My first encounter with Dr.Vandana Shiva was through a YouTube video.  My first impression of her was of a woman of immense power, fearless and embodying fierce compassion for all the beings and creatures who inhabit the Earth.

She has been called an Earth Goddess, and has been named one of the most influential woman of modern times, as the world’s most famous and effective advocate for Bio-Ethics, Eco-Feminism and Bio-Diversity.

The following short biography is excerpted from the Green Interview (thegreeninterview.com)

Vandana Shiva was born in 1952 in Uttarakhand, India.  Her father was a conservator of forests and her mother was a farmer with a deep love for nature.  Her parents were staunch supporters of Mahatma Gandhi, she says, “I have tried to be the change I want to see.”

After receiving her schooling in India and training as a gymnast Vandana Shiva earned a B.S. in Physics, an M.A. in the Philosophy of Science at the University of Guellph, and a PhD. In Nuclear Physics at the University of Western Ontario. 

As a graduate student, however, she found herself troubled by the realisation that science had a “dark side,” and that she didn’t know enough about the actual working of society.  India, she noted, had the third biggest scientific community in the world but remained “among the poorest of countries.  Science and Technology is supposed to create growth, remover poverty.  Where is the gap?”

That question led her to study science policy at the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore where she explored interdisciplinary research in Science, Technology and Environmental policy.

She emerged as an authority in the field of environmental impact and became deeply alarmed by the threat to biodiversity posed by biotechnology.

Hearing that leaders of world Agri-Business describe their plan to control the world’s supply of food and pharmaceuticals through the use of patented, genetically-engineered seeds, she founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, dedicated to opposing such ventures.

In 1991, Dr Shiva founded Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seeds, and to oppose what she calls the colonization of life itself under the intellectual property and patent laws of the World Trade Organization Agreement.

Those laws, she says, have “only a negative function: to prevent others from doing their own thing; to prevent people from having food; to prevent people from having medicine; to prevent countries from having the technological capacity.”  She describes these laws as a “tool for creating underdevelopment.”

Dr Shiva sees Biodiversity as intimately linked to Cultural Diversity and Knowledge Diversity, and recently launched a global movement in support of Biodiversity and Cultural Diversity called Diverse Women for Diversity.

In the 1970’s Dr Shiva was one of the original Tree Huggers, the Chipko Group of Indian women who surrounded trees to prevent them from being felled.  Today, it would be fair to call her the world’s most famous and effective advocate for bio-ethics, eco-feminism and bio-diversity.

Among Vandana Shiva’s many honours is the Right Livelihood Award – also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize – for her work in placing women and ecology at the center of the international development agenda.  She is the author of more than 300 papers in leading scientific and technical journals, and her book-length publications.




Publications: Some important works

Earth Democracy – Justice, Sustainability and Peace

Stolen Harvest – The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply

Making Peace with the Earth

Sacred Seed

Staying Alive, Women, Ecology and Development

I have been hard pressed to choose a video that portrays the immense love that is Vandana Shiva.  I loved “In Conversation with Vandana Shiva” which is a 1hr26min interview done in Canada.  It is my hope that you will take the time to watch it as it is one of the best overviews of her work and her philosophy.

For now I share with you a short documentary : Vandana Shiva on Sustainability.