Towards a Healthy Planet, Healthy People; Poison Free Food & Farming by Vandana Shiva, Ph.D

Towards a Healthy Planet, Healthy People; Poison Free Food & Farming by Vandana Shiva, Ph.D



[Applause] thank you I grew up in the Himalayan forests and for me it was natural to recognize that we are part of nature and every time I read about the illusion and the false assumption that we are somehow outside nature and we are masters and owners and controllers I realize that that illusion is at the heart of both the threat to the planet and our health everything we do to the earth we are doing to assess because we are part of the earth we are not separate from her you're not outside her every process that works for a healthy planet works for healthy people and of course you could go into ancient thinking in in India we think of the five elements the pancha Mahabharata the earth the water the fire the air and most interestingly space because we forget that the configuration in space changes properties that mad cow disease epidemic of the United Kingdom eventually when they did the work on what was causing that spread of infection it wasn't a virus and it was in a bacterium it was a self infective agent and all it was was a distorted protein its chemical Constitution was exactly the same but it was now distorted in its structure in a space orientation it was given the name prion it was given a Nobel that the discovery was given a Nobel price space matters space matters to those poor animals who are in factory farms space matters in terms of how we are feeling the ecological space of other species which nourishes we have an ancient way that called the issue open Ishod called the issue open Ishod which says this universe is for all beings enjoy her gifts without greed because you cannot take other people share and other species say and then it goes on to say taking more than your share it's theft it's theft from other species theft from other people and pepp from future generations and that's where we are but the future generations are now waking up and saying you can't steal our future the intergovernmental panel on climate change met and the cop off of the climate treaty met in poland in in december and all of these young children 10 years old 15 years old was spent sending messages there was one beautiful one from across the world it really touched me it was just before Christmas and it said all I want for Christmas and here were these children speaking from around the world of what's going wrong some were talking climate change some were talking species extinction some were talking hunger and at the end of hit each of them said what they want all I want is a future all I want is a future now how could humanity have reached a stage where the future generations whom we're supposed to be taking care of are telling us all I want is a future my civilization and the indigenous cultures of this land always talked about the seventh generation then we must step so lightly on the earth that seven generations to come benefit from a step and if seven generations to come are harmed don't take that step that in contemporary science is called the precautionary principle enshrined in international law and it's the violation of both the precautionary principle the violation of the rights of future generations of other species and other human beings that has also led to the disease epidemic the chronic disease epidemic now my work I'm basically my life's journey started out with this very beautiful movement I was going off to Canada to do my PhD and before leaving for Canada I wanted to visit my favorite mountain spot and carry it with me and I was going to do this Trek and the forest was gone and had been converted into an apple orchard and the stream that came out from that oak forest was a trickle like to be able to swim in it and now it adjust to my ankles and for the first time I realized in the early 70s we can harm nature and I'm sitting at this tea shop there called giant dabas all along India's roads nice hot cup of chai and I talked about how such a short time this stream had disappeared and the forested God and this man says oh but now there's hope because Chipko has started so I asked him more and Shipka means to hug the women of the high mountains had come out to say you're not going to cut these trees we're going to hug them you'll have to kill us before you kill the trees because these trees and forests are our mothers from they come soil and water and pure air eventually when they were plants the government woke up to say yeah I our forests and rivers have something to do with each other and not just Mines and now with climate change they're waking up to the fact that we learned as little children that when we exam carbon dioxide it's the trees and the forests and the plants that convert it to oxygen and give us back our life-giving air interesting thing is the tweet is an interesting phenomena for you particularly because you're being governed by it if you don't know what the tweet is it's the silly little limited letters that you can put so my colleagues insisted that I start tweeting now initially I would put my best idea of the day and they finished don't with La Sofia it's for comments and I've been censored a lot and my tweets have been stuck my websites come down my emails come down but that's part of life I'm waiting for the day if 5g never happens and I have a very minimal relationship with all of this new I call it digital slavery because if it's feeling my time and my mind of course it's slavery and we have witnessed in India how it was used to steal the money of the biggest economy of the world an economy measured not in terms of the money that gets transacted but the real wealth of people it was literally stolen two years ago to force digitalization to force digitalization it was called the monetization it's the big debate in Indian politics even now if you look at just two central figures 75% of all damage to the planet it's coming from the industrial food system seventy five percent three I think three years ago there was a big Expo in Milan the Milan Expo and the theme of the sex book because it was in Milan was how to feed the world because the Italians are passionate about food and they made me an ambassador and I was asked to write a book on who feeds the world so I did a book called who really feeds the world because this feeding the world in propaganda and that's feeding the world with the real LD stout and when I was putting together both our research in India through the research foundation for science technology in ecology and the United Nations research whether it be of the FAO or the United Nations Environment Program or the United Nations Development Program all of it was pointing to the 75% destruction of the planet in terms of climate change the greenhouse gases up to 50% from an industrial food system and the figures are they in the UN FCC in the production itself of industrial food that if fossil fuel intensive farming and chemicals derived from fossil fuels like synthetic nitrogen fertilizers which are made interestingly by blasting fossil fuels at very high temperature to fix atmospheric nitrogen and for one kilogram of synthetic fertilizer you use 2 litres of diesel but it isn't just that you're using fossil fuels and that's contributing to climate change synthetic fertilizers emit a gas nitrous oxide which is 300 times more damaging to the climate system than carbon dioxide and it's been missing in the climate debate I just got a letter from Germany where young people are saying we've got to free the soil free the soil of these synthetic fertilizers and their interest in addressing climate change and they've woken up to the fact that you can't just talk carbon and you definitely cannot equate living carbon with dead car dead carbon is the carbon of the plants and the sea life that the earth buried deep within myself and fossilized into what his fossil fuels the gas the oil and I think the fact that the earth put had put it all under the soil deep down basically which the age she was saying hands off keep it there keep it in the ground and it's not that we didn't know it's there because there's histories of First Nations using tiny bits for lighting of the Burmese the Burma shell was the far among the first the Burmese used to use it for lighting but it's a little little bit and then we created Standard Oil which had to be broken up later for antitrust and all was pushed everywhere all was pushed everywhere including in synthetic fertilizers they were partnerships between IG Farben the group of companies the cartel that was responsible for all the human rights violations in Hitler's Germany and Standard Oil there was a company called standard I'd refer and standard I do follow the money is to move it was interesting she would move for weapons to fight each other and then it is to move for the foundations of the tools that then became the foundations of industrial agriculture and in those days they used to say we are now going to make bread from a because the technology of blasting fossil fuels at high temperature fixed nitrogen was originally a technology for making explosives and ammunition later they said oh we can use it for fertilizer and that's why it's not an accident that so many of the bombings are fertilizer bombs the Oslo bombings that young man was collecting fertilizer and then blew up the government office Afghanistan I was giving a talk once and they were sick it was a security meeting and there was a high-level security person from the US for the first time I realized that we've created the problem for ourselves in Afghanistan because when we were trying to get the Afghans of the Soviets we started to give huge amounts of urea as gifts so every heart has sacks of fertilizer and now they're making fertilizer bombs that's where the material is coming from so the idea was we won't need soil we'll make bread from a that was the kind of arrogance but not only is it messing up the climate the water in which the nitrogen fertilizer mixes it's killing all life in water and if you look in all the oceans as the fertilizer runoff moves their dead zones being created and they're growing by the day when no life can exist in the oceans they literally called dead zones by the United Nations so eleven to fifteen percent of greenhouse gases come from industrial production fossil fuel use nitrogen fertilizer use and the nitrogen planetary boundary is the most severely ruptured boundaries of her and the third source is meeting animals in factory farms emit methane because of the food they're fed they're fed grain not grass basically herbivores are called herbivores because they live on grass they live on a plant-based diet and I've had these huge debates because FAO produced a report the long shadow of livestock but our life stock our cow is a sacred cow and she's not admitting me thing she's giving us the most beautiful blessings in her urine and a cow dung we worship the cow down in a festival around the valley Warburton puja Gobert is cow dung gobordhon is the wealth in the cow down puja is a prayer and they asked me how do you know that they don't emit methane I said simple methane stinks I grew up in my mother's my Research Foundation is in my mother's former cowshed and the cows name is tank there was no meeting we didn't have food waste of the scales we have developed 2% two to four percent of the greenhouse gases most of it meeting come from food waste you just go past a waste garbage down 50 percent of the food we grow is wasted in the industrial system the first reason it's wasted is they've celebrated uniformity as quality of safety and I have in my country as they tried to bring such laws on hygiene and sight of a notorious Anna's sanitary and phytosanitary measures and I remember the first draft we had a good law on prevention of food adulteration you can't add to food something that doesn't belong to food and should not be eaten and we will fight in coca-cola because it adds all kinds of stuff that are inedible to coca-cola including phosphoric acid an antifreeze that's put in cars for temperatures like this so the thing is higher and we found out what it has and I'd helped women the reason I was even working on this issue was we women in South India had called me 20 20 now 23 2010 or maybe even earlier time passes so fast but they call me for Earth Day said why is a village celebrating Earth if I think coca-cola I went out of inquisitiveness and learnt then that for each bottle of coke there's 10 bottles of water destroyed and the water of this very water rich area had been mined 1.5 million litres of water per day and when I was leaving that evening I asked my Lama who'd led the struggle she's no more I said what do you want me to tell the people in Delhi in those days I could call a press conference and the press would come these days the press is owned by big money it doesn't cover independent reports of any kind so I asked her what do you want me to say when I get back to Delhi she said tell them when they drink coca-cola they drink the blood of my people I've never ever been able to even look at a Kindle a bottle I mean that brownish liquid to me was disgusting from the beginning and we've just lost a former industries minister George Fernandes a dear dear friend who founded with me the movement for India's freedom in the period of globalization he just passed away but in 1977 he had thrown coca-cola out for financial corruption when he came back to globalization and then the women of Platt Ramada threw them out so when this movement was growing we started a campaign to establish Coke and Pepsi free zones everywhere four thousand schools joined we got young people to talk to their grandmothers what did we drink in summer we brought back all the indigenous fruit drinks they're a part of our culture we have a little book the latest edition is called biodiversity in a glass and four thousand schools when coke pepsi free in our organic cafe in lille in the Dilli Haat you still see a bigger poster for Pepsi free zone so when people want to Kindle a border Lisa sorry not available and of course there's this constant attempt to make it look like it's primitive to drink your grandmother's drinks and I think only grandmother's food should be the future there should be no other food around but now even the Airlines a copy and he'll sell his fruit drinks the Panna this beautiful raw mango drink that is brilliant for avoiding heatstroke and of course my favorite the fresh lime nimbu pani we used to serve it all the time disappeared now in some airlines they're serving in the pani except that the Coca Cola is trying to make a fake drink fresh lime we're going to see a lot of fake fresh a lot of fake fresh I've just written a piece if you go to the seed freedom website you will find a piece I've written on how this new report is on on eating right is is sustaining the non sustainable model and it turns out that there's a whole new coalition they call themselves fresh it's a coalition between this totally new forum call eat for Romans Stockholm and all the players who grew up who have destroyed the planet and destroyed our food and I have BASF by a who now owns Monsanto when Santos name doesn't show up in these places because by is Monsanto Cargill the ones who's messed up the world's guides by dumping bad food with a four hundred billion dollar subsidy that's the global agriculture subsidy that goes to them to Cargill their noni DuPont I'm reading out the familiar names Google there in your plate now Kellogg's Nestle olam PepsiCo they're trying to make the form of PepsiCo chief the world bank chief now yeah yeah yeah I mean that's the latest have we heard that Ivanka's favorite candidate is Indra Nooyi who was head of PepsiCo Syngenta Solvay and Yara the world's biggest synthetic chemical fertilizer company they're going to bring you fresh so that's why offending truth and real and real food is now a survival imperative it's not a luxury of a few rich people it's necessary for us all but let me come back to the figures that add up to the 50% of climate change driven by industrial food systems so we've normally miss out a figure that I added when I wrote my book soil not oil which is precisely on the subject land-use change in deforestation is 15 to 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions now why is land being lost to forests in the Indonesian rainforest it's palm oil expansion and palm oil isn't everything now and in the Amazon it is GM so I expansion that's why it's no longer enough to just say plant-based plant-based soya sprayed with glyphosate roundup ready GMO soya that chop down them back Amazon destroyed the lungs of the planet doesn't do you good and it doesn't do the planet good the two are inseparable and then in processing and transport and packaging in retail its twenty percent India had no garbage twenty years ago in villages we served in leaves the city went with a cloth bag the women packed in recycled paper they made it all in legal packaging was made a requirement and I support women's group that do art is not processing and every few weeks we have the inspectors arrived and finding us because the women wrote by hand the word rupees because they don't have computers in the village there are printers in the village but they monk the most disabilities namkeen when I was coming to the u.s. there was a new big installation at the Delhi Airport by PepsiCo about how they're growing ecologically friendly and one of the installation was the chips packet you know the chips come in element in packets and on the package they had put 78% plant-based I said now this miracle of PepsiCo you know they have the miracle of turning good enough food into terrible stuff the chips that are spreading obesity how did they do the miracle of making aluminium out of plants because basically for them it's just imagining that people will walk through believe this is true and take the package and not feel guilty about being part of the garbage and our Prime Minister has even launched a huge program called Swach Bharat clean India and I always say till you stop the industry that creates bad food within the package and garbage in the package is making us dump garbage within our bodies and thump garbage outside and you give them tax concessions for 20 years and you allow them to rip off the farmers I'll give you the figures I mentioned yesterday the bt cotton suicides last year so I started in the potato area we don't have a potato area we are not faroan faroan grew potatoes I mean we grow but it was a little sub G I look up around Heights and wonderful but we didn't grow it in miles and miles of mines and the most fertile land of the world that the Ganges has created by depositing silt from the Himalaya over millennia in that area there's potatoes being grown now and last year the farmers were selling potatoes for 5 rupees for a bag of 50 kilos of potato now 70 rupees makes one dollar so divide 75 rupees can imagine what it is I think less than five pounds for 50 kilograms now Pepsi takes that potato that it got for 5 rupees for 50 kilograms and gives you 20 grams for 20 rupees and also the aluminum package that they are now pretending is made of plants because I think you all have infected them with plant based they think it's so fashionable to say plant base so even aluminium now is becoming plant base material renewable resources the IPCC which is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its recent report released for the Poland sumit has warned that we have exactly 12 years to make a transition after that things will be so catastrophic that making a change will not be possible and whether it is the IPCC or the biodiversity convention no scientists around the world they're talking about a decade window the biodiversity convention is talking about the sixth mass extinction now why are in suddenly disappearing a few percent are gone 80 percent and among the insects are the pollen a just the butterflies and bees because you've created a whole body of chemicals whose only job is to kill the war on bugs is in the design of industrial agriculture therefore why are we surprised when bugs disappear and we made it look like every insect including the wonderful pollinators that give us one third of the food we eat a bugs you should be scared of get rid of them kill them exterminate this logic of extermination that came from Hitler's concentration camps is everyday in our farms and every day in our plates until we learn to take turn that around and make the logic the logic of the celebration of life we will not be able to begin to start to heal the planet and our bodies now 75% of the bees are gone in chemically intensively farmed regions and 90% of the monarch butterfly because the monarch feeds on the plants that are killed by roundup so of course Monsanto gives a little money for a little patch to keep those plants alive to keep the bees alive whereas extermination carries on the navdanya farm where we save seeds and we protect biodiversity we did not really start out thinking of ourselves as conservers of pollinators but they came we grew so much diversity so many flowers the food was abundant we have six times more pollinators on the farm in dune rally than in the forest next door and our research has shown that every third spoonful we eat it's not produced by us produced by the pollinators because we shut off the pollination and the beans were 1/3 less the production was 1/3 less and of course there is this terrible technological hubris that it doesn't matter we'll always be able to solve every problem we've created with another technology so if the technology of pesticides destroyed our pollinators what are they looking for robot bees now we have 20,000 species of pollinators and of bees alone and just for a coffee crop 22 trillion pollinator visits are made to apply all they've got with this machine is the ability that it can lift itself and they're really thinking that gives them the right this clumsy machine gives them the right to external external 8 the pollinators that feed us and I believe they have a right not only because they feed us they have a right because they are all beings have a right to be on this planet and if the mechanical worldview which started with the fossil fuel age gets lured on the colonial worldview that declares that they are superior races and their job of civilizing is extermination which is what they did to this land 99% people gone that civilizing the Barbarian through extermination in a way that crudeness of thought is coming back with the superior race idea all over its infecting every society it's just that we have such a diverse planet that who will be the superior race where is a big diverse but superiority is uniform around the world so 50% of the damage to the climate it's coming from industrial agriculture but most people don't even think of food as an element in climate change part of it was they moved to energy because fossil fuel was energy they said okay let's have alternative energy not remembering that the first energy is food food is energy and for those of you with a little little familiarity with Indian thinking we don't just think in terms of energy we think in terms of different forms of energy there's the sattvic with regenerates the rad sic that excites the thumbstick that makes it heavy and that's the reason good food rejuvenates you but good food is also cyclic for the planet and I think it's only when those concerned with eating the right way and those concerned with climate change start to put food and how we grow it as a missing piece we won't be able to address problem that's what I've been doing when I looked at the data not because I was looking at the data for climate change you know I made a clear choice in 92 at a Convention on Biological Diversity and I wrote my speeches of my ministers for the Earth Summit but then I said I'm going to give my time to the protection of life on Earth and biodiversity and I'll save seeds because it was so urgent because you know the Monsanto lobbyists used to be in the corridors and I said these guys are evil and so I'll put all my energy into biodiversity and seeds and there are the friends who look at how many percentage increase is happening with the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere today not only do we realize that 50% of the greenhouse gases come from an industrial food system that also gives us bad food that is responsible for 75% of the chronic diseases then when we shift to ecological agriculture and biodiversity based systems we are finding an answer to the climate change problem in two ways both by reducing the emissions because if you're not using if you're not destroying your small farms you're not using heavy fossil fuel when you're doing organic you're not using synthetic chemical fertilizers when you have symbiotic relationships between farming families and animals and trees and crops you don't have the methane emissions and when you don't have these long-distance change and uniformity you don't have food waste I mean India we've never known food waste what we don't eat the car will eat and what the cow won't eat goes into the compost as I've seen in this lovely been you've been composting so why should there be food waste everything is food everything is something else's food that's what happy that's terrace and mycological learning has taught me that the web of life is a food web and food is the currency of life we even say unknown Romani food is an embodiment of the divine therefore give it respect therefore be thoughtful about how you grow it and in the Tetra open assured it says the growing and giving of good food is the highest Dharma and the growing and giving a bad food is the highest a Dharma they cover the lives in food is that the heart of the right way to live on this planet so when we do organic farming we are literally taking the excess nitrogen out of the atmosphere and through the nitrogen fixing crops putting it back in the soil so you keep talking about plant-based proteins the same plant-based proteins are nitrogen fixers and they fix atmospheric nitrogen in a very nonviolent Gandhian way not the violent militarized way of making synthetic fertilizers every time photosynthesis happens living carbon is being created and carbon is not the problem the dead carbon is the problem that's why constant when they see decarbonize Bill Gates get angry to decarbonize the planet as a mr. gates you'll be totally dead if your decarbonize because we are living carbon our food is living carbon the planet is living cup is the dead carbon that's the problem and we need more living carbon and zero dead comma so when every time there's a little leaf that's growing it's doing photosynthesis it's fixing that that's very common putting it back into the soil very belong pulling it out of the atmosphere where the excess doesn't have to build up we have proven ways both in nature as well as in 10,000 years of farming and the future 10,000 years of good ecological farming and good ecological food production we have ways to heal the broken carbon cycle and the broken nitrogen cycle that are at the root of climate change now the interesting thing is when on the treat my one tweet that's getting blocked is when I explained the simple phenomena of how plants and he the planetary distribution there's a panic because they don't want you to know that you can work with nature to address these problems because they want to have geoengineering to blast artificial volcanoes they want geoengineering to pollute that must fear with chemicals and they call it cooling the planet and I've had debates with some of these brilliant scientists many of them are Nobel laureates and I'd say but when you so-called cool the planet by putting a layer of pollution in you're doing exactly what the problem is because the greenhouse gas gases are creating a layer of pollution and that's why the problem how do you expect that same pollution to now be a solution but more importantly than that when you block down to the sunshine what on earth is going to happen to our agriculture to our food to our trees oh I don't look at that it's not in my project and that's part of the problem that science has become so reductionist and so fragmented and so much in tiny linear boxes that it doesn't see the relationships and doesn't take responsibility for them I did physics inspired by Einstein and for him responsibility was a central piece of the creativity of science that you could not separate the technical dimensions of using a tool and the ecological and social dimensions of the consequences of the use of that tool that was all part of one action and you were responsible for it I remember President Bush had a favorite program that didn't go through them he wanted to put reflectors in the sky to send the sunshine back and I remember writing a piece at that time I said the Sun is a blessing not a problem the problem is the pollution that's preventing the Sun from coming yeah and the heat of the Sun to escape again so we have this disease of constantly naming life as the problem and the extinguishing of life as a solution to every problem we've created by harming life in the first place if you move from the climate disaster to the soil disaster the Intergovernmental Panel on biodiversity has said that the degradation of land is the single biggest urgent issue because it is dislocating dispossessing people and they're refugees all over the world now but three years ago it was the year of soil I'm on an International Commission on the future of food that was started by the president of the region of Tuscany claudio martini at that time and this International Commission meets a few every few years to address a key issue and we produce a manifesto we call it manifesto for fan we're not writing a masked line we're not expecting I mean we do it for clarity we did a manifesto on the seed on the food on climate change on the knowledge systems when the 2008 Wall Street collapse happened we did a manifesto knowledge because the crisis is a crisis knowledge and in the Europe soil not only was it a year of soil but it was the year where all these boats were crossing the Mediterranean and they were sinking there's an island in Italy called Lampedusa then now the crisis has moved to Greece because more refugees are coming from Syria it's got to make sense of this explosion in the refugee crisis in the context of soil and we had the former Secretary General of the UN Convention on desertification I don't think you even know about it because the New York Times won't cover this convention there's a convention on land degradation and desertification and Noah was part of this group of experts and together we wrote in with we focused then on two cases of the link between the refugees and the soil the first was Africa where one of the biggest lakes Lake Chang has shrunk from 22,000 square kilometers to nothing why is the water gone because 80% of the water in from the rivers that feed this lake is being diverted for commercial commodity agriculture for international trade so the lakes rang up but there are people nine million people who depend on the lake as fishermen as pastoralists as farmers and as the water starts to shrink conflict start I did a book for the United Nations called ecology and the politics of survival on conflicts over Natural Resources way back in the 80s that's so many conflicts that are named religious are actually conflicts over a damaged earth and trying to find your little bit of water your little bit of land a little bit of food the Arab Spring the UN recognized the Arab Spring was really about bread because when they started to march they were marching with bread the vendor who killed himself in Tunisia was a vegetable vendor who was being made illegal to sell vegetables under these new safety norms it was a bread revolution so of course the conflict really was between different communities losing their livelihood but because of the way Africa has been colonized the pastoralists have stayed Islamic and the settled agriculturists were converted to Christianity so instead of seeing that it's two communities desperate over disappearing water it was named a religious conflict and Boko Haram and everything else came out of it my book on the violence of the Green Revolution shows exactly this trajectory of conflicts in the Punjab in 1984 and take Syria 2009 they'd had a very severe drought before that they'd have the Green Revolution like India and Green Revolution requires 10 times more water to grow the same amount of food so they had mined all the ground water and the rain didn't come a million peasants became refugees their livestock died they moved to the cities but the World Bank structural protest meant prevents governments from supporting farmers you can subsidize agribusiness but you can't support your farmers so the government was not allowed to support the farmers and then within two years the arm started to flow and the war of Syria which is a war without end who's fighting whom nobody knows anymore but half of Syria is refugees half of Syria Fertile Crescent the agriculture started and if you start making a map of how many regions are being just devastated both directly by the attack on the earth and indirectly by attack on the economies that are sustained by the and the livelihoods that map is the map of the world we are living in and land in water crisis that are created on the ground and now linked to the greenhouse gas emissions also create vulnerability the same systems that contribute to climate change are more vulnerable to climate change our work in navdanya has found that the more diverse your system the more easily you can deal with a drought the more organic matter in your soil the more you can deal with water scarcity 0.5% organic matter that's all point five percent organic matter can contribute eighty thousand liters to soil you'll never have a drought because your soil becomes the reservoir and what makes it a reservoir is the making of humans with the mycorrhizal fungi and the aggregation of soils the soil therefore becomes like a sponge holds the water and then the rains might fail but your soil is dry your crop and just like in all other inputs whether it's fertility or it's controlling pests with pesticides with the water we've forgotten that the soil is a source of water and we're thinking in irrigation is the only way we'll get water and so in this country you've mined now ala Ghana Africa aquifer in India the land of Punjab the land of five rivers is today under a severe water crisis and it's said in 10 years time they might have no water and in fact the problems of Punjab were water conflicts 20 engineers had been killed for building a canal that would take the water out of Punjab to other states it's often said the Wars of the future will be around what I said today's Wars also around water I wrote a book on this cold water was because so many of India's rivers are now sources of conflict where they'd leave me the subtle age or the cavalry or the Krishna or the Godavari and when we have a national anthem we think of all these rivers as our River goddesses and because we violated them today instead of nourishing us they become the source of conflict and of course we are polluting them with water pollution from chemicals being a major source now is polluting industrial farming that gives us 75% chronic diseases and also is destroying 75% of the life support of the planet and 50% of the climate balance it gives us only a pathetic 50 percent of the food we eat and that too is bad for I have 30% the small farms the small farms give us 70% of the food we eat and this is FAO data the Food and Agriculture Organization data in fact they say this year they say 80% the last year they were saying 70 to say 70% 80% of the food we eat comes from small farms that are only 20% of the land only 20% of the land now if you take the 30% that's destroying 75% of the planet and you enhance it through the force and the brute force with which it's being imposed I deal with it daily in my country all kinds of new tricks the latest be oh you don't have to farm anymore take 17 rupees a day 17 rupees a day that's five cents a day and live in a land in a world of privatized water privatize electricity privatize education privatize help and you don't grow your own food this direct payment issue came out of agribusiness in this country at the beginning of the World Trade Organization discussions now arriving in India and though and Monsanto has said now they're going to be farming without farmers with drones in the sky spy way in the tractors tractors that honed have drivers driverless tracked everyone's going crazy about driverless tractors we don't need tractors in the first place so all of it I mean the three convergences you know we should be having a convergence of human life and the rest of life on this planet our food and the food system and the food we're what we are getting a convergence off is the destructive technologies and they power the destructive chemical technologies that became the bio technologies and the control over seed the destructive control over money that they now call FinTech just because 5g is part of it they just put tech behind anything and expect us to sit back and say we won't ask a question we won't resist you know if you're threatening our freedom and our life we will resist in the nonviolent ways in which Gandhi taught us that resisting brute force and the theft of our freedom is our duty for being on this earth and the third that becomes part of it is the information technologies they're working very hard in the World Trade Organization to have zero taxes so Amazon anyway steals taxes but now they want to legally have a right to pay no taxes so here you have a regime that's taken ninety-nine percent of the wealth of the people concentrated it in the hands of you they're integrating amongst themselves there's no boundaries between them anymore and they want to pay no taxes this is the debate in your country this is the debate in my country I believe anything that harms the earth anything that harms our health anything that is against democracy should be taxed well you chop ace it's a law the polluters should pay including the 5g pollution it's a different kind of pollution but it is into electromagnetic pollution and the mining of our minds I mean look at what Facebook did it mined our data sold it to Cambridge and Ithaca which then sold it to the political system and as it's often said the first artificial intelligence president you have in White House now because artificial intelligence put him there and of the people and this convergence is part of what we have to deal with in terms of soil soil is a very being we are the soil and an ancient way that says in this handful of soil as your future take care of it it will take care of you destroy it it will destroy you so the history of every civilization that has gone is a history of the destruction of soil every civilization and the fact that India and China are still here is because we took care of the soil we got up in the morning before we put our foot down we apologized to the earth before we put a plough we apologize to be the atharvaveda if you want to read so beautiful text these are poetry's to the earth they're not religions they are the divinity in the earth and in life and that's why for me they are so inspiring the idea that food is the beginning of the life process and it's the circulation of the life process is exactly where our solutions to the threat to the planet and the threats to our health will come now health begins in soil it begins in soil because it's in the soil that we start producing you and he'll just imagine something is so wrong with an agriculture and food system where we imagine that what the soil need is synthetic nitrogen phosphorus and potassium that's an NPK NPK that's it and every bit of it is then killing the soil so we started to do organic farming and we started to do organic farming because I didn't want non-violent farming I didn't want our farming to be like whoa I'd watched what it did to Punjab we just completed a 20 year study 20 years in our valley Doone Valley different organic farms including the nirvana farm so that chemical farms in Doone Valley have lost organic matter by 14% organic farms have increased organic matter between 29 to 99 percent depending on the crops they're growing the total nitrogen we imagine when we pour URI on to the soil we are increasing nitrogen content of soil in the chemical farms nitrogen has declined by 7 to 22% we're losing nitrogen through nitrogen fertilizer in the organic soils we've increased it by 21 to 107 by not applying urea you're actually growing the nitrogen because the organisms are growing the nitrogen via available phosphorus up 63 percent inorganic zero increase in chemical available potassium – 22 in chemical where you're applying potassium up 14 to 84 percent in organic and you know now they want to do bio engineering for zinc because there's a zinc deficiency the thing has gone down 37 percent in chemical chemical farming is a way of stealing our nutrients it's gone up 14% and I had a public health visitor from Australia when she saw this data she said I now understand why 50% of the teenagers who come to us and have depression and we've traced that that depression is because of zinc deficiency it's because of the way we are growing our food attention deficit it's known to be because of magnesium deficiency seventy percent decline in chemical 14 percent increase in organic ayran 12 percent decline and it's not just what you do to the soil it's how you grow your biodiversity when we grow biodiversity and I said the yield per acre is just not enough of a measure because all it's measuring is a commodity it's weight not looking at its nutrition and equating nutritionally empty toxic food with nutritionally rich healthy food it's very wrong measure so I've started to look at biodiversity as the outcome of agriculture and we started to do biodiversity based productivity taking everything that a farm grows because good farms grow biodiversity good firms grow pollinators good farms grow community good farms grow proud farmers those are outputs humans are not just labor and labour is not just an input into the farming system if you see how do they say they've grown more food over these years through industrial farming how do they say we are more productive you know what the calculation is it'll shock you all they do is take labour as an input the fewer people there are on the land the more productive your agriculture you might be producing less food you might be producing worse food but driving farmers out is your indicator of productivity I was giving um an annual talk in Goa for the chief minister of Goa and there was ahead of her IT business who had made some remarks before my talk and of course you know the information technology business is thinking is running the world you know they become the new rubber barons of the world they are the new billionaires and they really feel what I aren't being treated like Emperor's so he said we should have a separate queue way we don't do immigration anyway why should we have passports we should stand with the riffraff in immigration queues and we've created such growth in the world and it's agriculture that's driving growth down and therefore we need to reduce the denominator you know when productivity is a ratio of output per unit input input is the denominator he basically was saying in very mathematical ways let's get rid of the farmers and when I had to speak I began with that I said you've contributed hugely but you are an equal citizen to the smallest peasant of this country they are not a denominator for your calculation they are those who bring us food and health and freedom we are not inputs we are co-creators and co-producers the farm system so what we did a few years ago with is we took 200 farms drawing biodiversity organically and comparing them to chemical monoculture farms overall we found a hundred and six percent more copper sixty-one percent more manganese two hundred forty three percent more mana bidam sixty four percent more sink 72 percent more trace elements taken together and very roughly that is how protein per acre carotene paper you don't need Golden Rice they're gonna push Golden Rice Emily from 2008 Oh children are dying of blindness we must put carotene into the rice it's seven thousand percent less efficient in providing carotene then our lovely marina I meant a coriander I'm eighty seven thousand percent less all we need is Gardens everywhere with diversity gardens everywhere we need to reclaim this earth from be a devastated planet where the chemical industry has declared war against people in the land we need to turn this earth into a beautiful garden and we have someone in the audience over showing me how here in Long Island he has created a garden because what the earth is asking for is unloved that's all she's asking I love NRK and the most efficient farming systems that give us far more nutrition folic acid energy I mean trace elements iron you don't need 75% Indian women to be iron deficient they are because you're growing only rice and wheat and then polishing it and removing all the nutrients and you're killing the capacity for people to garden their food but it isn't just the pay as I'm the pursuit of productivity is based on the idea of labour as an input and the fewer the farmers the more efficient your agriculture and when the WTO globalization started the agribusiness lobbies were there and we had ministers who'd say oh we need fewer farmers to be more efficient and we did two calculations for them the first calculation was if you come and they were saying we must become like America with 2% people on the land 2% you have more people in jail then on the land we should put everyone out of jail onto the land [Applause] we worked the calculations had given the kind of absorption in urban employment there is if you're destroyed as a farmer how many years will it take it was more than four centuries so quite clearly no one's going to be waiting for centuries for a job but more importantly than that it's the fact that farms with more intensive inputs from people from human beings actually produce more I want to show you some data that needs to be far more prevalent these are grants from the Food and Agriculture Organization and they're on total output of food not yield of a single commodity which is very different you can just grow a lot of rice or a lot of soya bean and nothing else but total output is what matters what the farm is growing and it's the index here is the size the smaller the farm the more its producing that's unknown scientific fact small farms produce more look at any indicator and why do they produce more because they bring something the agribusiness cannot the love and care the tender loving care the TLC factor and there is no factor more important than TLC in the food system yes mama mama cooks so well because she brings tender loving care to the food and that care is what allows more production to happen the mo by reverse intents your farm the more by rivers output its producing and our research is showing we could feed to India's if we farmed with by diverse intensity rather than chemical intensity and removing farmers from the match 2 times India's population this issue of scarcity oh my god 9 billion people 9 billion we can feed like that if he grow real food it has in any case the biggest expansion right now of the commodities that are being grown in the Green Revolution it was rice and wheat and corn today it is GMO corn and GMO soya is it being eaten by people ninety percent goes for biofuel and animal feed ninety percent only ten percent is being used for feeding which is why we have a hunger emergency 1 billion people without food and actually the disease epidemic and hunger are two sides of the same coin of a malfunctioning food system that isn't designed to feed people it's designed to maximize profits and maximize carelessness if you see the advertisements i remember we didn't have roundup in india it's still not approved monsanto spreading it illegally but i in bangalore i saw a wall painting and it had a woman's hands tied up in greens and it said liberate yourself use roundup that working with plants is slavery and the reason you have so much industrial food is I remember used to have a lovely advertising image of Betty Crocker Betty Crocker was to liberate us from our kitchens and I now I'm sometimes taken to two new buildings especially where super-rich finance people are living now and the buildings have no kitchens they have a TV and a microwave next to it so you're making all this money a million a month and eating junk we need new indicators of true well-being I work with the government of Bhutan and in Bhutan they said we won't measure GDP will measure happiness so I help them with the transition to organic and they have created a happiness index I think the food and sustainable agriculture ecological community should join hands to make a well-being index for all life on Earth and all human beings and what should be excluded what should be banned by ji-hee GMOs toxic chemicals all of that doesn't have a place at all so of course we can grow more food without destroying the planet in fact we regenerate the planet in growing real food and the reason is quite simply because we are a continuum with the earth you're not separate and all beings are a continuum we created these very crazy Iraqis you know men superior to women white superior to blacks rich superior to poor superior races we declare nature as dead people I declare plants as vegetative now the interesting thing is the roots of vegetable is in Latin it's full of life to be a vegetable is to be full of life but we've changed the meaning to vegetate means to be dead in the hospital so enjoys on life support they've turned into a vegetable I'm writing a new dictionary I'm writing a new dictionary of how every term was turned on its head to allow this 1% economy and the Poisson economy to explode crop life is the name of the lobby group of the pesticide industry crop life sanitary and phytosanitary measures are the name for shutting down all healthy and safe food women in England could not bring cakes to hospitals on Sundays he was considered dangerous industrial food in packages was considered healthy and safe in India they tried to shut down all our edible oils and we did the sir saw such a gray I mentioned Gandhi's word for the force of truth for fighting unjust brute law which is also practiced by Thoreau who doesn't come from very far from here his Walden Pond is right here and when he was being forced to pay the poll tax he said I will not pay because my paying the poll tax means I'm supporting slavery and he refused he went to jail for a day Gandhi practice sucked a great throughout his life first against apartheid in South Africa said we are one humanity we can't be divided by race against the compulsory planting of Hindi go against the salt tax when I started navdanya I started the seeds of the grass and no matter what law you bring our duty to the earth is to save our seas our duty to future generations is to hand over seeds in the purity in egg Beauty diversity in which we received them therefore we will not obey your laws that come in the way of this higher duty to the earth and our fellow humanity we've done thus also cetera where they tried to ban our local oils they tried to ban Gandhi's cold-pressed milk two years ago and I was called and I did a sonogram and what was the criteria for shutting down Gandhi's heritage milk because it didn't have a lab and two chemists now when something's hazardous you want to measure the hazards but when something's pure and you're cooking it yourself that direct relationship is the verification so I'm now working like I'm requesting you to join a movement on doing a new index of well-being in the continuum of life on Earth I'm working on a new system of safety and well quality in food with the women's movements of India we have creating local groups because our local food is being shut down under the pseudo hygiene measures if it's not packaged it can't be brought we want to give to each other open without the plastic without the aluminium with a lot of love to each other and a guarantee that I have grown this with love and quality and those who are eating it I don't like the word consumer because the word consumption in the Middle Ages was the word for TV you died of consumption and we are dying of consumption and we are killing the planet of our consumption we're telling the planet of consumption and we are canning killing the planet of convenience 5g fertilizers pesticides when I ask people I said why are you so addicted to constantly having your food I mean you see how we are like zombies we're sitting next to each other and like that we've forgotten community we forgotten communion we forgotten neighborliness before and family we forgot an earth family so what I've been trying to do over the last fifty five decades is cultivate earth democracy that the ultimate democracy is the democracy of being alive and sharing this life with other life and being aware of the vibrance and the cooperation that it calls for and I can see that no matter what it has been it could be a rivers life could be a forest life it could be the life of our farms and our soil it could be the seed it could be a women's groups making the most delicious food it is at the end of it about the democracy of life and the celebration of diversity as equality we've been made to believe that uniformity is equality but uniformity creates hierarchies the measure of whiteness creates the inferiority of the black the measure of maleness and patriarchy creates the domination over women the measure of anthropocentrism creates the domination over the natural world it's those dominations that we need to transcend now and and for me there's a new book we've done it's called annum in India and there's of acres publications that works on sustainable agriculture they've just brought this out in in the US it's called food farming and health and it's the consolidation of all our work that interfaces our work on AG organic farming biodiversity soil and health and they're automatic doctors who've written chapters here their public health specialists who've contributed so do look for it and this book called biodiversity our ecology and regenerative organic agriculture will also be published this year by them it's our 30 years of learning of how we can address every problem we face through protecting biodiversity practicing agro ecology and promoting regenerative agriculture whether it be the problem of the disappearance of species whether it be the problem of the disappearance of water the degradation of our soil the destabilization of climate systems the disease epidemic the hunger and malnutrition or the destruction of our farming families 31 years of a lot of labor of love in there but I want to conclude by the final connection between the planet and our health the world is why diversity but we often forget that we are biodiversity we are seven ninety percent non-human only ten percent of us is human and in our gut are the gut bacteria a hundred thousand times more microbes can our gut than on people on the planet and a specialist on the mind on the mind gut relationship says for decades the mechanistic militaristic disease model set the agenda for medical research as long as you could fix the affected mechanical part we thought the problem would be solved there was no need to understand its ultimate cause we were just beginning to realize that the gut the microbes living in it the gut microbiota the microbiome constitute one of the major components of these regulatory systems and the signaling molecules that they produce from their vast number of genes the reason you need as much diversity in your food you have to first grow it and eat it it's because the gut is an amazing intelligent system it's actually being called the second brain the inter or nervous system there's more neurological activity going on in the gut and in the brain and the fact that so many neurological disorders are growing because of the food we eat is because of the connection to the gut specific molecules and phytochemicals found in herbs and spices activate specific taste receptors and trigger particular metabolic processes sweets receptor stimulated absorption of glucose into the bloodstream and released the insulin from the pancreas when they send glucose and just because they in turn are industrialized sugar let's not forget there's been lots of natural sugar we make organic gold the sugar cane was domesticated in India in the Ganges basin it's a lie that Columbus found it somewhere in the Pacific Islands it's been used from the ancient tanks you can go back to the Jane test and the Buddhist essence there's a lovely Jain temple where it's supposed to have been domesticated where the Prasad they give Prasad is the sacred food a little bit of sugar cane juice and we make gold natural sugar and Shekhar and Buddha and hundreds of ways of artisanal processing and these are complex sugars they don't contribute to diabetes either way that actually recommends them as part of a diabetic diet we are just starting to figure out again because not that systems like either way they which is the science of life did not know but we forgotten I mean make mechanistic thought and industrial farming has been nothing but a forgetting how life works and celebrating killing as a substitution for living we need to get rid of that thinking because it is it's given us a century of ecocide and genocide the eco site has exploded in the last 30 years as the industrial model has globalized the genocide which was so directly the objective of the original use of the chemicals in farming which became chemicals of farming the chemicals that were evolved has again become a genocide whether it be the genocide of the farmers the three hundred and ten thousand farmers who've committed suicide in India the two hundred thousand farmers annually who died of pesticide poisoning this is data according to the UN Rapporteur on food or the sicknesses that are becoming the biggest killer the chronic disease is there this is a genocide it's nothing less than a genocide and we have to stop both the Eco side and the genocide and the Eco side and genocide will stop when we turn our backs so the mindset and the tools and the technologies that destroy life chewed the intelligence and our capacities and our potential to regenerate life protect life and create life in abundance we need to once again become conscious that food is living and eating is not a mechanical act but the most significant act for maintaining healthy lives and the life of the planet eating is a conversation between the soil the plants the cells and I got cells in our food and between our gut and a brain eating is an intelligent act of the deepest cellular and microbial level and I would say spiritual level to eating is an intelligent act the cellular communication is the basis of health and well-being it is also the root of disease poison food creates disease we need might be ignorant about the links between food and health but ourselves know we can be fooled with fake labels but we can't cheat our gut microbiome and because food carries with it the memory of the biodiversity in soil and the plants how food is grown is a major determinant of health through the ecological science of agroecology and ayurveda our minds could catch up with the intelligence of the earth our bodies its doshas it says it's microbes which are trying to alert us to the dangers in our food and environment for the disease epidemic it's time to regenerate [Applause]

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11 thoughts on “Towards a Healthy Planet, Healthy People; Poison Free Food & Farming by Vandana Shiva, Ph.D

  1. Grass fed cows emit loads of methane! From both ends. Saying they don't is a false and unscientific statement.

  2. I don't need to be convinced on plant food, it's an no brainer, dairy, poultry and fish, I can do with out that, but there are so many plant base foods can someone give me a link on what I should eat, the china study says one thing and another says don't eat honey or soya milk and wheat, help!!

  3. Brilliant! I could not love this more. This needs to be seen and shared far and wide! Thank you for all you do! 💚🍎🥦🥕🌎

  4. You are an amazing lady….all the rulers of the planet should be in control by people like you, non negotiable. Most people are just plane stupid, and that is the problem.

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