Vandana Shiva’s inspiring talk

I had the pleasure to see the amazing Vandana Shiva talk at Háskólabíó last Monday. I actually first heard about her when seeing her talk advertised, but then on Sunday night I was watching The Corporation and there Ms. Shiva was and I became even more exited to see her. The biggest hall in Háskólabíó(University cinema) was full when I came only a couple of minutes before the talk, so I had to sit in the stairs. I was still pretty comfy though.

Last time Vandana was in Iceland, it was to receive the John Lennon peace awards. It was the same day our biggest bank in Iceland broke.

Vandana talked about money, nature, GMO’s and many things more very interesting and inspiring. The misconception now days in society is that thinking a paper of money hasa life of it’s own. Money is a mean, not an end! When you realise that, it becomes even harder to understand how brokers and share trade business works. Today, corporations are the biggest persons. Corporations have the same legal right and protections as a person, but limited responsibility. What kind of a person do you think that a corporation is?

Vandana Shiva talked about how the  industrial agriculture does not live in harmony with nature and about the “Green revolution” in India. The introduction of high-yielding varieties of seeds after 1965 and the increased use of fertilisers and irrigation are known cas the Green revolution, though you can’t say there’s much green about it… The US pretty much said to India that they would stop selling them wheat if India wouldn’t take up these seeds. So now farmers are legally bound to use seeds that needs to be bought for each planting, and monocultures of rice and wheat rule. Ms. Shiva is certain that India could produce 2x more of wheat and rice with ecologically sustainable agriculture. And it would be more nutritious and diverse! Oh and btw, quarter of a million farmers have committed suicide since the Green Revolution. And suddenly there were talks about how the women in India were becoming independent. So many women had started working outside the home, often at cotton fields. And since the woman was out working the man must be at home watching the children, oh so marvellous! Well, it wasn’t very marvellous when digging deeper. These women were slaving at other peoples fields because their husband had committed suicide or they had lost their own fields…

Icelanders tend to be the greates in so everything(of course per capita) and we have one of the biggest ecological footprints in the world. Maybe not something to be proud of…  In Iceland most of the food has always been and is produced “pretty organic”, meaning more organic than industrial agriculture in other countries. Totally organic farming is very new in Iceland but has grown a lot for the past years. We are very lucky here to have our green energy and clean water, but we tend to take it for granted and think we can take endlessly from nature. The previous government(right party) believes that aluminium industry is the best and ONLY way to improve Icelandic economy. So we have three aluminium smelters now and a couple in planning. That’s how we’re using our green energy… Instead we could use it to power greenhouses and grow organically all kinds of fruits and vegetables!! To think of this makes me sad…

The Icelandic constitution is under re-witing. The whole process has been very democratic. The public voted candidates for a Constitutional Assembly and the have done a very good job. The whole process was open for comments online and offline. One of the thing I like about it is to have nature rights in the constitution. Now of course it isn’t certain how much of their efforts the parliament will really use, but I think the public will press hard enough for it to get through… or I at least hope so. We have been dealing with if the nation really owns the water rights or if the government could sell it. This is so ridiculous! I only realised how ridicoulous this is when hearing the fight people in Bolivia had to fight to get their water rights back. Their water was sold, so you couldn’t even gather raindrops without paying for it. People with limited means had to spend a big cut of their income on water, a basic human need for Christs sake (or anyone’s sakes for that matter). They protested and got their water rights back, but it costed human lifes and left many people hurt.

I’m gonna leave the whole GMO issues to another blog post. 😛

The conclusion is that diversity is always the best thing. Bio-diversity, food diversity, currency diversity, human diversity… And we have to realise that our consumption of the Earth can’t go on forever. We have to value wealth in other than just money. Wealth is so much more than that.

Love and peace,

-Berglind

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