An Interview with Vandana Shiva, Winner of the Sydney Peace Prize

Dr Vandana Shiva is a physicist, ecologist, feminist and author who has been awarded the Sydney Peace Prize after defending the developing world against the free-market system for more than three decades.

November 2, 2010 | Source: Australian Broadcasting Corporation | by


LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Now to tonight’s guest. Dr Vandana Shiva is an environmental activist who’s in Australia to accept this year’s Sydney Peace Prize.

For three decades she’s argued that the world’s poor and the planet’s ecosystems have suffered at the hands of the free market system.

She’ll deliver a lecture tomorrow night at the Sydney Opera House titled “Making Peace with the Earth” and a short time ago she joined me in our Sydney studio.

Dr Shiva, thank you for joining us.


LEIGH SALES: You’ve been described as an eco feminist. What does that mean?

SHIVA VANDANA: Well, that means putting together the feminist movement and the ecology movement. In any case the oppressions of both women and nature come from the same roots – a world view that sees nature as dead, women as passive, unproductive, unintelligent – and it’s time to give recognition to the life and creation and productivity of both.

LEIGH SALES: So how do you marry those two things, then?

SHIVA VANDANA: You know, I woke up to the deep connection when I got involved as a young, young volunteer in the Chipko movement – this movement of women coming out to hug trees – and whether it’s Bhopal, or Chipko, or the water movements, anywhere you look – or the toxic (inaudible) – women act.

Then I realised, “You know, they’ve been left to look after the care economy and they’ve been left to look after life”.

It’s not in our genes but it’s definitely in the social division of labour and that’s what woke me up to the fact that if we have to care about nature and we have to learn how to live differently – a different relationship – we have to give up the paradigms that have come from what I have called capitalist patriarchy and start building alternatives on the basis of this convergence of feminism and ecology for all – men included.

LEIGH SALES: I’ll come to some questions about capitalism in a moment but I wanted to ask, first of all you’ve got a lecture in Australia, in Sydney – a sell out lecture – tomorrow called Making Peace with the Earth. What will you be saying in that lecture?

SHIVA VANDANA: The first thing I’ll be saying is that we have unleashed a serious war against the Earth, against her diverse species, – which is what is biodiversity extinction – against regulatory systems for maintaining a stable climate, a predictable climate. We’ve got climate chaos, climate change.