GEOG 430
Human Use of the Environment

Shiva 2008 Soil not Oil


One of India’s leading physicists, Dr. Vandana Shiva is also a prolific author, world-renowned environmental activist, and eco-feminist whose work focuses on the fundamental connection between human rights and protection of the natural world. A fiery critic of globalization and the WTO, Shiva is a controversial crusader for biodiversity, women, and the world’s poorest and most populous nations.

In her book, Soil Not Oil, Vandana Shiva connects the dots between industrial agriculture and climate change. Shiva shows that a world beyond dependence on fossil fuels and globalization is both possible and necessary.

Condemning industrial agriculture as a recipe for ecological and economic disaster, Shiva’s champion is the small, independent farm: their greater productivity, their greater potential for social justice as they put more resources into the hands of the poor, and the biodiversity that is inherent to the traditional farming practiced in small-scale agriculture. What we need most in a time of changing climates and millions hungry, she argues, is sustainable, biologically diverse farms that are more resistant to disease, drought, and flood. In her trademark style, she draws solutions to our world’s most pressing problems on the head of a pin: “The solution to climate change,” she observes, “and the solution to poverty are the same.”

(Registered students can access a copy of this reading in Canvas)