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Monocultures of the Mind: Perspectives on Biodiversity and Biotechnology Paperback – June 15, 1993
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'One of the world's most prominent radical scientists' The Guardian 'Shiva has devoted her life to fighting for the rights of ordinary people in India. Her fierce intellect and her disarmingly friendly, accessible manner have made her a valuable advocate for people all over the developing world.' Ms Magazine 'The South's best known environmentalist.' New Internationalist 'Shiva is a burst of creative energy, an intellectual power.' The Progressive
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This book should be purchased and read not simply for the content, but also for the methods of thought employed to explain the core ideas of the book. Those of you who find Charlie Munger interesting should find Vandana Shiva right up your alley due to her multi-perspective/disciplinary independent thinking.
Also, it gives you glimpses of history that have either been forgotten or glossed over. This too will add to your ability to look at international events... or even simply teach you how to interpret news stories or articles. BUY IT.
MONOCULTURES OF THE MIND is a collection of essays representing such a "southern" scientist's vital perspective. Shiva makes provocative contributions in the ever expanding debate around what (and who) will feed future generations of humans in the developing world. She argues that a mono-agriculture society - where trees are seen as nothing more than timber and crop yield is the only measure for economic value of cereals - reflects a mental and political system that will lack in vision and complexity in general. However, diverse knowledge systems are necessary to address the challenges ahead of us. For example, in traditional societies, trees have multiple purposes, from food, water reservoir and shelter to nutrients of the soil around them. Timber value is only one (small) part of the whole. Traditional knowledge systems contribute in major ways to the understanding of biodiversity, ecological sustainability and cultural, including agri-cultural, diversity.
Vandana Shiva is a geneticist as well as an environmentalist and her expertise comes to the fore in her analysis of threats to biodiversity and the dramatic loss of species and varieties in modern times. She also reviews various negative impacts posed by biotechnology on fragile southern ecosystems and the dangers to southern economies.
You don't have to agree with all of Vandana Shiva's views, BUT, you should read some of her books for what she has to say and what she represents. MONOCULTURES is a good starting point.
--author of The Gardens of Their Dreams: Desertification and Culture in World History