OSU is honored to be welcoming a renowned ecological and human rights activist to speak at the first ever Earth Democracy Conference today, Oct. 23. The Community Service Center staff will be joining the conference to listen to Dr. Vandana Shiva at 7pm tonight in the LaSells Stewart Center. The CSC will also have a booth set up for people who are attending to share interest with becoming involved in community service.
Earth Democracy Conference brings Vandana Shiva to OSU
Renowned ecological and human rights activist to speak at LaSells
The Daily Barometer
Issue date: 10/23/09 Section: News
OSU will welcome Vandana Shiva, a physicist, feminist, science philosopher, writer and science policy advocate, to campus today to speak on behalf of environmental justice and women’s lives. Shiva will be speaking at the LaSells Stewart Center at 7 p.m. during the “Earth Democracy: Women, Justice, and Ecology” conference tonight. Shiva’s presentation and conference will be free and open to all OSU and community members.
Shiva has called for “an alternative worldview in which humans are embedded in the Earth Family, in that people are connected to each other through love and compassion, not hatred and violence, and ecological responsibility and economic justice replaces greed, consumerism and competition as objectives of human life.”
Rachel Brinker, a women studies major in her last term at OSU, has helped to organize and make this conference possible.
“I came up with the idea to frame a conference around Dr. Shiva’s presentation. The conference will provide information on work related to what she does,” Brinker said. “Dr. Shiva is an amazing physicist and grassroots activist who works all around the world to protect nature and to acknowledge biodiversity, and people’s access to food and water.”
This is the first year the conference will be held, but Shiva has been actively involved in these issues for over 25 years. Shiva has written over 13 books that reveal the true impact of globalization on the lives of women and men in developing countries. She has also founded several organizations, including the Foundation for Science, Technology, and Natural Resource Policy.
Shiva was first drawn to these issues when she began training as a nuclear physicist. Shiva’s sister had explained to her the effects of nuclear radiation on life forms, pivoting her focus onto the development of her eco-feminist theories and her relentless activism to protect both women and nature.
“If you think of the fact that corporate globalization is really about an aggressive privatization of the water, biodiversity and food systems of the Earth, when these communities declare sovereignty and act on that sovereignty they have developed a powerful response to globalization,” Shiva said. “Living democracy then is the democracy that is the custodian of the living wealth on which people depend.”
Brinker has been studying Shiva’s work for the past five years and really felt it was necessary to bring a larger audience to these issues by organizing the conference.
“When you gather speakers, activists, scientists and business owners, you get different perspectives on the issues that are affecting women’s lives through unjust globalization,” Brinker said. “Earth Democracy is Shiva’s way of trying to solve issues regarding ecological and human rights.”
In 1993, Shiva was recognized for her efforts in global justice as the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, commonly known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize.”
“There is, I think, a spontaneous resurgence of thinking that centers on protection of life, celebrating life, enjoying life as both our highest duty and our most powerful form of resistance against a violent and brutal system that globalizes not just trade, but fascism, and denies civil liberties and freedoms,” Shiva said.
The Spring Creek Project, Hundere Endowment, Horning Endowment and the Student Sustainability Initiative have all made this conference possible as a way to make a difference in relation to Shiva’s Earth Democracy movement.
When approached about what keeps her so alive and full of energy, Shiva simply said, “I do not allow myself to be overcome by hopelessness, no matter how tough the situation. I believe that if you just do your little bit without thinking of the bigness of what you stand against, if you turn to the enlargement of your own capacities, just that in itself creates new potential.”
Makenzie Marineau, staff writer
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