian farmers even more than they did. They’ve been taken to court now for the illegal collection of technology fees …

Basically, what we have today is this transfer of wealth. Monsanto’s behavior is also the big tech’s behavior. Do they produce anything? No. They only collect rents on digital platforms. They’re rent collectors …

I saw the seed issue with Monsanto. I said, ‘Here they are collecting rents from seed, which they didn’t make. Then we won’t let them own it.’ In effect, whether it’s Amazon or Gates, they’re basically rent collectors. What they’ve done with this pandemic is literally create a closed economy, which depends on them and their rent collection.”

The eight-minute video below provides a sobering summary of the massive wealth transfer that has occurred in 2020 thanks to pandemic lockdowns, during which small businesses were forced to close while giant multinational companies were allowed to stay open and thereby monopolize the market. The end result is the largest transfer of wealth in modern history.

The End of Democracy

Shiva goes on to review how India mobilized against Walmart’s encroachment, which threatened to destroy local businesses. The COVID-19 lockdowns, however, have prevented the same kind of mobilization against the tech and retail giants.

As local businesses around the world have had to close their doors for months on end, Amazon.com’s power has exploded. Amazon is even encroaching on grocery suppliers.

“I was just reading a paper, that the super wealthy in the U.S. have transferred $50 trillion to themselves [over the past 30 years; the globalization period] … While they rob you of your job, they’re still extracting [money from] you for that forced software program on digital payments, for software programs on … digital education.

Poor Indian children, who could afford a universal education, now cannot afford education because their parents have no smartphones. So, we are seeing an engineered imposition of an economy. A healthy economy grows as an evolution with choices, with justice, with equity …

True economies would say, ‘Here is what I bring. If my digital [currency is] better than your cash, choose it. Is my forced vaccination better than your immunity? Make your choice.’ The minute choice is removed from people’s life, democracies stop. When the choice is removed from our conditions of being, our conditions of living, then life is threatened …

What is globalization but deregulation of commerce? It is knocking down every law that was put in place by democratic societies for the protection of the environment, the protection of health, the right to education, the rights of workers. Now that’s what’s being targeted.”

In India, they recently eliminated all labor laws, and they’re trying to remove the Farmers’ Rights Act, as well as environmental laws. This is what allows for the transfer of wealth to happen, Shiva says.

The End Game

As explained by Shiva, all of these companies are essentially rent collectors. Facebook turns our minds into a raw material that is then capitalized upon. “Gates is particularly vicious because, through the Gates Foundation, he pretends to be doing philanthropy,” she says.

But with every philanthropic endeavor, he carves out new colonies from which he can collect new rents and make new investments. “That’s why no matter how much he gives, he gets richer and richer,” Shiva says. “A genuine giver would get poorer.”

In her book, she explains how, without Gates, there would be no commercial gene-editing, for example, which is the new GMO. He created a company called Editas Medicine Inc. to facilitate the patenting of these new climate-resilient plants, with which they aim to create new medicines. “He will do biofortification to solve the nutrition problem. He is particularly vicious,” she says. As for what the ultimate goal might be, Shiva says:

“The first thing is, of course, they want to use their money-making tools to make more money. So, it is a dictatorship of the technology balance. That’s why people should be paying a lot more attention to the violent imposition of digitalization.

A lot of my friends, who never studied the roots of these violence systems, who never understood that agrichemicals came from Hitler’s concentration camps and that the agrichemical industry is the poison cartel responsible for the genocide, they’re continuing that genocide.

Technologies as tools of domination and exploitation are not neutral. A lot of progressive think, ‘More digitalization, more democracy.’ How can a surveillance economy be an enlargement of your freedom? You have to have the systems in place, the regulations in place, the choices in place to be able to make these technologies a servant and not your master.”

The Global Merger

They also want to merge all of these various industries together — agriculture, technology, and finance. Shiva recounts how, in 2016, India banned all cash and made digital transactions compulsory. In short order, “90% of poor people lost their savings, their incomes,” she says, as small, local economies evaporated. Meanwhile, the wealthy elites also control the world’s economy via their asset funds.

“Corporations don’t own themselves anymore. Even the corporations are owned by the billionaires, the same BlackRocks, the same Vanguards control every big company, Coca-Cola to McDonald’s to Boeing. Look at anything in the world, it’s the billionaire money and their asset management funds.

Last year, BlackRock increased its wealth from $1 trillion to $7 trillion, which means the billionaires increased their wealth. During the lockdown, they invaded even more deeply into the Amazon and became richer.

So, these investment asset management funds are the billionaires’ wealth, and it is increasing. That is merging with IT and information technology and the tech barons, and it’s merging with biotechnology and the chemical industry.

That’s why they’re talking about digitalization of agriculture — farming without farmers and, worse, food without food. One of the big pushes of Gates and Silicon Valley is into fake food.”

As noted by Shiva, while Big Biotech claims GMOs will save your health and protect the planet, these pesticide-laden plants are in fact doing the complete opposite.

We Are the Throwaways

There’s also the issue of social justice. She cites Gandhi, who said that if you’re in doubt about what the right thing to do is, “bring the face of the most vulnerable person to your mind’s eye and do what is good for them.” If you think it will harm them more, don’t do it.

“They deliberately want to get rid of large parts of humanity,” Shiva says. “First through hunger, then through sickness. They want a digital economy, they want a sick economy. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be spending all your time on Big Pharma; you’d spend your time making sure that the smaller farmer doesn’t get destroyed …

On a planetary scale, we are seeing these irresponsible, greedy, indifferent, callous men bring the world, and humanity, to a brink. That’s why we have to act and find creative ways …

All of these tech barons who have taken over the economy, hiding behind the virus, are all jumping into life sciences. Google has a new life sciences division. This will be the final defeat of Mother Nature, At a time [when] the world is waking up to the rules of nature and healthy bodies, healthy ecosystems, an eco-healthy planet, they’re still carrying on the Colonial franchise of defeating Mother Nature.”

The Great Economic Reset

None of these things is coming out of the left field. They’ve been carefully planned for many decades. We now see clear evidence that a “great economic reset” is in the works, which will transition everything over to digital currencies.

As noted by Shiva, the industrial revolution shifted our mindset to one where we thought of nature as dead. The result was ecological destruction and the fragmentation of society. The coming economic reset is basically part of an effort to further manipulate and shift our mental framework toward something wholly unnatural. Shiva says:

“In India, they attacked and are still attacking organic and created something called the Zero-Budget Natural Farming … What they’re basically doing is giving big loans to the state, which then gives fat loans to the farmer. In the meantime, Gates is mining farm data.

He’s getting people placed in the homes of farmers to mine data. Then they’ll create algorithms to sell that data back. But all of this is now being reduced to carbon in the soil. You’ll get zero % for what you grow. You can get no needs of yours met through food and fodder, but we will allow you to trade in the global market on the carbon in your soil, and that’s what would keep you alive. This whole financialization of nature is one aspect.

The second aspect in the great reset is to redo the economy to make it look like those who are now disposable throwaway people deserved it. They created the language of competition.

[When I was writing] my epilogue, I had just received Microsoft’s patent, [which] basically reduces human beings to users. Our brain activity is tapped into in various ways. Everyone wants to have smart wear these days. I should call it spyware. That data goes through algorithms. Those algorithms will decide what [we are worthy of and] Bitcoins will be allocated to us.

But every child born is born worthy. Every member of society has equal human rights. So, they’re undoing everything we’ve put in place on humanity, on human rights, on democracy. This is where we need to be alert.

I think the whole issue of the pandemic and the lockdown was useful for them for two reasons. One, they could get everyone afraid. Second, they could get everyone distracted while they took over the economy, they took over our minds. They basically transferred all the remaining wealth to themselves.”

More Information

To learn more, please listen to the interview in its entirety, and be sure to pick up a copy of “Oneness Vs. the 1%: Shattering Illusions, Seeding Freedom.” You can also find more details about Shiva’s work on Navdanya.org.

“I personally feel that this assault is coming at a time when, in India and the world, there’s a new rising of consciousness of the planet and its living systems, of our health and our living systems, and the connection between our health and the health of the planet. At this point … it needs a lot of brutal violence to impose. So, to the extent they can keep the virus as their shield to hide behind, they will.”

I agree with Shiva when she says that rather than allowing COVID-19 fear-mongering take over our lives, we need to look at the infrastructures of life, humanity, democracy, economy, and taxation, “and start thinking about who’s taking them away from us.”

“You have to protect that which you treasure,” she says. “Freedom and life are what are being taken right now … We have to resist fear and we have to resist hate. We are thinking beings; let us use the minds we’ve been given and let us rebuild community.

Again, I don’t think the 6-foot distancing is by accident. Why do they use the words ‘social distancing’ rather than ‘physical distancing’? Six feet is a physical measure. They … want us to forget that being a human being means being in community. They want us to be users of gadgets.

We must be community. We must remember that we are interrelated to the rest of life on Earth and to society. That’s why we have to be talking [about how to] rebuild regenerative economies … I think we lost a lot of time thinking the only issue was energy, how energy is produced. We lost two decades of how food is produced.

I really believe that if people start becoming aware that eating good food is the single most important [strategy for health], and growing food in the right way is the single most important part to regeneration of the planet, this will rebuild community …

I think we need to start doing homework to say, ‘Where’s the wealth going? How should the tax flow look? How is our money going to make the billionaires richer? How can they keep extracting more money out of us?

How is our public money the new subsidy to create the infrastructure for greed, rather than be the public resources to create the infrastructure of life, of care and of solidarity? … What in our current legal framework can stop this hemorrhaging of public money to move upwards to the billionaires?

These are foundational issues. Who are we as human beings? How will we live in the future? What is the future we will create long after the robber barons are gone, because they were there in the 1930s and we learned how to get rid of them. If there’s one project we should have, it’s strategies to get rid of the robber barons, whatever it takes …

I don’t think we have the luxury to be hopeless. Hope is something you must cultivate on a daily basis. Cultivating hope is cultivating resistance. Cultivating hope is cultivating the strategy.”

Monsanto Tribunal & People’s Assemblies: Ending a Century of Ecocide and Genocide

"More accumulation of wealth through corporations," writes Shiva, "will lead to the extermination of most people, as their lands and livelihoods, their resources and democracies, are grabbed for profits and control." (Photo: Pixabay/CC0)

“More accumulation of wealth through corporations,” writes Shiva, “will lead to the extermination of most people, as their lands and livelihoods, their resources and democracies, are grabbed for profits and control.” (Photo: Pixabay/CC0)   

By Vandana Shiva | Common Dreams

For more than a century, a poison cartel has experimented with and developed chemicals to kill people, first in Hitler’s concentration camps and the war, later by selling these chemicals as inputs for industrial agriculture.

In a little over half a century, small farmers have been uprooted everywhere, by design, further expanding the toxic fields of  the industrial agriculture.

In India, a country of small farmers, the assault of the poison cartel has driven millions off the land and pushed 300,000 farmers to suicide due to debt for costly seeds and chemicals. The GMO seeds have failed to control pests and weeds. Instead they are creating super-pests and super-weeds, trapping farmers deeper in debt.

And it is not just farmers who are dying. Our soil organisms and pollinators are dying. Our soils are dying. Our societies are dying. Our children are dying—because of diseases caused by food loaded with toxics.

The introduction of GMOs, by the Poison Cartel, has accelerated the crisis of disease and death. The only reason GMOs are forcibly introduced is to claim patents on seeds – to collect royalties from every farmer, every season, every year. In India more than Rs 50 Billion has illegally been collected by Monsanto, from the cotton farmers of India. Within a few years of illegally entering India, Monsanto started to control 95% of the cotton seed supply. Most of the 300,000 farmers suicides are in the cotton belt.

“Our soil organisms and pollinators are dying. Our soils are dying. Our societies are dying. Our children are dying—because of diseases caused by food loaded with toxics.”

A patent of life and on seeds is a crime against farmers—who are trapped in debt for costly patented seed.

It is also a crime against nature. The claim, that by adding a gene Monsanto is “making” life, violates the self organising, self-renewing capacity of seed. The crime is further aggravating by pushing out bio-diversity, and spreading genetic pollution through the introduction of GMOs.

These issues are in courts everywhere.

We are now organizing a Monsanto Tribunal, and People’s Assemblies across the world, to put the Poison Cartel on trial at the Hague (14th to 16th October). Alongside the Tribunal People’s Assemblies are being self organised by local communities everywhere.

The Tribunal will both synthesize the existing crimes and violations for which Monsanto+Bayer is in courts across the world— in India, Europe, US, Mexico, Argentina, as well as expand the scope of criminal activity to include the crime of ecocide, the violation of the rights of nature.

Related Article: Breaking: Bayer Buys Monsanto: the Empire Strikes Back

Crimes against nature are connected to crimes against humanity.

Corporate crimes have become visible everywhere, the corporations become bigger, claiming absolute power, absolute rights, absolute immunity, deploying more violent tools against nature and people. The People’s Assembly will not just take stock of the past and present crimes. It will look at future crimes with the aim of preventing them. Monsanto is now becoming Monsanto Bayer. Syngenta is merging with Chem China. Dow has merged with Dupont. Movements from India, China, Germany, Switzerland challenging these mergers will be addressing the People’s Assembly and planning future actions.

“Crimes against nature are connected to crimes against humanity.”

The process of holding the Poison Cartel accountable is the culmination of 30 years of scientific, legal, social, political work by movements, and concerned citizens and scientists. This is the coalition that has got together to organize the Monsanto Tribunal and People’s Assembly.

The chemical corporations had expected to take over all seed by the year 2000, through GMOs, patents, mergers and acquisitions. But most seed is not genetically modified, most countries do not recognize seeds and plants as corporate inventions, hence patentable. Monsanto’s crimes have become so well known that it now wants to disappear itself through the Bayer acquisition. The Movements against Monsanto have already won. Now we need to shut down the poison cartel.

While GMOs fail, a new generation of genetic engineering based on CRISPR, gene editing, gene drives is being promoted to grab more patents and wreck the planet faster for the benefit of a few toxic billionaires.

And because we built movements to stop “free trade” through WTO—such as the mobilizations in Bangalore, Seattle, Cancun and Hong Kong—corporations are now pushing new free trade agreements, such as TTIP and TPP. The Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) systems in the new agreements are aimed at dismantling our constitutions, our rights, and our democracies.

Corporate rule over the past two decades has led to an economy where 1% of the rich control as much wealth as 99% of humanity. More accumulation of wealth through corporations will lead to the extermination of most people, as their lands and livelihoods, their resources and democracies, are grabbed for profits and control.

“While courts can investigate crimes of the poison cartel, and this is important for justice, people have the power to change the way we grow our food.”

The Monsanto Tribunal and People’s Assemblies organised in the Hague are already having repercussions in the International Criminal Court. Since 2002 when the court was set up by the United Nations, it has largely investigated war crimes and genocide linked to conflicts. The court has jurisdiction over the 124 countries which have ratified the Rome statute. It is now widening its remit, to look at destruction of the environment and violation of people’s rights to their resources. The court will also prioritize crimes that result in the “destruction of the environment,” “exploitation of natural resources,” and the “illegal dispossession” of land. It also included an explicit reference to land-grabbing.

The ICC’s policy paper on case selection and prioritization declares: “The office [of the prosecutor] will give particular consideration to prosecuting Rome statute crimes that are committed by means of, or that result in, inter alia, the destruction of the environment, the illegal exploitation of natural resources or the illegal dispossession of land.”

Related Article: Why Industrial Farming Is Costing You Your Health and Where to Find Healthy Food

Patents on seeds are an illegal exploitation of natural resources which have pushes hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers to suicide. This is a crime worth investigating, and ending.

While courts can investigate crimes of the poison cartel, and this is important for justice, people have the power to change the way we grow our food. That is why hundreds of People’s Assemblies, being organized everywhere, will make commitments to create a healthy future of food and of the planet. From the People’s Assemblies we will launch a boycott campaign, to liberate our seeds and soils, our communities and societies, our planet and ourselves, from poisons and the rule of the poison cartel.

Dr. Vandana Shiva is a philosopher, environmental activist and eco feminist. She is the founder/director of Navdanya Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology. She is author of numerous books including, Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis;Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply; Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace; and Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development. Shiva has also served as an adviser to governments in India and abroad as well as NGOs, including the International Forum on Globalization, the Women’s Environment and Development Organization and the Third World Network. She has received numerous awards, including 1993 Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel Prize) and the 2010 Sydney Peace Prize.

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Science, GMOs and Our Food: How Industrial-Scale Farming Is Actually Becoming Anti-Science

By Vandana Shiva | Common Dreams

The intelligence of both human farmers and the natural world itself, writes Dr. Shiva, "is being thwarted by the false construction of the living Earth as dead matter, to be exploited limitlessly for human control, domination and greed." (Photo: fossen_42/flickr/cc)

The intelligence of both human farmers and the natural world itself, writes Dr. Shiva, “is being thwarted by the false construction of the living Earth as dead matter, to be exploited limitlessly for human control, domination and greed.” (Photo: fossen_42/flickr/cc)

“Science” is derived from the scire – “to know”.

Each of us should know what we are eating, how it was produced, what impact it has on our health.

The knowledge we need for growing food is knowledge of biodiversity and living seed, of living soil and the soil food web, of interaction between different species in the agroecosystem and of different seasons. Farmers have been the experts in these fields, as have ecological scientists who study the evolution of microorganisms, plants and animals, the ecological web and the soil food web.

In industrial agriculture the knowledge of living systems is totally missing since industrial agriculture was externally driven by using war chemicals as inputs for agriculture. Soil was defined as an empty container for holding synthetic fertilizers, plants were defined as machines running on external inputs. This meant substituting the ecological functions and services that nature and farmers can provide through renewal of soil fertility, pest and weed control, and seed improvement. But it also implied ignorance of the destruction of the functions by the toxic chemicals applied to agriculture.

This complex knowledge of interacting, self-organizing, self-maintaining, self-renewing and self-evolving systems that farmers have had is now being confirmed through the latest in ecology. At the agricultural systems level, agroecology, not the mechanistic and blind paradigm of industrial agriculture, is the truly scientific approach to food production.

At the level of organisms, epigenetics and the new knowledge that cells are in constant communication with each other is leading to the emergence of a new paradigm of life as communication and intelligence. Living systems are not dead matter, assembled like a machine.

Yet in recent times only one kind of knowledge, the Mechanistic Reductionist paradigm based on seeing the world as a machine, and reduction of a system its parts, has been elevated to the status of science.

The emerging sciences of complexity and connectedness expose the oceans of ignorance in which the mechanistic fundamentalism is steeped. Because living systems are self-organized complexity—and not machines— knowledge of a small fragmented part in isolation of its relationships with the rest of the system, translates into not-knowing.

This epistemic violence is now being combined with the violence of corporate interests to viciously attack all scientific traditions, including those that have evolved from within Western Science and transcended the mechanistic world view.

Industrial-scale farming, in this way, is actually becoming anti-science.

Nowhere is this more evident than in how reductionism has  been used to colonise the seed. Seed is self-organized intelligence – it reproduces, it multiplies, and it constantly evolves. Farmers, especially women, have combined their intelligence with the intelligence of the seed, and through breeding as co-creation, they have domesticated wild plants, increased diversity to adapt to diverse climates and cultures. Additionally, they have improved both nutrition and taste as well as increased resilience, which is the evolutionary potential of the seed. Seeds have been improved on the basis of ecological and social criteria.

The rhetoric for taking over food systems and seed supply is always based on “Improved Seed.” But what is not mentioned is that industrial seeds are only “improved” in the context of higher dependence on chemicals, and more control by corporations.

The latest in the anti-scientific discourse of industrial agriculture is by reducing everything to “GMOs.”

Genetic Engineering is used to redefine seed as a corporate “invention” to claim patents and collect royalties. Farmer’s suicides in the cotton belt of India are directly related to the extraction of super-profits from farmers as royalty. And this is illegal since Monsanto never had a patent on Bt cotton.

It is claimed the GMOs will increase food production but the technology does not increase yields.

It is claimed that genetic engineering is a precise technology. This is false for four primary reasons. First, genetic engineering is based on the false assumption that one gene gives rise to one trait. Second, it is so imprecise that antibiotic resistance marker genes have to be added to even know if the gene was actually introduced in the cell of the plant and genes from virulent viruses have to be added to promote the trait being introduced. Third, because the genes come from unrelated organisms, and include bacterial and viral genes, there are unknown impacts on the organism and the ecosystem in which it is introduced. This is why there are multidisciplinary sciences involved in Biosafety, and an international UN law to regulate GMOs for their Biosafety impact called the Cartagena Protocol to the Convention on the Conservation of Biodiversity.

Fourth, the anti-scientific claim that GMOs are accurate and selection and conventional breeding are inaccurate ignores the intelligence of plants and of farmers which is at play in evolution. In fact, the emergence of antibiotic resistance indicates the intelligence of bacteria to evolve under the pressure of antibiotics. Bacteria, as intelligent beings, are remaking themselves in response to antibiotics. The emergence of super-pests resistant to Bt toxin in plants, and super-weeds resistant to Roundup with the spread of Roundup Ready GMOs indicates the intelligence of insects and plants to remake themselves under the pressure of toxins associated with GMOs which are designed to kill them. But it is precisely on the denial of intelligence of humans and other species that the edifice of mechanistic reductionism is based.

“Intelligence” is based on the Latin inter legere – “to choose”. From the slime mold and bacteria, to plants and animals, including humans, intelligence is the choice we make to evolve in order to respond to changing contexts. Life is a cognitive system, with communication constantly taking place in a network on non-separable patterns of relationship. Living beings innovate all the time to deal with environmental challenges that face them. As evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin says, “The characteristic of a living object is that it reacts to external stimuli rather than being passively propelled by them. An organism’s life is constant mid-course corrections.”

As a species, we as humans are falling behind the slime mold and bacteria to make an intelligent response to the environmental threats we face. And our intelligence is being thwarted by the false construction of the living Earth as dead matter, to be exploited limitlessly for human control, domination and greed.

The mid-course correction we need is to move beyond the mechanistic paradigm, and beyond exploitation which is manipulating not just living organisms, but knowledge itself.

It is claimed that the Bt toxin in GMOs degrades, but it has been found to survive in the blood of pregnant women and fetuses. It is claimed that Roundup and Roundup Ready crops are safe for humans because humans do not have the shikimate pathway. This is outright violence against science. Ninety percent of the genetic information in our body is not human but bacterial. Out of the 600 trillion cells in our body only 6 trillion are human, the rest are bacterial. And bacteria have the shikimate pathway. The bacteria in our gut are being killed by Roundup leading to serious disease epidemics, from increasing intestinal disorders to neurological problems such as the increase in occurrence of autism and Alzheimer’s. The soil, the gut and our brain are one interconnected biome – violence to one part triggers violence in the entire inter-related system. The US Centers for Disease Control data shows that on current trends one in two children in the US could be autistic in a few decades. It is not an intelligent species that destroys its own future because of a distorted and manipulated definition of science.

As Einstein had observed: “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

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vandana_shiva_environmentalistDr. Vandana Shiva is a philosopher, environmental activist and eco feminist. She is the founder/director of Navdanya Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology. She is author of numerous books including, Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis; Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply; Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace; and Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development. Shiva has also served as an adviser to governments in India and abroad as well as NGOs, including the International Forum on Globalization, the Women’s Environment and Development Organization and the Third World Network. She has received numerous awards, including 1993 Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel Prize) and the 2010 Sydney Peace Prize.