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Seed saviour

Seed saviour

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An Indian woman who gave up nuclear physics to become a seedsaver and campaigner has won the 2010 Sydney Peace Prize, reports SIMON WEBSTER.

Dr Vandana Shiva’s conversion from scientist to ecofeminist came about when she was about to move to Canada to begin a PhD in quantum physics. Before leaving India, she paid a visit to the mountains she had walked in as a child, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.


She found the forests gone and the streams dry.


Shiva has since sued Monsanto, written books on the rights of women and the environment, and established Navdanya, a seedsaving network that has set up 55 community seed banks and trained 500 farmers in sustainable agriculture.


She won a Right Livelihood Award – the alternative Nobel Prize – in 1993 and is in Sydney this week to collect her Sydney Peace Prize, “For courageous leadership of movements for social justice – the empowerment of women in developing countries, advocacy of the human rights of small farming communities and for her scientific analysis of environmental sustainability”.


Shiva told the Herald: “For me seed saving became a way of defending freedom in the face of patents and trade rules which to me sounded like a totalitarian regime. We can’t have freedom if we don’t have seed freedom.”


Shiva appears in the documentaries The Corporation and The World According to Monsanto. You can read her profile here.