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The woman who began hugging trees: Vandana Shiva

Shiva is a physicist, economist, environmental activist and author based in India. At present, Vandana Shiva is one of the most influential intellectuals of the International Forum on the Globalization, as well as a noticeable member of the anti-globalization movement.

During the seventies, Vandana Shiva participated in Chipko, a movement formed mainly by women that adopted the environmentalist tactic of hugging trees to prevent their felling (giving rise to the term “treehugger”) and the quick desertification that the state development programs were causing on the subcontinent.

In 1982, Shiva created the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, that promoted initiatives such as:

  • The Navdanya Program, in order to encourage and implement organic farming.
  • The study and preservation of biodiversity, at the same time as monoculture paved the way for the subsequent establishment of genetically modified cultivation. To this end, they created the Seed University and International College for Sustainable Living.
  • Promotion of women’s commitment to the ecologist movement with the organization Diverse Women for Diversity.
  • Regeneration of the “democratic feeling”, through the Living Democracy Movement.

In 1993, in recognition for her dedication to the ecologist movement, as well as “for placing women and ecology at the heart of modern development discourse”, Vandana Shiva received the Right Livelihood Award, known as the Alternative Nobel Prize.

International forum on Globalization

This Indian intellectual is one of the most noticeable leaders of the International Forum on Globalization, next to thinkers like Jerry Mander, Edward Goldsmith, Ralph Nader and Jeremy Rifkin, among others.

Shiva has fought for the reporting in different international forums on the wisdom and convenience of traditional practices, an argument she lays out in her book Vedic Ecology.