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Sunday, March 17, 2013


We all need inspiration to keep us doing work that is often unappreciated. Last week I received some much needed inspiration from Dr. Vandana Shiva. I have followed Dr. Shiva's work for many years. She has exposed the plight of farmers in India in their struggles with Monsanto's tactics of selling genetically modified (GM) seed and then not allowing the farmers to save the seed for future planting. It has gotten to the point where 250,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide because of this unfair treatment.

Dr. Shiva has written extensively about the failed promise of GM seed, plants, vegetables and fruit. The corporations developing genetic modification promoted this technique as a way to help farmers produce more crops and more nutritious foods. In reality all they have produced are crops that can use more of their pesticides and herbicides. The fact that most of the world has banned or severely limited the sale of GM foods except the US is partly due to Dr. Shiva's work.

I heard Dr. Siva speak at Making Brooklyn Bloom at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. She spoke about her non-profit Navdanya that has helped train Indian farmers in organic methods and set up seed banks throughout India. They are also starting school gardens working to introduce the youth in India to a healthy respect for the environment.

The most inspiring words from Dr. Shiva were that we should be thinking about our headprint - how our thinking is having a positive or negative impact on the environment much as our ecological footprint does. She also spoke about our heartprint and handprint - what we feel in our hearts and do with our hands is what has the potential to help create a livable, healthy world.