OT OT Monocultures of the mind V Shiva..

OT OT Monocultures of the mind V Shiva..

Post by Cricketislife » Fri, 11 Apr 2003 11:16:28


Q) Moving from water to foodbiotechnology has been hailed as generating
tremendous benefits for the worlds hungry. You are one of its leading

Vandana Shiva: I view biotechnology through the lens of my experience
looking at the Green Revolution. It left farmers impoverished, so much
so that today theyre committing suicide. Biotechnology is working on
precisely the same linear path. The Green Revolution was about selling
more chemicals. Biotechnology is also about selling more chemicals. You
can make this out by looking at the two *** applications of the
technology to the commercialization of crops. The first is
Roundup-resistant or herbicide-resistant crops that can take high doses
of chemicals and survive. Thats a strategy to continue to sell
herbicides, not to reduce herbicide use.

The second most important category of crops is called Bt, Bacillus
thuringiensis. They take a toxin-producing gene from a bacterium called
Bt, put it into the crops, and the crops and plants are producing this
toxin in every cell of the plant at every moment. This is supposed to be
an alternative to pesticides. In my view, ecologically, these are
pesticide-producing plants. So not only are you spraying once in a
while, which is what you do with normal pesticides, you are now
literally producing toxins all the time. They are going to go into our
food. They are going into the food chain and the ecological web of life.
The most important thing is, nature is intelligent. Species are
intelligent. The one or two species towards which these are supposed to
be defenses, namely the earthworm family of pests, evolved rapid
resistance. Now theyre having a toxin released all the time. They make
mutations. Within a year or two you have an evolution of resistance in
the very pests you wanted to control. That means you now have to use
super-pesticides to control these resistant pests. These again are not
systems of reducing chemical and pesticide use.

As far as the miracles of providing us with nutritious crops, crops to
contain diseases, for one, its a myth. Golden Rice is a clear example
of a highly inefficient way to get vitamin A to the poor. It has been
established by the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and the
Food and Agriculture Organization that the only way vitamin deficiency
has been removed in poor communities is by giving women the diversity of
seeds that are sources of vitamin A. They are a thousand times richer
than Golden Rice will ever be. They havent even started to assess what
it means ecologically if we have vaccine-producing plants and what it
means in terms of hazards in the food system. If they could not keep
Starling corn, which was not supposed to be eaten by humans and was only
for cattle feed, out of the human food chain, what are they going to do
about vaccine plants that are not supposed to be eaten by humans? We
know excessive doses of any vaccine can become a source of problems
rather than a solution or a cure.

Vandana Shiva is an environmental activist. She is director of the
Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology in New Delhi.
She has pioneered research on biodiversity and indigenous ethnoscience.
Shiva is the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the
alternative Nobel Prize. She is the author of Biopiracy and Stolen
Harvest and more recently, of Water Wars - Privatization, pollution, and
profit. David Barsamian conducted this interview
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