This story of an Environmentalist amazes me of how one person can dedicated her whole life for a natural cause. Her story is really an amazing and inspiring.
She was born in 1952 in Dehradun, India to a forest officer and a mother who loved farming. She cultivated a love for nature at a young age. She studied physics in Punjab University at the age of 18 and just before she went to Canada at the age of 25, a trip to a forest that she knew from childhood changed her life.
When she went for a walk through Oak forest, the trees were gone. It had been chopped down to start different plantations. That’s when she realized we are destroying our forests and rivers this way. She decided to dedicated her life for the forest protection. She spearheaded Chipko, an organized resistance to the destruction of forests. Chipko movement got its name where people hugged in order to them from getting cut down. The forests teaches us diversity. It teaches us freedom and democracy.
At the age of 33, she sent a report to the Supreme court that led the the court to ban limestone mining in Doon valley. Villages around were amazed by her work and went to her little office in Dehradun and said, “If we started Chipko of mountains to stop the mining, will you join us?”. She agreed in spite of having a little baby with her. They together stopped the last illegal mine with the chipko of the hills. At 35, she created a furore when she wrote in a book that India’s green revolution was responsible for killing farmers,instead of helping them.
The same year, she attended a United Nations conference where she learned about chemical industry’s growing effort to genetically modify and patent seeds. In the conference they said that they are not making enough money selling chemicals, so they got to make from seed and the way they can do it is taking intellectual property rights and patents to seed. That means they will do genetic engineering to claim their invention.
At 39, she set up an NGO, Navdanya, to stop the use of genetically modified seeds in India. She helped block multinational companies from patenting “Neem”, “Wheat”and “Basmati rice”. She is popularly known for making it almost impossible for India to adopt any genetically modified food corp. She said, “The farmers have carried too big a burden in this country, now eaters should realize it’s in their interest to have real food from farmers not the fake one.
At 52, Time magazine called her an environmental hero.
Forbes counted her as one of the 7 most powerful feminists on the globe when she was 59. She is Vandana Shiva, the crusader fighting genetically modified crops in India.
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow”.