Women, Sustainability and Biodiversity: The Work of Dr. Vandana Shiva

By Jennifer Michaels.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The Indian physicist Vandana Shiva (born 1952) has long been a recognized leader in environmental sustainability, biodiversity, and the empowerment of women and has written many books and articles on these issues. Her many activities include founding Navdanya (nine seeds), which promotes biodiversity and a return to traditional sustainable methods of farming. Its mission statement begins by emphasizing its goal “to promote peace and harmony, justice and sustainability.” Shiva co-founded Bija Vidyapeeth (the school of the seed) in 2002, whose goals, like those of its sister college, Schumacher College in the UK, include spreading the message of sustainability and educating for earth citizenship. Shiva acknowledges her debt to Gandhi. She observes, for example: “As Gandhi has reminded us: ‘The earth has enough for everyone’s needs, but not for some people’s greed.’” The many prizes and honors she has received, which include The Right Livelihood Award (seen as the Alternative Nobel Prize) and the UNEP Global 500 Award, both in 1993, recognize her leadership role in efforts to preserve the environment, to place women and ecology at the heart of thinking about development and sustainability, and for setting an example for the rest of the world. Through researching Shiva’s writings and actions, this paper will analyze the ideas and contributions of this remarkable woman and discuss her work as a model for other countries.

Keywords: Biodiversity, Economic Sustainability, Environmental Sustainability, Women’s Empowerment

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp.139-148. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 599.911KB).

Prof. Jennifer Michaels

Professor of German, Rosenthal Professor of Humanities, German Department, Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa, USA

Jennifer E. Michaels received her Ph.D. from McGill University in Montreal and is Professor of German and Samuel R. and Marie-Louise Rosenthal Professor of Humanities at Grinnell College in Iowa where she has taught since 1975. She has published four books: D.H. Lawrence: The Polarity of North and South (1976); Anarchy and Eros: Otto Gross’ Impact on German Expressionist Writers (1983); Franz Jung: Expressionist, Dadaist, Revolutionary and Outsider (1988); and Franz Werfel and the Critics (1994). Her main teaching and research interests are twentieth-century German and Austrian literature and culture, including migration to Germany and the development and history of the Green party that has been vocal against atomic power plants and very concerned about climate change and issues of sustainability. She has published numerous articles on German and Austrian authors that have appeared in a variety of journals and collections. At Grinnell College she has served on many committees, including chairing the German Department and the Humanities Division. She has been active in professional associations and has served as President of the German Studies Association, as President of the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association, and as the German Studies Association’s delegate to the American Council of Learned Societies.

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