Vandana Shiva – A Figure As Inspirational as Controversial

0 thoughts on “Vandana Shiva – A Figure As Inspirational as Controversial”

  1. I agree with you, the balanced picture is the best one. Just blaming the others and see the world in good-guys and bad-guys is not contributing to something good. As we know the world is complex, and there are no easy solutions or answers.
    But, I also see the problem of too many people not reacting, or not caring. For them, a more radical, or one-sided view can be a wake-up call and provoke a reaction… But then of course the “other-side” could also use the simplifications in order to raise support…
    A generally more well-informed world would be the solution maybe 🙂 #utopia

  2. I think the same thing, but admit the low -life tactics used by corporations like Monsanto kind of makes me less empathetic.

    I found her inspiring and her presence is curiously strong yet quiet. But I agree with you.

    Huff-Po wrote a piece on this topic recently asking why Monsanto takes so much more heat than DuPont, Sargento or Bayer.

  3. Hi, I enjoyed your article but I disagree that emotions shouldn’t play a part in the debate. In fact instead of “emotion” I’d use a much stronger word – passion. People have every right to feel passionately about the food they eat and where it comes from. In fact I’d say that one of the great problems in some Western societies (certainly not all) is a lack of passion about food, leading to an indifference which appears to me to be akin to cultural degeneration.

    I also think it’s a mistake to see this as a simplistic left versus right confrontation. This is simply not what’s happening, however much certain interest groups would like us to think that it is. An obvious example in the UK would be the Guardian newspaper which is politically of the left but regularly has articles championing the cause of GM technology. Meanwhile Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith is one of many on the right of the political spectrum who are passionate about organic methods, biodiversity and the just distribution of food resources. If one really wants to define this in terms of a sociological division then it could more easily be seen as a manifestation of what many see as the deepest split in our culture – the physicalist/vitalist divide – something much older and deeper than superficial political polarities.

    With regard to Monsanto – yes it’s drawing all the fire at the moment, but then let’s face it, it’s a great lumbering, heavy-handed liability that’s sitting up and begging for it isn’t it? Their business model seems to be based on that of a streamroller, or an invading army. This is exactly what Vandana Shiva means when she talks about the “militarization of the food industry”.

    Let this be a passionate debate I say. It’s too important a subject to be left up to the clinical deliberations of corporate self-interest, scientific orthodoxy, or political expediency.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Steve! You bring up a lot of important points, and let me just clarify that I don’t agree with Monsanto’s business practices either – the privatization of our food supply is definitely something to feel passionate about. And I agree that passion is direly needed in our debates about food! However, I still think that one can be passionate and still mindful about the claims that one makes; as I wanted to express in my post, personally I am more convinced by an argument that skillfully takes into consideration counter-arguments but then make a convincing case of why your viewpoint is still more valid. I guess i’m just allergic to any type of discourse that could be considered hyperbolic or even “propaganda” even if it aligns closely to my personal perspective. And I think that the anti-Monsanto movement has enough grounds that it doesn’t need to go for Monsanto-style black-or-white tactics… What do you think?

      1. Yes, I certainly take your point about being wary of hyperbole – there’s a lot of it about! Again you’re right to speak up for clear-headed argument and language that doesn’t veer towards over-reaction. For me it’s invariably the power of understatement that gets my attention and makes me want to hear more. But from my perspective there’s an overwhelming case against the use of GM technology (and all the baggage that comes with it) in food production. Difficult for me then to think (on this issue) in terms other than good vs bad as I haven’t yet heard a single argument in favour of GM technology in agriculture that genuinely stands up. I absolutely agree however that it’s counter productive to be using scare tactics and propaganda – there’s simply no need. The facts, as stated by an array of experts, scientific and otherwise, simply speak for themselves.

        You have to wonder though whether plain speaking, passionate argument, and factual analysis is ever going to be enough to turn the tide when the powers-that-be have such vested interests. I suppose that this is why some people go over the top sometimes. I don’t think that Vandana Shiva is one of them however!

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