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Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply Paperback – January 1, 2000
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"A leading thinker who has eloquently blended her views on the
environment, agriculture, spirituality, and women's rights into a powerful philosophy." -- Utne Reader
"One of the world's most prominent radical scientists." -- The Guardian
"Shiva...has devoted her life to fighting for the rights of the ordinary people of 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
"Vandana Shiva is a burst of creative energy and intellectual power." -- The Progressive
Shiva's Biopiracy was named a "Break-Through Book" on Intellectual Property in Lingua Franca in July/August 1999 issue. -- The Publisher
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First, Shiva points out that many of the productivity gains attributable to the Green Revolution were achieved by dramatically increased inputs of fertilizer, seed and water. When one compares units of input with units of output, however, native practices produce higher yields -- especially when one takes into account the multiple uses derived from a single product.
For example, mustard oil is a vital product used by many of India's poor for cooking, seasoning, medicine and other uses. But it has been banned by the Indian government (under highly suspicious circumstances) in order to allow imports of soybean oil products. While giant corporations benefit from expanded sales, native industries have been destroyed, contibuting to poverty and malnourishment.
Shiva discusses the commercial fishing and aquaculture (shrimp farming) practices that inevitably result in environmental destruction and reduced catches. She compares this short-sighted approach with traditional Indian fishing techniques that have successfully sustained themselves for generations while protecting important ecosystems such as mangrove forests.
Shiva discusses corporate patenting of seeds, which insidiously transforms the cooperative ethic of seed sharing into a criminal offense. The author supports a non-cooperation movement in India that is resisting corporate attempts to claim ownership of seeds that have been cultivated by countless generations of farmers.
Shiva's sacred cow / mad cow metaphor effectively and appropriately contrasts agribusiness with small farming. India's sacred cows live in harmony with the environment, performing multiple services and producing multiple products for the community; whereas mad cows are a grotesque manifestation of an industrial system obsessed with uniformity, technology and profit.
Shiva also touches on the topic of genetic engineering (GE) and discusses the threat it poses to biodiversity, food safety and human health.
The Afterword to the book alludes to the WTO protests in Seattle. Shiva believes this watershed event proves that people are becoming more aware of the dangers of unaccountable corporate power, yet she believes that positive change is possible. This opening of consciousness to new possibilities may be attributable to the extraordinary work of people like Vandana Shiva, whose intelligence and compassion is abundantly evident in this book. Highly recommended!