Sunday, February 14, 2010

Soil not Oil by Vandana Shiva - a book report

This is a small book, only 144 pages, but it is filled with dynamite. She clearly states her beliefs about the direction world leaders are taking on behalf of corporations. This is a theme I have been pushing on a personal basis for some time now. The difference is my thoughts are based on gut feelings; hers are based on incredible technical information that was very hard for me to understand. Perhaps you will do better?
Let me try to explain without resorting to the myriad of terms used by Ms. Shiva. She has particular animosity to the Monsanto and Cargill corporations. If you saw the documentary entitled Food Inc. you would understand her concern. These giants are on a world wide mission to have complete control of food production. With their “patents” they can demand that local farmers only purchase seeds from them. What the effect of this is that variety is sacrificed for increased productivity at an enormous expense for farmers. These patents were granted by our own Supreme Court, the same folks who just recently decided that corporations can spend any amount they wish on Federal elections.
Her premise is that the definition of productivity is all wrong. It is based on reducing the workforce on farms in favor of huge fuel driven machines. She points out the huge cost of transporting over thousands of miles by plane, ship and truck. All of which receive huge subsidies from the governments. The energy used to create the bio fuels, fertilizers and seed are immense. All of this adds to the concentration of CO 2 in the atmosphere which is accelerating global warming. The other tragedy occurring on a daily basis is the destruction of tropical forests to create land to produce bio fuels which in her and my opinion are not energy efficient.
She sees the return to farming worldwide as the solution to problems such as pollution, global warming and unemployment. I agree. In our own country huge giveaways are included in each year’s farm program with most going to the mega farms, sometimes just for leaving the ground idle. Her and my program would be just the opposite. Give the greatest assistance to the little guys. The acreage planted would be the same but millions of people could return to life on farms as it was just 30 or 40 years ago. Wouldn’t that be better than them migrating to cities searching for employment that doesn’t exist and going on the dole? What a man made tragedy and we sit idly by as if everything is OK.
Mrs. Shiva’s credentials are impressive. She was a leading physicist before becoming a world-renowned environmentalist. She won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. I found this book in the Public Library.

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