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Vandana Shiva comes to Western Feb. 25

Photo courtesy of the AS Environmental and Sustainability Programs
Photo courtesy of the AS Environmental and Sustainability Programs

At the intersection of environmentalism, feminism, agriculture and a host of other disciplines stands Indian scholar and activist Vandana Shiva.

Western’s Associated Students Environmental Center is sponsoring a lecture by Shiva, a renowned writer and speaker on global food and biodiversity, on Thursday, Feb. 25. The event is expected to open up the discussion about climate change and its impact, said environmental and sustainability program director Anna Kemper.

“Her work is deeply interdisciplinary, drawing on indigenous knowledge systems, feminist studies, philosophy, physics and the hard sciences, environmental studies, postcolonial and deconstructionist theory,” Kemper said.

Shiva has written extensively on issues including biodiversity, traditional agricultural practices and environmental activism. In 2003 Shiva was named an environmental hero by Time Magazine, and in 2010 she was named one of the seven most powerful women on the globe by Forbes Magazine, according to her website.

Shiva founded Navdanya, an organization encouraging organic farming and better trading conditions for small-scale farmers.  She advocates for sustainable and non-genetically modified farming, and has been critical of large agricultural corporations. Shiva has lead these movements across the globe, and will be sharing what she’s learned in her talk at Western.

Anthropology professor Kathleen Saunders uses Shiva’s book, “Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply” as a textbook for her economic anthropology class.

“Her writing style is vivid in the description of the practices of multi-national corporations and the consequences to people on the ground. The material is very accessible and compelling,” Saunders said in an email.

Saunders explained that Shiva gives American students look at what’s going on in a culture different from their own. She said that many of her students end up being inspired by Shiva’s projects, such as her work with seed banking.

Sustainability Manager Seth Vidaña, of the Office of Sustainability, called Shiva a global leader in food and agriculture.

“Dr. Shiva’s work shows us that environmental, social, and economic [goods] are inextricably linked. She is a true sustainability advocate,” he said in an email.

Shiva’s lecture will take place in the Performing Arts Center at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 25. Tickets are $3 with a Western student ID and $12 for general admission.

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