An internationally acclaimed eco-feminist, physicist, and philosopher, Dr. Shiva is well known for her work establishing the rights of Mother Earth in partnership with the United Nations.
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Dr. Vandana Shiva, named one of the seven most-influential women in the world by Forbes magazine in 2010, has focused on biotechnology and the patenting of life-forms. A frequent target of her criticism has been the multi-national corporation Monsanto, who has created its own brand of seeds, genetically modified to tolerate the pesticide Roundup, also a Monsanto product, allowing farmers to spray their fields to kill the weeds while leaving the crop unharmed. Today, “Roundup Ready” crops account for about 90 percent of the soybeans and 70 percent of the corn and cotton grown in the United States. But farmers sprayed so much Roundup that “superweeds”, able to resist the pesticide, quickly evolved. Shiva has been quoted as saying "instead of rewarding them [Monsanto] with a patent, they should be punished for polluting our food chain."
In the late 1980s, Dr. Shiva founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology which concentrates on the biotech and patenting issues, and in 1991 she founded Navdanya, a national movement in India to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seeds.
In the words of writer David Kemker, Dr. Shiva is now "focused on preventing imperialism over life itself." "I don't want to live in a world where five giant companies control our health and our food," Dr. Shiva said. Her work has resulted in the conservation of more than 2000 varieties of rice in India.
For Dr. Shiva, ecology and feminism are "inseparable" because, among other reasons, "women are the custodians of biodiversity, the providers of food security...the conservers of the cultural diversity of food traditions." She also promotes a vision of Earth Democracy and sees the mission of the organizations she has founded to be "protecting the earth, defending our ecological and cultural heritage, and strengthening livelihood and food security."
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