Give Mother Earth A Chance
30 Nov 2010, 11:00
“If commerce starts to undermine life support, then commerce must stop, because life has to carry on.” This is the central premise Dr Vandana Shiva’s passionate address for the 2010 City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture, in which she lambasts global corporations for waging war against nature in the name of profits.
Shiva argues that when commonly used agricultural herbicides have names like “Round Up”, “Squadron”, “Avenge”, one can see there is war being waged against nature…and the humans are winning at the cost of their own future. To Vandana Shiva, fighting for peace for ‘Mother Earth’ is the broadest peace movement we can engage in.
She calls for a form of ‘Earth Democracy’, that re-imagines the biosphere as a citizen, that has universal rights that need protecting and defending.
Dr Vandana Shiva is speaking at the Sydney Opera House for the City of Sydney Peace Prize.
The Sydney Peace Prize was established by the Sydney Peace Foundation in 1998. Each year a prize is awarded to an organisation or individual who has made significant contributions to global peace. Previous winners include Patrick Dodson, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mary Robinson, Arundhati Roy, Hans Blix and more.
Dr Vandana Shiva is a physicist, environmental activist, author and eco-feminist. As a physicist she trained at the University of Western Ontario and specialised in Quantum Theory. As an environmental activist she has worked for campaigns that focus on the issues of bio-piracy, genetic engineering, sustainable agriculture, intellectual property rights and biodiversity. She has written many books on environmental issues including “The Violence of Green Revolution”, “Bio-piracy: the Plunder of Nature and Knowledge”, “Water, Wars: Privatization, Pollution and Profit”, “Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability and Peace” and her most recent book “Soil Not Oil” released in 2008. In 1991, Shiva established “Navdanya” a food security movement based in over 16 states in India, it aims to empower farmers to protect their economic livelihoods and natural resources, especially native seeds. Shiva has been awarded several awards for her efforts including the Right Livelihood Award and the United Nations Environment Program [UNEP] Global 500 Award in 1993, and most recently the 2010 City of Sydney Peace Prize.
Vandana Shiva has been recognised for her work on the empowerment of women in developing countries, her advocacy of the human rights of small farming communities, and her scientific analysis of environmental sustainability.
Vandana is founder of the Navdanya movement and the Bija Vidyapeeth learning centre in India, recognized as a school of the future.
Sydney Peace Foundation director, Professor Stuart Rees, said Dr Shiva was an inspiring recipient of the award. “Many communities are threatened by the consequences of global warming, yet in Australia the movement to address this issue has gone to sleep,” he said. “Vandana’s presence in Sydney in November should wake them up.”
Other distinguished recipients of Australia’s only international prize for peace have included previous Nobel recipients Professor Muhammad Yunus, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Aboriginal leader Patrick Dodson.
Mary Kostakidis, chair of the Sydney Peace Foundation, said governments around the world sought Dr Shiva’s counsel on issues of sustainable development. “Vandana Shiva’s work highlights the fundamental connection between human rights and the protection of the environment,” Ms Kostakidis said. “She offers solutions to some of the most critical problems posed by the effects of globalisation and climate change on the poorest and most populous nations.”