Vandana Shiva On the Dangers of GMOs

Until a few months ago, I didn’t know who Vandana Shiva was. Now I think of her as India’s Sitting Bull — a well-educated freedom fighter who is outspoken against the use of GMOs.

In Shiva’s home country of India, thousands of farmers are taking their lives. In the mainstream news media, reports of the mass suicides are blamed on failed crops. Shiva tells a different story. She blames failed GMO crops.

Monsanto comes to India promising illiterate farmers radical yield increases (empty promises), and in turn the farmer (usually for the first time in his life) takes on debt to buy Monsanto’s seeds. He then has to take on additional debt to pay for the accompanying herbicides, pesticides, irrigation, and machinery needed to make these GMO crops grow. If they don’t have the credit to buy the whole package — say they couldn’t afford to irrigate their fields and instead relied on rain which never came (or came at the wrong time in the sensitive lifespan of the GE plant) — then they experience a loss: no increased yields, and now mountains of unpayable debt.

The result? They take their lives.

You can understand why Dr. Shiva is so passionate.

Recently, she sat down for a three part interview with the folks at Cooking Up A Story. In this first part (shown below), Vandana Shiva begins to outline some of the environmental, economic, and health dangers associated wtih GMO crops.

It’s a must see.

Some highlights from this segment:

  • Monarch butterflies fed pollen from BT corn (a Monsanto GMO corn) die.  If it affects the butterflies like this, what is it doing to us?
  • How the use of GMOs adversely affect the food sovereignty of developing countries & the ability of nations to feed their own people.
  • The right of a people to have access to their own seeds, and to choose the traits they wish to propagate.

This blog post is part of the No-GMO Challenge blog carnival taking place each Monday. Please visit the No GMO Challenge blog for more stories about GMOs and other people who are doing the No GMO Challenge and their experiences of avoiding GM foods.

(photo by samirluther)
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I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.
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12 Responses to Vandana Shiva On the Dangers of GMOs
  1. Rosy
    April 27, 2009 | 1:53 pm

    I love Vandana Shiva!

  2. Julie
    April 27, 2009 | 2:51 pm

    So disturbing! Corporate greed combined with limited access to information (on the part of the farmers) and desperation to make money to feed the farmer’s family all combine for disastrous consequences. Those of us who have the information and know better must take a stand! We must demand change in how GMO’s are regulated (labeling would be a good start although banishment would be ideal!) and make sure we are not supporting corporations such as Monsanto.

    Julie

  3. KristenM
    April 27, 2009 | 2:55 pm

    Rosy — I know! Isn’t she awesome?

    Julie — I couldn’t agree more.

  4. Rebecca/CUpS
    April 27, 2009 | 3:24 pm

    Thank you for sharing, Kristen! Dr. Shiva is so amazing with her background work with the farmers of India, training as a scientist, and immense care for other human beings. She explains so well the concerns we *all* ought to have about genetically engineered food. It’s got to stop.

    Rebecca/CUpS

  5. Elisabeth
    April 27, 2009 | 5:17 pm

    I had the privilege of interviewing Vandana Shiva last November at the Soil Association conference in Bristol. Sheis true feminist, an academic but also down-to-earth. Her international lecture is here http://www.soilassociation.org/conference

    I thought you may like this news report from the international edition of the Associazione Stampa Agroalimentare Italia (ASAI). http://www.asa-press.com/newsletter/international/inews7.html#2

    “Almost three out of every four Italians (72%) feel that food containing genetically modified organisms is less healthy than traditional food. Therefore it is necessary to defend the

  6. trish from "grow lettuce grow"
    April 28, 2009 | 5:54 am

    rock on!!!!

    trish from “grow lettuce grow”

  7. KristenM
    April 28, 2009 | 12:44 pm

    Elisabeth — Thanks for sharing those links!

    Trish — Glad you liked it. :)

  8. Uncle B
    May 28, 2009 | 2:13 pm

    The enemy is the “Corporation”. We invented the corporation to serve us, and now they have evolved into a monster with lives of their own, driven by humans but controlled by a very synthetic and dangerous logic for extracting gains at all costs, and with impunity. The definition of a “Corporation” the laws guiding it and enforcing it, must be made to accommodate human needs and human realities. The corporation lives within capitalism and thrives best in democracies. The corporation and a particularly American brand of vulture capitalism are the cancers of democracy and can only be treated in the courts. This is not a call to socialism or any other “ism” it is a plea to resolve legal difficulties within the system before the system itself is bled dry by the vultures from within. Monsanto and Bayer typify these cancers, but are not alone – the rape of Wall Street and the 401K system is witness to more cancer, as is the astoundingly high rate if inflation about to befall the U.S.A. and the world. Vandana Shiva is one of the first intellectuals to turn on the powers that be, and reveal the truth. Hope that more follow in other fields. If they do not, we are doomed to living according to the prescription of others who have only their own personal interests at heart, and are very powerful. Fear This!

  9. letisha
    July 13, 2009 | 10:22 pm

    I actually saw a video about monsanto and GMO foods. I found it quite upseting and since then have protested any GMO food. Between the use of E. Coli to penetrate a cell-wall, the instability of that genetically modified organism and the unknown reprocussions for our future generations everyone should be worried. Monsanto has sued small famers because cross contamination between their seed and unsuspecting crops. Not only that but members of the FDA, EPA, and department of agriculture have at one point held positions as monsanto board members. They are the guys who give the “ok” to monsanto and pass off their products…. seems a little to easy right.

  10. Kathleen Stahlka
    October 10, 2010 | 2:00 pm

    I have been following an organic diet now for at least 15 years..Im amazed and saddened just how many people do not care what they put in their mouth…they will get their flu shots, manograms, colonoscopys, take their pills, but they care less about what they are eating.. I no longer get upset, I just look at the masses and I say to them, how can you be a healthy human, if you put chemicals into your body on a daily basis..And even more frustrating, you do not care, until you get a diagnois of Cancer…Thanks for this great site, I feel very welcomed here. And the knowlege is just amazing and so appreicated…Thank you from the bottom of my heart…

  11. Vanessa Hill
    December 20, 2011 | 11:46 pm

    Kathleen,

    Amen! I always see billboards and commercials about raising money for cures to illnesses like cancer, but then our society is so immersed with junk and fast food, GMO’s, too many carbs and sugars, chlorine and fluoride in our water systems, and we think we can turn to a magic pill to make it all go away when we get sick. We all need to wake up and realize the answer is right in front of us. Stop believing that food corporations care about our wellness and take your health into your own hands.

    How to do this? Stay away from vegetable oils and anything in processed foods (or just stay away from processed foods) that have soy, corn, cottonseed, canola oils in them. Your body will thank you for it.

  12. Vanessa Hill
    December 20, 2011 | 11:47 pm

    Kathleen,

    Amen! I always see billboards and commercials about raising money for cures to illnesses like cancer, but then our society is so immersed with junk and fast food, GMO’s, too many carbs and sugars, chlorine and fluoride in our water systems, and we think we can turn to a magic pill to make it all go away when we get sick. We all need to wake up and realize the answer is right in front of us. Stop believing that food corporations care about our wellness and take your health into your own hands.

    How to do this? Stay away from vegetable oils and anything in processed foods (or just stay away from processed foods) that have soy, corn, cottonseed, canola oils in them. Your body will thank you for it. Or, you can chance it, and possibly pay for it later. Better safe than sorry in my opinion.

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Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.
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