This week on “Moyers and Company,” host Bill Moyers welcomed scientist, philosopher and activist Vandana Shiva, who, in his words, has become “a rock star in the global battle over genetically modified seeds.” Shiva was trained as a physicist, but has become an outspoken voice against the predations of giant global firms like Monsanto and Coca-Cola. She is the author of several books, including her latest, Making Peace with the Earth.
Moyers remarked that Shiva is facing an “uphill battle,” being one woman against some of the most powerful corporations on the planet. Shiva replied that under the teachings of the sacred Hindu text, the Bhagavad Gita, duty comes before any thought of outcome.
“You do not measure the fruit of your actions,” she said, “You have to measure the obligation of your actions. You have to find out what’s the right thing to do. That is your duty. Whether you win or lose is not the issue.”
Shiva has fought the Coca-Cola company, who were part of an effort to privatize water rights in India. She is currently fighting Monsanto, the global seed and chemical company, whose genetically modified seeds were expensive failures on the Indian subcontinent, bankrupting thousands of farmers, many of whom committed suicide.
In response to the devastation wreaked in her country by GMO (genetically modified organism) crops, Shiva founded Navdanya, a group dedicated to the restoration of a native Indian seed bank and a return to nine crops (Navdanya means “nine seeds”) that have sustained India for thousands of years. The group supports the rights of small farmers, who produce the bulk of India’s food.
People who forget the value of the small, she said, are victims of what she calls the “dinosaur mentality,” which “only sees the big.”
“We forget,” she said, “that dinosaurs go extinct.”
Watch the interview, embedded via Moyers and Company, below: