Category: <span>Vandana Shiva</span>

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Since we returned from filming at the People’s Climate March in September, we’ve been tracking Vandana Shiva’s schedule from then until now.

Holy Moly: She’s visited upward of fourteen cities in North America and made multiple appearances to capacity crowds. We caught up with her in Canada (for the Festival of Dangerous Ideas (thank you Beyond Pesticides for supporting our trip), in Los Angeles with a hip crowd at UCLA’s Hammer Museum, and most recently in San Francisco at the Earth at Risk Conference produced by the radical and feisty Fertile Ground Institute.

The crowds that Vandana attracts are diverse. But they are unified in their commitment to a just and ecologically sustainable world. Vandana talks about this vision–what she calls Earth Democracy–in this short clip: The Seattle reference points to the 1992 WTO meetings, where Dr. Shiva and others spoke out about the spreading power of multinational corporations–not only in America but all over the globe.

What better time to imagine a more just and desirable world than during the Holiday Season as we look forward to a New Year? In the past three months we’ve felt privileged to be around so many energized individuals dedicated to creating a healthier planet. Judging by these folks, environmental activism is alive and well, life affirming and inspiring. We’d recommend it!

Do we sound like a fan club? No, we’re a film. Hopefully a good one, because this film has an incredible story to tell. Creatively, The Seeds of Vandana Shiva is firmly on track and when we’re not filming we’re reviewing and organizing all our film footage. Editing a video required for submission to foundations and sponsors for funding begins in earnest next month.

The success of the movement for a just and sustainable food system–of which we like to think The Seeds of Vandana Shiva will play a small part–depends on creating and empowering networks for change. For us, in our way, that means relationships and partnerships with others who care about sharing this story. So if you, or anyone you know is interested in collaborating with us–we’re talking website, social media, marketing, editing, even fundraising–get in touch with us here.

In the meantime, we wish you a happy, healthy, prosperous and earth friendly 2015!

P.S: Here’s a three minute video we made about the A-Z of Agroecology Course that we attended while filming and interviewing Vandana in September. Yes, the filming trip made possible by our generous donors! There is a still a LOT to do on this project and you can still make a tax-deductible donation in 2014. Click here for details!

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In numerous traditions of indigenous thought, the sharing of food is treated as ceremony.

Each ritual reflects the understanding that giving and receiving is a sacred transaction. You give and receive in appreciation of your interdependence with others—not only with your family and community but also with the farmer, the food provider and the vast non-human family that populates Earth.

Every bird, every bug, every microscopic microbe—every living organism interconnects in the great web of life.

As school students we learn that all life is made of the same basic elements—earth, water, air—yet as adults we tend to forget it. But the facts are the facts: We drink water that circulates throughout the whole biosphere. The oxygen exhaled by the rainforest becomes our own breath. The food produced by the seed and the soil builds up our bodies and keeps them alive. We are one with the earth.

If it sounds like spirituality, it is. But it is also science and—more than ever now—politics.

Before The Seeds of Vandana Shiva, we made a series of short documentaries based on symposia that brought together scientists, environmentalists, religious leaders and policymakers to share research on the world’s besieged water bodies. It was during this period that we met Dr. Shiva and decided to document her remarkable life. 

Here, on the occasion of her Sydney Peace Prize Award in 2010, this scientist (M.Sc. in Nuclear Physics, Ph.D. in the Philosophy of Quantum Theory) talks about Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, a concept in Hinduism that describes the world as a single earth family.

It is this “big picture” perspective that makes The Seeds of Vandana Shiva project more than just a documentary film. Along with numerous partners, our goal is to share it with organizations around the world for education and outreach—including to public officials who can influence policy towards a more ecologically sensitive world.

Did we tell you that Patagonia gave us a grant to support distribution? Thank you, Patagonia, along with your in-kind sponsorship through Patagonia Action Works, which will help us to launch!

Namaste!

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While Dr. Vandana Shiva is best known as an advocate for seed saving and small-scale organic food and farming, her work is more broadly to do with natural—let’s say quantum—interconnections. In our last newsletter we talked about the relationship between food and forests and we want to continue with that. Why? Because, in January, a neo-fascist will take control of the Amazon rainforest. And this is very bad news. 

Every climate defying and ecologically destructive decision Brazil’s President-Elect makes will impact us all. The Amazon provides ecological services not only to Brazil but to the whole planet. First, it plays a central role in filtering and reprocessing the world’s carbon output: The rich forest material sucks in planetary carbon emissions and releases much-needed oxygen into the air. Second, through evapotranspiration, the Amazon supplies water to rivers, vapor to rain clouds and even goes so far as to stimulate the world’s ocean currents. Think of the Amazon as the giant lungs of the planet. 

Jair Bolsonaro bemoans rainforest protections as obstructions, intends to convert his country’s forests into cattle and soybean farms, looks likely to exit the Paris Climate agreement and just canceled Brazil’s commitment to host COP25 in 2019. 

Even that hurts. In association with Regeneration International and a number of Brazilian NGOs, we were planning to show The Seeds of Vandana Shiva in Sao Paulo during the UN Climate Talks, along with a teach-in about how organic and regenerative food systems can mitigate climate change and feed the world.

Here’s a film by the brilliant filmmaker Yann Arthus-Bertrand that beautifully illustrates how forests are critical to planetary well-being. We’re honored that his Good Planet Foundation is donating aerial footage to The Seeds of Vandana Shiva. It’s a huge gift and we’re humbled by his support for the film.
And we are grateful for your support! Thank you to everyone who has donated so far. Most of your (tax-deductible!) gifts will go to our archives bill. Though Mr. Bertrand is not the only filmmaker that has donated footage (shout-outs coming) there are other expensive but important clips we must buy for the film. Did you know that TV Networks charge for their clips by the second?
 
Thank you for helping us to reach the finish line.

Finally, if we do anything in 2019, let’s resist, with our Brazilian counterparts, Bolsonaro’s destructive initiatives. They are us and we are them. We are connected.

DONATE

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Precious and Kale
Meet Precious Phiri who spends her days teaching farmers in Zimbabwe how to mitigate climate change.
 
Specifically, she instructs them in holistic land management, a method that rejuvenates depleted water and degraded soil while drawing climate-changing C02 out of the atmosphere.
 
Originally trained by the Savory Institute, the enthusiastic Ms. Phiri explains that a cornerstone of holistic management is that eco-systems without animals create ecological imbalance. Grasslands, for example, deteriorate when the food chain that keeps them alive is disturbed. Deprived of a symbiotic relationship with ruminants, grass dies and then soil dies. And, in the process, climate-disrupting carbon discharges into the atmosphere.
 
It’s simple but not obvious: Ecosystems need both fauna and flora to thrive. Think of the oceans without whales or Yellowstone National Park without wolves. It’s the great web of life.
 
The phenomenon, sometimes described as a “trophic cascade,” is a biological process that flows between every part of the food chain.
 
Here Precious explains it: 
Precious Phiri Play Button
Here’s another obvious but often-overlooked fact: Healthy humans come from healthy food that originates in healthy soil. And there is no way to support this synergy between our health and the biosphere in an industrial food system: Big Ag and Big Food disrupts precious water cycles, destroys biodiversity, pummels the biosphere with toxic pesticides, and imprisons innocent animals that should be on the land. This isn’t mere sentiment; it’s actually climate science.
 
In a regenerative world, it’s OK to eat meat, but if you’re going to do so, it’s imperative to transition to organic, grass-fed and free-range–and not in the quantities Big Ag and Big Food would have you do. Any other way and we are contributing to global warming, impacting our health and, by the way, engaging significantly in animal cruelty. Of course it’s more than OK to be vegan or vegetarian but, ecologically speaking, there is also an argument for conscious meat eating.
 
Vandana Shiva is vegetarian and also a founding member of Regeneration International, an organization that promotes and researches this stuff. Here’s a clip of her talking about the animals at her Navdanya farm.
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And here are some books to read if you’d like to know more:
 
 
It’s a whole new world of hope for the environment, the climate and our own health. Perhaps the most hopeful story ever that too few people have heard.
 
P.S: About progress on our film about Dr. Shiva’s life story: We’ve just completed laying in additional dialogue, now we’re working on music and B-Roll. Onwards we go!
 
Please contribute to this next phase of our film about Dr. Shiva’s life story here: Every bit helps to get the film completed (and into your hands) sooner rather than later!

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Soil Not Oil banner
“Regenerative agriculture provides answers to the soil crisis, the food crisis, the climate crisis and the crisis of democracy.” Vandana Shiva
 
Join us on Thursday July 21st when local groups will come together in Ojai to support both the Soil Not Oil International Campaign and the upcoming second annual Soil Not Oil Conference with an evening gathering of film and discussion. Camilla will be there sharing new excerpts from The Seeds of Vandana Shiva, and there will be other short films on soils and carbon farming.
 
An Evening Gathering to Support
The 2nd Annual Soil Not Oil Conference
Thursday July 21, 7.30PM
At The Farmer and The Cook, 339 W. El Roblar, Ojai, CA 93023
THIS IS A FREE EVENT
 
Our advisory board member Steve Sprinkel will be there, so will Margie Bushman & Wes Roe of Santa Barbara Permaculture Network, David White from Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Conor Love Jones of East End Eden Farm
 
Why are we supporting Soil Not Oil?
 
In 2015 the first Soil Not Oil Conference was held in Northern California in solidarity with the Soil Not Oil and Terra Viva Campaigns launched by Dr. Shiva, who was one of the first to make the connection between climate change and the disastrous soil practices of industrial agriculture.
 
Because our lives are entirely dependent on the health of our soils, Soil Not Oil and Terra Viva advocate for the care and regeneration of soils worldwide. These campaigns and the Soil Not Oil Coalition call for the extensive restructuring of land management practices, especially in agriculture.
 
Permaculture, agroecology and all regenerative agriculture practices are key to combating climate change, restoring water cycles, stopping ocean acidification, re-establishing biodiversity, improving food production, and revitalizing local economies across the planet.
 
What’s not to like?
 
As we face the possibility of only four more years of water in our valley, we know that rapidly accelerating human-caused climate change is an imminent global threat, including to us in Ojai. One clear thing to do is reverse our engagement in the fossil fuel food system, which not only pollutes ecosystems but is a huge driver of climate change. 
 
The Soil Not Oil Coalition’s call for integrated action to restore global soil quality is one of the key things we must do to ensure a safe and healthy world for generations to come. Here’s a little known fact: Just the first meter of soil contains as much carbon as the entire atmosphere, and there’s potential to soak up much more.
 
For more information on this event, please contact Margie.
 
See you at F&C,
 
Camilla Becket
Jim Becket
Jim Whitney

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 Vandana Rust Sari 5
 
Vandana Shiva will be in Ojai next week to headline our annual Earth Day at Oak Grove School!
 
If you are in the area, we can’t encourage you enough to attend this event.
 
Oak Grove is situated on a breathtakingly beautiful campus. What better way to spend a gorgeous Spring day but in Ojai, surrounded by wildflowers, ancient oaks, birds, bees and butterflies and a friendly crowd of change-makers doing their part to rejuvenate Mother Earth?
 
Many local organizations will have displays of their work; there’ll be activities for kids, a whole lot of music and fresh, local food.
 
Earth Day starts at 11.00am.
Dr. Shiva will speak at 2.30pm. Book Signing afterwards.
VANDANA SHIVA IN OJAI
 
Want to avoid parking snarl? The Ojai Trolley will be running for free that day so why not park your car near a trolley stop and be delivered to Earth Day in style? Better yet, ride your bike to campus. Oak Grove’s bike valet will take care of it for you and give you a free raffle ticket for a $3,000 value draw!
 
Vandana will also be at Pacifica Graduate Institute’s conference Climate of Change and the Therapy of Ideas while in the area (April 24) and at Soka University for Critical Conversations: The Future of the Planet on April 26.
 
We’ll be filming and taking notes at these events and will send you a brand new update about The Seeds of Vandana Shiva in a few weeks. Watch this space!

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