Friday, August 30, 2002

BS Award Update
Yesterday, I mentioned the BS award presented to Greenpeace at the Earth Summit. The group behind the award has a press release that claims that while Greenpeace was in the running, the winner was actually Vandana Shiva:
28 August, Johannesburg - At a mass rally today in Johannesburg, the winner of the Bullshit Award for Sustaining Poverty was announced. In a closely run race, the winner was chosen for her important contribution to sustaining poverty around the world, in her role as a mouthpiece of western eco-imperialism.

In front of a rapt crowd of farmers from Africa and Asia, the award - a plaque mounted with a cow manure, representing the traditional agricultural technology that the winner favours - was bestowed on Ms. Vandana Shiva. Other award nominees included Greenpeace International, BioWatch, SAFeAGE, and the Third World Network.

The award was bestowed on behalf of Indian farmers by Barun Shankar Mitra of the Liberty Institute in New Delhi, India, who commented:

"Vandana Shiva is an individual whose immense presence at the World Summit on Sustainable Development and other global meetings, and her passionate defense of poverty, has resonated as far as newspapers and TV cameras can be found.

"Millions of people rely on backbreaking labor and low-intensity subsistence farming, not out of choice but out of necessity, yet Ms. Shiva claims that modern agricultural technologies are too dangerous for the poor. But given the choice, poor rural farmers seize the opportunity to use modern technologies to improve their agricultural productivity. Ultimately, it is farmers who should make the choice over what technologies they use, not eco-imperialists such as Shiva. Farmers are the most important stakeholder in this debate and their voice must not be ignored.

Farmers are choosing modern agricultural technologies out of their own free will - and for good reasons. And by so doing they are benefiting the environment. Low intensity farming not only hurts farmers, but also endangers environmental quality. Poverty and environmental degradation go hand in hand - and modern technologies alleviate poverty and enable environmental protection. This means that we should empower poor people to use these technologies, to increase their consumption of resources, which will benefit them as well the environment."

Unfortunately, the goddess of poverty was not able to attend the event in person to receive the award (a sign that she is perhaps not omnipresent). Mr. Mitra invites her to accept it at any time during the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Liberty Institute ( is a member of the Sustainable Develoment Network (
Dubya ought to hire these guys, they know how to kick butt and take names!

And if you are unfamiliar with Vandana Shiva, Michael Fumento had a profile in NRO, The Villainous Vandana Shiva:
Attila the Hun, though widely regarded as a barbaric tyrant, is revered in Hungary. The same is true of Vlad Dracula in a region of Eastern Europe. Knowing this makes it just a bit easier to understand how the current issue of Time magazine could profile Indian environmental activist Vandana Shiva as "hero."

"Shiva has made it her mission to fight for social justice in many arenas," gushes Time. True, "social justice" is a meaningless term but it certainly sounds nice.

Shiva's "pet issue these days is preservation of agricultural diversity," we're told. "It is under assault, she says, from global companies that encourage farmers to grow so-called high-yielding crops that result in a dangerous dependence on bioengineered seeds, chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides."

Yet even Time admits, "Chemical fertilizers, pesticides and genetic engineering rescued India from its eternal cycles of famine and huge debts from importing food."

"The very chemicals Vandana Shiva condemns, along with the development of new 'Green Revolution' plants, have allowed Indian farmers to quadruple the production of food grains since independence from Britain without bringing any more forest land under the plow," says C. S. Prakash, a Tuskegee University plant genetics professor and founder and president of AgBioWorld Foundation.


If developing world farmers took her one-tenth as seriously as do Western activists and Time magazine, Shiva's proclamations would lead inexorably to massive famine. Organic farming simply cannot produce the yields that farming using chemicals or genetically engineered crops can.


In a wealthy country like the U.S., which produces far more food than it can sell or give away, there's plenty of room for organic farming. Further, because our consumers have so much expendable income our organic farmers have found they can more than make up for poor yields by charging organic-eating yuppies outrageous prices.

But there are no "Fresh Fields" stores in India and other such developing countries, and all too many farmers in these lands still barely grow enough to provide for their own families much less sell crops on the market.


How could Shiva be so insensitive? How could she not comprehend that people living almost exclusively on rice obviously cannot afford chicken cacciatore?

It may have something to do with her having never been a part of the culture she pretends to represent. Shiva was born into wealth and her soft palms have never worked a plow. Weighing in on the heavy side of "pleasantly plump," hunger to her is something she reads about in the newspapers.

Arghh! It's Jabba!
Only such bluebloods have the resources to buy into agrarian sentimentalism.
Typical. A limousine liberal dictating to the peasants.