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Vandana Shiva Celebrates Women and Environment

2011 March 4
by Shared by Steve Rust

Around the world, gatherings are being held to mark the 100th celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8.  Here at the University of Oregon, ecofeminist philosopher and activist Vandana Shiva was the keynote speakers at an event celebrating of the triumphs achieved by women around the world and the ongoing oppression many still face.   Shiva, who has been serving as the distinguished Wayne Morse Chair at the UO Law School, lashed out at corporate agriculture and argued that while the world has been shocked by the death of more than a thousand people in Libya in recent weeks, little if any attention has been paid to the more than 200,000 Indian farmers who have committed suicide in the recent years.  According to Shiva these deaths are directly linked to the monopoly control over seed patents enjoyed by the Monsanto corporation.

Shiva went on to call for an ecofeminist approach to agriculture and economics.  Shiva laid out three basic principles of ecofeminism to the cheering crowd: 1) the earth is our mother and should be respected and treated as such; 2) patriarchal domination of both Western and Eastern societies has been achieved by a rhetorical conflation of women and the environment that allows men to treat both as commodities to be controlled by patriarchy; and 3) treating women and the environment as commodities has enabled the development of corporations which are committing eco-suicide on the planet.   Shiva has been criticized in the past for anthropomorphising the environment as a woman (Mother Nature) but she been very well received during her time at this campus.

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