It was a nonviolent response to the large scale deforestation in the Himalaya region. In the 1970s peasant women in the Garhwal, Himalaya had come out in defense of the forests. Vandana Shiva noticed a steady loss of forests in this region. She decided to become a volunteer for the movement.
Bio-diversity – Navadanya Farm / Navadanya Movement
Chipko Movement taught Vandana Shiva about biodiversity. She realized the importance of biodiversity based living economies. She started Navadanya, the movement for biodiversity conservation and organic farm in 1987. Vandana Shiva has worked with farmers to set up more than 100 community seed banks across India. They have saved more than 3000 varieties. This is a transition from monocultures to bio-diverse ecological systems. To demonstrate her experimentation, she started Navadanya Farm in 1994 in the Doon Valley in the lower elevation Himalayan region of Uttarakhand Province. They are now able to conserve and grow 630 varieties of rice, 150 varieties of wheat and hundreds of other species. Thus they practice and promote a biodiversity intensive form of farming that produces more food and nutrition per acre.
Rights of Nature / Separatism – eco-apartheid
Vandana Shiva interestingly talks about how the UN General Assembly organized a conference on harmony with nature as part of Earth Day celebrations inspired by the constitution of Ecuador and the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth initiated by Bolivia. This emphasizes the significance attached to the mother earth much against human domination over nature. She upholds the view that human beings are an inseparable part of nature. So, she feels that today, we do not need an apartheid situation which once divided people based on colour. Our challenge now is to overcome eco-apartheid based on separateness of humans from nature.
The Dead Earth / Industrial Revolution – Capitalism – Exploitation This separateness paved way to industrial revolution replacing vibrant earth and turning it into a dead matter. This has further led to Capitalism and Consumerism which exploit natural resources indiscriminately. Thus Terra Madre (Mother Earth) was replaced by Terra Nullius (the empty land / the dead earth).
The Earth University / Earth Democracy The Earth University located at Navadanya biodiversity farm is an inspiration from Rabindranath Tagore which teaches Earth Democracy; to recognize, protect and respect the rights of other species. It is a shift from anthropocentricism (human centric) to ecocentrism (nature centric).
Forest and Freedom / Enoughness – principles of equity
The last section of this essay is adapted from “Forest and Freedom” written by Vandana Shiva published in the May / June 2011 edition of “Resurgence”. This highlights Tagore‟s view of forest as the source of beauty and joy of art and aesthetics of harmony and perfection. The forest teaches us union, compassion and Enoughness. It teaches us enjoyment through renunciation and not through greed of possession. Thus Vandana Shiva concludes that it is this forest that can show us the way beyond this conflict.
POINTS TO REMEMBER
1. Vandana Shiva is a prominent environmental activist. In these passages, she writes about how she came to realize about our environment. She joined the „Chipko Movement‟ to protest against large scale deforestation in the Himalayanregion.
2. Peasant women from the Himalayan region were also involved in deforestation on the mountains that had led to landslides and floods, water and food scarcity and also fire-wood scarcity.
3. They hugged trees as loggers try to cut them.
4. Vandana Shiva gother Ph.D. in 1973. Then she decided to join Chipko Movement and did Padayatras to document deforestation and to promote Chipko Movement.
5. During her involvement with Chipko, she learned about bio-diversity and economy dependent on it, From theexperience gained she started ‘Navadanya Farm‟ for demos and training. 630varieties of rice, 150 varieties of wheat andhundreds of other species are conserved here.
6. Ecuador adopted’right to nature‟ in its constitution and in April 21 U.N GeneralAssembly organized „harmony with nature‟ as a part of earth day celebrations.
7. In his report „Harmony with nature‟ UN General Secretary says that by destroying nature, we have failed to recognize that humans are inseparable from nature and by destroying nature, we destroy ourselves.
8. People from all over the world agitated against Apartheid and stopped its practice.
9. The roots of exploitation of the earth is based in this idea of separation.
10. The earth’s resources were made into raw materials and waste generated, pollute the earth.
11. Nature is the best teacher it teaches us to share and save, the earth university „Navadhanya’ trains people aboutecology.
12. India‟s national poet Rabindranath Tagore started Shantiniketan to impart learning in natural surroundings. In his essay “Tapovan’ he explains the importance of nature in a human’s life.
13. Forests teach us to live in harmony with nature.
I. Answer the following questions in a word, a phrase or a sentence each: –
1. How did Vandana Shiva develop an interest in ecology?
Ans: – Vandana Shiva learnt about ecology and ecosystems from the forests of the Himalayas.
2. What is „Chipko movement‟? Or What is „Chipko Movement‟ according to Vandana Shiva?
2. What were the ill effects of logging of wood?
Ans: – Landslides, floods, scarcity of water, fodder and fuel.
3. What is a rhododendron?
Ans: – An evergreen shrub with leathery leaves and bell shaped flowers.
4. How did Vandana Shiva spend her vacation?
Ans: – Vandana Shiva spent her vacation doing pad yatras, documenting the deforestation and work ofthe forest activists and spreading the message of Chipko.
5. Which village did Bachni Devi belong to?
Ans: – Village ofAdwani.
6. What was the real value of forests, according to the women of the Himalayas?
Ans: – Profit, resin and timber
7. What do the forests bear, according to the women of the Himalayas?
Ans: – Soil, waterand pure air.
9.What is the movement for bio diversity conservation and organic farming?
Ans: – Navadanya.
10.Which country recognized the “Rightsof Nature” in its constitution?
Ans: – Ecuador.
11.Name the country that universally declared the Rights of Mother Earth.
Ans: – Bolivia.
12.Name the South African environmentalist who pointed out that apartheid means „separateness.‟ Ans: – Cormac Cullinan.
13.Terra Nullius means ________.
Ans: – The empty land.
14.___________ and _____________ replaced a vibrant Earth.
Ans: – Raw materials and dead matter.
15.What does Terra Madre mean?
Ans: – Mother Earth.
16.Who is known as the „Father of modern science‟?
Ans: – Francis Bacon
17.Earth democracy is a shift from anthropocentrism to………………
Ans: – Eco – centrism
18.Who were the participantsof the Earth University?
Ans: – Farmers, school children and people from across the world.
19. Name the courses offered by the Earth University.
Ans: – TheA-Z of Organic farming and Gandhi and Globalization.
20.Name the essay written by Tagore.
Ans: – Tapovan.
21.Diversity without unity becomes the source of conflict and _______
Ans: – Contest.
22.According to Tagore, forest teaches us union and ___________
Ans: – Compassion.
23. Who is the author of „Tapovan‟ – as mentioned in „Everything I need to know I learned in the forest‟?
Ans: – Rabindranath Tagore
24. Where is the Earth University mentioned by Vandana Shiva located?
Ans: – At Navadanya Farm / Doon Valley
25. What does the Earth University reach; according to Vandana Shiva?
Ans: – Earth Democracy.
26. Name the movement which took place in the Himalayan region to save trees.
Ans: – Chipko Movement.
27. Where was „Navadanya Farm‟ started by Vandana Shiva?
Ans: – In Doon Valley, Uttarakhand
II. Answer the following questions in a paragraph of 80 – 100 words each:
III. Answer the following questions in about 200 words:
1. How did women led by Bachini Devi put up resistance to felling of trees? Do you think it was effective?
Ans: – Bachini Devi,
along with other women led a resistance against her own husband, who was a forest contractor. To show that these men were blind to the destruction of nature, they held lighted lanterns in broad daylight to open their eyes to make them realize that in destroying forests they were destroying themselves. Yes, they were successful in agitation and made the authorities realize their folly.
2. Why is it important to promote the biodiversity intensive farming. How did the author achieve it?
Ans: – The author Vandana Shiva learnt about Biodiversity in the Himalayan forests. She used this knowledge to protect biodiversity of farms. She started saving seeds. To promote biodiversity she started the „Navadhanya Farm‟ in 1994 at Doon Valley Uttarakhand. Through their efforts they have conserved 630 varieties of rice, 150 varieties of wheat and hundreds of other species. She also promoted organic farming in 1987. At the farm, they trained farmers and also used for demonstration and cultivation of more than 3000 varieties of rice. Biodiversity has helped in growing more quantity and nutritious food. It has helped in achieving food security. Because of biodiversity hunger, starvation and malnutrition have been reduced and as a result human has has improved and many diseases caused by malnutrition are reduced.
3. What does the idea of the Earth University convey? How is it different from other Universities?
Or Write a note on Earth University mentioned in Vandana Shiva‟s essay. Ans: – The earth University, Navadhanya conveys a democracy, which is the freedom for all species to evolve with the web of life, and the freedom and responsibility of humans, as members of the earth family, to recognize, protect and respect the rights of their species. Since we all depend on the earth, earth democracy promotes human right to food and water. The Earth University stands apart from other universities because teaching does not take place in a concrete building but in the natural surroundings of the „Navadhanya‟ where participants work with seeds, soil and the web of life. The students are farmers, school children and other interested people. The two most popular courses are „A to Z of organic farming and Argo-Ecology‟ and „Gandhi and Globalization‟.
4. “Conservation of diversity is crucial for substance of both nature and human society.” Discuss.
Or „Conservation of biodiversity sustains both nature and culture‟. Explain with reference to „Everything I need to know I learned in the forest‟ Or Describe the concept of Earth University by Vandana Shiva.
Ans: – “Conservation of diversity “is the answer to the food and nutrition crisis”. Biodiversity conservation is very important to sustain our growing population. By conserving diversity, we can ensure the continuous supply of basic needs of living beings like food, water, shelter etc. If it is not conserved, a chain reaction of natural calamities will occur. If we go on destroying our forest, soil erosion will have happened and it can cause great damage to humans, wild life and their properties. Lack of forest cover will lead wild animals to the cities in search of food and will lead to man-animal conflict. Forest cover is important for causing range. rains bring water to nurture forest and living beings. With enough water we can grow enough food for our growing population. Organic farming is a method to conserve biodiversity and for organic farming we need natural manure like cow dung, decomposed vegetation etc. So to get these we have to protect our cattle and the forests.
Organic farming promotes and increases in the number of livestock and free manure. By organic farming there will be less wastage of raw materials, less pollution and more nutritious food can be grown and this will increase the health of human beings and conserve our natural resources. It will promote cooperation and peaceful coexistence of human beings and all other creatures.
5. In the light of this essay how does one synthesize wisdom of the past with the modern knowledge system?
Ans: – Science and Technology and agricultural knowledge of ancient and modern times are being effectively used to conserve biodiversity. And biodiversity provides enough foods and fossils for our teeming population. To conserve nature, every nation of this world has to start cooperating with each other and should take drastic steps to prevent curbing and destruction of natural resources like forests, wild animals and human health.
6. What ideas of Tagore inspired the author to start the Earth University
Ans: – Tagore says that India’s best ideas have come from the forests where man was in communion with trees and rivers and lakes, away from the crowds. The peace of the forest has helped the intellectual evolution of man and the culture of the forest has fueled the culture of Indian society. The culture that has arisen from the forest has been influenced by the diverse processes of renewal of life, which are always at play in the forest, varying from species to species, from season to season, in sight and sound and smell. The unifying principle of life in diversity, of democratic pluralism, thus became the principle of Indian civilization.
7. Write a note on Vandana Shiva’s involvement in the Chipko movement.
Ans: – Vandana Shiva‟s involvement in the contemporary ecology movement began with the Chipko movement which was a non-violent response to the large-scale deforestation that was taking place in the Himalayan region in the 1970s. During this period, the peasant women from the Garhwal Himalaya, having realized that the forests were the real source of springs and streams, fodder and fuel, declared that they would hug the trees, and the loggers would have to kill them before cutting the trees. In 1973, when Vandana Shiva went to the Himalaya to visit her favourite forests and swim in her favourite stream, the forests were not there and the stream had become a trickle. It was at this moment that she decided to become a volunteer for. the Chipko movement. She spent every vacation doing Padayatras, documenting the deforestation, the work of the forest activists and spreading the message of Chipko.
8. “The conservation of bio-diversity is the answer to the food and nutrition crisis.” Do you agree?
Ans: – Yes. The conservation ofbio-diversity is the right step to help the people overcome the nutrition crisis because bio-diversity works on the paradigm of Earth Democracy and democratic pluralismwherein there is freedom for all species to evolve within the web of life. As members of the Earth family, it is the freedom and responsibility of humans to recognize, protect and respect the rights of other species. This way we bring into play the principle of equity. No species in such an ecosystem appropriates the share of another species and every species sustains itselfin co- operation with others. Secondly, bio- diversity sustains democratic pluralism because there are diverse processes of renewal of life always at play in natural eco-systems and they vary from species to species and from season to season in sight, sound and smell. All the species live in perfect harmony. Thus bio-diversity paves the way for enrichment of the web of life leading to abundance.
9. Write a brief not on „Chipko Movement‟ which took place in the Himalayan region?
Ans: – Chipko Movement is a non-violent movement against cutting down trees in the Himalayan region. Vandana Shiva was inspired by the songs about forests taught by her mother in her childhood. She became a Chipko volunteer and took part in a ‘Padayatras’ to make people understand the importance of trees and forests. She was happy when the village women hugged the trees to stop the loggers from cutting them. She wrote articles on ecology in newspapers and magazines to spread the message of Chipko movement. Indiscriminate cutting of trees led to landslides, floods and scarcity of water, fodder and fuel. Vandana Shiva wanted people to understand the value of forests and stop-cutting trees. Many women from the Himalayan villages joined her movement and became activists of the Chipko Movement.
10. What role does the forest play in Vandana Shiva’s life? Explain.
Ans: – Vandana Shiva says that she learned her first lesson in ecology and eco-system in the Himalayan forests which she later put to practice in her farms. Her ideas about bio- diversity and bio diversity based living economies prompted her to begin the Navadanya movement for biodiversity conservation and organic farming which she started in 1987. Later, in 1994, she set up the Navadanya farm in the Doon Valley where she claims to have conserved and grown 630 varieties of rice, 150 varieties of wheat and hundreds of other species. Based on these practices she tells the reader that the forests teach us union and compassion, principle of equity, and how to enjoy the gifts of nature without exploitation and accumulation and mutual co-operation.
KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER:
• Vandana Shiva started her ecological journey in theforests of the Himalayas.
• She joined the Chipko Movement.
• She liked Bachini Devi who opposed her husband to cut the trees.
• She used the methods of biodiversity on her farms.
• She started Navadanya Farm.
• The conservation of biodiversity became the answer tothe food and nutrition crisis.
• She started the Earth University to teach Earth Democracy.
• Earth Democracy is a shift from anthropocentrism toecocentrism.
• Rabindranath Tagore writes an essay “Tapovan”.
• Indian culture is with trees, rivers and lakes.
• The forest is the source of beauty and joy, of harmony and perfection.
• The end of consumerism and accumulation is the beginning of the joy of living
Ecological journey from the forests of Himalaya
Father-Forest conservator. Mother-a farmer
Logging-scarcity of water, fodder and fuel/women affected Bachni Devi‟s fight
Bio-diversity-intensive and organic farming
Navadanya Farm 1994
Rights of Nature- Ecuador, Bolivia and UN
Earth- a dead matter-industrial revolution
Earth University-Earth Democracy-freedom for species
Tagore‟s ideals-trees, rivers and lakes source of knowledge/thoughts
Nature- source of beauty and joy
Consumerism and accumulation