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September 1, 2011

vandana shiva
Environmental and social justice activist

Vandana Shiva, PhD’79, LLD ’02, remains a revolutionary of the highest order. Although not as well known in the Western hemisphere, her exploits are iconic in India garnering her praise as a leader of both the modern global environmental and women’s movements. Philosopher, environmental activist and eco-feminist — a true environmental guru —Shiva is highly sought after as an adviser to governments around the world on environmental matters and defending the developing country poor.

She completed a master’s in philosophy at Guelph, and then joined Western for her PhD work. She completed her thesis, Hidden Variable and Locality in Quantum Theory, in 1979.

In 1982, she founded an independent institute, the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology in Dehra Dun, India, dedicated to addressing significant ecological and social issues, in close partnership with local communities and social movements.

In 1991, she created of Navdanya (‘Nine seeds’), an Indian national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seed, and to promote organic farming and fair trade. Navdanya has a membership of more than 70,000 farmers, and its efforts have resulted in conservation of more than 2,000 rice varieties.

She has authored more than 20 books and 500 papers in leading scientific and technical journals. Two books, The Violence of Green Revolution and Monocultures of the Mind, have become basic challenges to the dominant paradigm of non-sustainable, reductionist Green Revolution Agriculture.

Shiva also launched intellectual property rights and biopiracy campaigns such as the Neem Campaign and the Basmati Campaign.

Shiva remains a powerful voice in the media, publishing and speaking with great frequency as well as appearing in dozens of award-winning documentaries. She has been honoured with the Global 500 Roll of Honour from the United Nations Environment Programme (1993), Earth Day International Award (1993), Right to Livelihood Award/Alternative Nobel Prize (1993), Sydney Peace Prize from Sydney University (2010) and Calgary Peace Prize from the Consortium of Peace Studies at the University of Calgary (2011).

Shiva was featured in the Fall 2011 issue of the Western Alumni Gazette.

Source: United Nations, Alumni Gazette

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