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September 2020

Vandana Shiva in conversation with Barry Schwabsky

Care, Caring, and Repair in Cognitive Capitalism

In conversation with Barry Schwabsky, Vandana Shiva explores ideas relating to violence, colonialism, and self-sufficiency in a broad-ranging discussion around what it might mean to define one’s “proper share” in an age of unevenly distributed superabundance. Drawing upon themes developed in her recently published work, Oneness vs. the 1%: Shattering Illusions, Seeding Freedom (Women Unlimited, 2018), Shiva takes aim at the greed of the technocrats. With Locke and Hobbes as avatars of a colonialist and, later, capitalist mindset, she posits an alternative model to a self-interested competition for limited resources: self-organized collaboration, based on a framework of both quantum non-locality and ecology.

Vandana Shiva is an Indian scholar and environmental activist who has dedicated nearly five decades of her life to the protection of biodiversity. Shiva did her MSc Hons in particle physics at Panjab University in Chandigarh in 1973. In 1979, she completed and received her PhD in the foundations of quantum theory on the topic “Non-locality and Hidden Variable in Quantum Theory” at the University of Western Ontario. Her quantum training and her work in ecology have enabled her to understand the limitations of the mechanistic monoculture of the mind. Her scientific research and her biodiversity conservation work with local communities, especially women, have allowed her to evolve a paradigm of oneness and non-separability, which she refers to as the “biodiversity of the mind.” In 1981, she founded the Research Foundation for Science Technology and Ecology. Since 1984, she has dedicated herself to promoting nonviolent farming based on biodiversity. In 1991, she founded Navdanya. Her work has shown how through the conservation of biodiversity humans can produce more food, better health, and reduce hunger, disease, and poverty. She is currently based in Delhi and Dehra Dun, her hometown, where she established the Earth University and a biodiversity conservation farm. She has authored more than twenty books. She is one of the leaders and board members of the International Forum on Globalization (along with Jerry Mander, Edward Goldsmith, Ralph Nader, Jeremy Rifkin, et al.), and a figure of the global solidarity movement, which she refers to as the Earth Democracy movement. She received the Right Livelihood Award in 1993, the MIDORI Prize for Biodiversity, and numerous other awards for her service to the Earth, the protection of biodiversity, and people’s rights.

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