Shortly after a series of contentious events on the University of Wisconsin campus surrounding capitalism, Vandana Shiva, founder of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, presented some problems of the economic system and how small farms might have the ability to offer a solution.
The Soffa Distinguished Lecture titled “Women Lead the Way: From Violence to Non-Violence, from Greed to Sharing, from Hate to Love,” focused on small farms’ role in solving climate change and on women’s capacity to lead the world and humanity forward.
Shiva said because of the motivation to make a profit, capitalism can create greed and violence. But, the earth is not something that can be sold and exploited, she added.
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Shiva said the world is run by the 1 percent of people who hold enormous amounts of wealth, power and influence.
“Electoral democracy that should have been representing the people and being of, by and for the people is now of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations,” Shiva said.
Corporations like Monsanto, an agricultural company, want to get rid of small farms, when in actuality small farms are healthier organic options and provide better yielding land options, Shiva said.
Shiva said bigger farming corporations use harmful chemicals and promise smaller farmers they will produce more if they are by their side.
“[There is an idea that] corporations can be seen as persons that have the ability to influence democracy with money as their free speech,” she said.
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Shiva said these companies and corporations pollute the world with pesticides. Those who create pollution will be given contracts to clean it up.
If people want to fix climate problems, Shiva said they need to realize they are not separate from nature and cannot continue to play the role of conqueror.
Shiva said small farms are important to cultivate diversity and help the land regenerate its nutrients in an organic way. She said small farms produce higher yields of crops with better quality and those run by women are even more successful.
“We have to resurrect the real and in the resurrection of the real, it will be women who take the lead,” Shiva said.