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Vandana Shiva: Why Monsanto Is Fighting Tooth and Nail Against California's Prop 37

One of the world's most renowned scientists and environmental activists, Vandana Shiva, is speaking out on behalf of proposition 37 -- a California effort to label genetically modified foods.

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Kolhatkar: The economy is inextricably tied to how food is created, bought and sold in today’s corporate capitalist driven economy. The Monsantos and Walmarts rely on GMOs because they can own the patents and they can make money that way and the never ending growth model that we’re told is the only model for running our economic system assumes that there are never ending resources on this planet, which of course there aren’t. What do you see as an alternative to this global economic system that we call capitalism that is in many ways driving both climate change as well as the end of bio-diversity.? Do you back small scale capitalism and small markets or do you back socialist alternatives, etc.?

Shiva: I think we need a far more radical shift to deal with this new mythology of limitless growth. And that shift is taking place. It is taking place, for example, in that a country called Bhutan which said “we’re not going to measure GDP or Gross Domestic Product because it measures nothing but the commercialization and commodification of society.” If I cut my forest and sell off the timber, I have growth but I have no forest, I have no water.

This is why the Chipko movement, the first movement I was part of, said trees provide water not timber. Change your mind set.

Bhutan shifted to measuring “Gross National Happiness,” and not happiness in an empty way, it is happiness and well being. People need to remember that the original root of wealth is well being. Coming back to the real meaning of the term “economy” derived from “oikos” is looking after your home, looking after this planet. Ecology and economy were two sides of the same coin. Ecology was the science, economy was the management.

Aristotle said economia is the art of living. Chrematistics is the art of money making. We have taken the art of money making which has created the oligarchs and has allowed the stealing of our democracies and the creation of poisoned food, climate change and disappearing diversity — that art of money making is being called the art of living but it is really the end of humanity. It is time to reclaim our humanity, our future, and it is a very exciting moment.

The Government of Bhutan has asked us to help make them 100% organic because as the Prime Minister wrote to me, “ I can only see one way of growing happiness and that is growing organic.” They have also set up a think tank for every person anywhere in the world who is rethinking the economic paradigm. Ancient wisdoms are resurging again, the ecology movement is taking a new shape. The Women’s movement is saying this was never our economy. Feminist economists are saying if you put the well being of other species, the well being of humanity, at the center, you get another economics. Stop measuring money transactions, start measuring the health of our rivers, our forests, our children, our communities. It’s not very difficult. Most of the work is being done now. We need the political power to shift the crowd. Proposition 37 is that tiny little test case for many of the other issues that are related to this.

Kolhatkar: Vandana Shiva it’s always an honor to speak with you.

Shiva: It’s my pleasure and I wish all the strength to the vote on November 6th not just for Proposition 37 but for the larger election because both are about the same thing: Will money rule our lives or will we govern ourselves?

 
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