Back in April, I went to see Vandana Shiva speak atOCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design) in Toronto. I arrived to the event about one and a half hours early to get good seats. As I approached OCAD to meet up with my girl, Maggie, I saw Vandana Shiva standing in the grass with a few people giving an interview. I’m not sure why, but I hid behind one of the colourful legs of the building, and watched her speak.
She looked like a part of what she calls, “nature’s perfect design,” with her vibrant-coloured clothing and long, flowing hair swept up. Having seen her speak several times and having followed her work for years, I decided to come out from behind the pole and stand there, in the open, gazing at her as she spoke.
I didn’t care if she saw me, as I hoped she would know that I was standing there in awe and in solidarity of her important work toward the sustainability of this planet and our human communities therein. Just then, I saw Maggie approaching, so I snapped back into the task at hand – get good seats!
When Vandana Shiva spoke, she came back repeatedly to the idea that the earth has given us a perfect design to work with (after all, she was speaking at a college of art and design), yet somehow, we’re allowing the interests of a few to dominate the needs of many. Monsanto’s control of seeds was only one of the many examples she gave.
I was very pleased that a good portion of her talk was solutions-focused, and very, very positive. She discussed the organizations she works with, and the global movement to save seeds, in hopes of preserving some of the diversity that nature has given us.
One of the saddest points of her talk was to remind us of how many farmers in India have committed suicide in the last decade. Official government statistics put the number at 200,000. And that, folks, is more than a tragedy.
During the question-and-answer period, she was asked how she can face these massive problems every day with hope. Vandana Shiva responded that it’s easy, because earth is such a perfect design, she’s always amazed, delighted and filled with hope for the future. Besides, as she alluded to earlier in the talk, earth will always be around in some form or another. It’s our species that will pay the price for the way we’re living.
This post originally appeared on Folks Gotta Eat
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