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Dr Vandana Shiva: “Women are the first in the line of defence of the earth”

For Dr Vandana Shiva, women are the first in the line of defence of the earth, as she examined in her first book Staying Alive.

Dr Vandana Shiva: “Women are the first in the line of defence of the earth”

“When you look at vocalising issues or heads of big environmental organisations the environmental movement looks very male but on the ground it’s a very womanly movement.” The statistics speak for themselves; women produce 60-80 per cent of the food in most developing countries and half of the world’s food production overall. “Whether it’s stopping the harm or promoting an alternative it is women carry the burden.”

But indigenous people also have a large role to play in teaching us to defend and value the earth, says Shiva.

“When it comes to our relationship with the earth it is the indigenous people who have that knowledge. When it comes to destroying the earth industrial society has the knowledge. But we’ve reached the stage where industrial society’s knowledge will not see us through to the next step. It will be indigenous knowledge that does that,” the anti-globalisation author attests.

So what does Shiva believe will be the defining challenge of the future of this planet?

“It’s not going to be either or, it’s going to be a multiple series of things and on the other side solutions, which have a multiplier effect,” she maintains.

“The three big issues we will face in the future will be biodiversity, climate havoc and violence from the uprooting of people,” Shiva argues of the growing number of climate refugees.

She believes the solution to the multiple crises is an ecological paradigm shift that changes the way we think about the environment.

Currently, Shiva and her team are currently working with the government of Bhutan to help them become the first 100 per cent organic nations in the world, better yet the environmental activist says her movement’s plans extend even further than Bhutan: “we are going further, we are working on an organic North East India.”

Dr Vandana Shiva will be appearing at this years WOMADelaide festival, March 6 – 9. For more information visit

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