In the era of building alternatives to everything, few people are still rooted in the beauty of natural processes and have dedicated their life to enjoying, embracing and enhancing nature’s productivity. Through their hard work and determination, they aim to make the world a better place. One such personality is Vandana Shiva, who is an Indian scholar, environmental activist, food sovereignty advocate, ecofeminist, as well as anti-globalization author. Often referred to as “Gandhi of Grain,” Vandana is famous for her activism and is one of the leaders and board members of the International Forum on Globalization. Her activism and literary works recognized her as one of the BBC’s 100 Women in 2019.
Vandana Shiva’s Early Life and Education
- Vandana was born in Dehradun to a family of nature lovers. Her father was a Forest Conservator, while her mother was a farmer.
- She attended St. Mary’s Convent High School, Nainital, and later enrolled in Convent of Jesus and Mary in Dehradun.
- After graduating from Punjab University, Chandigarh, with a Bachelor of Science in 1972, she briefly worked at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.
- In 1977, she moved to Canada to earn a Master’s in the Philosophy of Science at the University of Guelph.
- She graduated in Philosophy from the University of Western Ontario, mainly focusing on the philosophy of Physics.
- The Indian scholar pursued interdisciplinary research in science, technology, and environmental policy, first at the Indian Institute of Science and then at the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore.
Vandana Shiva – Facts & Transformational Career Journey
- The food sovereignty advocate founded the Research Foundations of Science, Technology, and Ecology in 1982, which formed ‘Navdanya’ in 1991, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, promoting organic farming and fair trade.
- She has also contributed to intellectual property rights and biodiversity, in which she challenged the biopsy of neem, basmati, and wheat. Besides that, she has served as a part of government expert groups on Biodiversity and IPR legislation.
- Apart from assisting in grassroots organizations of the green movement in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Ireland, Switzerland, and Austria, she has fought through the activist campaign in intellectual property rights, biodiversity, biotechnology, bioethics, and genetic fields of engineering.
- The founder of the gender unit at the International Centre for Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu, is also a founding board member of the Women’s Environment & Development Organisation (WEDO) and received the ‘Right Livelihood Award’ in 1993.
- In 2004, Shiva started an international college for sustainable living in Uttrakhand called ‘Bija Vidyapeeth’ in collaboration with Schumacher College, UK.
- The chairperson of the Commission on the Future of Food, set up in the Tuscany region in Italy, is a member of the Scientific Committee, which advised former Spain PM Zapatero.
- Contributing to the Indian People`s Campaign against the World Trade Organization (WTO), the environmental activist also serves on committees on Organic Farming and, in 2007, participated in the Stock Exchange of Visions.
- The founding councilor of the World Future Council (WFC), primarily focusing on climate security, Vandana supports the idea of seed freedom and has campaigned against implementing the WTO 1994 Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement.
- The green enthusiast opposes Golden Rice, a breed genetically engineered to biosynthesis beta carotene, which is the precursor of Vitamin A. Calling Golden Rice a hoax, she contends that it is more harmful than beneficial.
Vandana Shiva’s Books and Nature Writing
The radical naturalist is devoted to the advances in agriculture & food and has written extensively about them. Among her many writings, some of the most famous ones are –
- ‘Staying Alive,’ her first book, was published in 1988. It has helped change the perceptions of third-world women.
- ‘Making Peace with Earth’ includes her thoughts on biodiversity and the relationship between communities and nature.
- ‘The Violence of the Green Revolution’ stemmed from her studies at the UN University.
Vandana Shiva has worked tirelessly to make the world and society a better place and has inspired millions of nature lovers and women’s rights activists. Today at 70, she is still committed to these goals as vigorously as she was 40 years earlier. Vandana Shiva’s works, including insightful writings on transformative ideas, have left readers in a reflective mindset. With her impactful life journey, her acts are soul awakening for people worldwide. She is truly an inspiration to future generations.