In the scientific or media world, to slam a person’s positions on a sensitive subject as that of a end-of-days mystic is tantamount to calling him/her a blithering idiot.
And that’s precisely how New Yorker buggered Vandana Shiva.
Vandana – Vocal Opponent
Worship her or dismiss her as a rabble-rousing idiot, it’s hard to ignore Vandana Shiva.
A noted environmentalist and vehement opponent of genetically modified crops, Vandana Shiva is a hugely popular figure in Europe and Asia, particularly among those fighting against globalization, genetically modified seeds and crops and giant seed corporations like Monsanto.
Vandana is perhaps the single person most responsible for India banning genetically modified food crops.
The New Yorker recently did a lengthy piece titled Seeds of Doubt on Vandana Shiva and her pet subject, genetically modified seeds.
Bottom line, the New Yorker piece is more favorable to genetically modified crops than to Vandana Shiva’s position on the hotly debated subject.
Here’s a key excerpt from the New Yorker piece:
When Shiva writes that “Golden Rice will make the malnutrition crisis worse” and that it will kill people, she reinforces the worst fears of her largely Western audience. Much of what she says resonates with the many people who feel that profit-seeking corporations hold too much power over the food they eat. Theirs is an argument well worth making. But her statements are rarely supported by data, and her positions often seem more like those of an end-of-days mystic than like those of a scientist.
Vandana did not cooperate with the author (Michael Specter, a supporter of agricultural biotechnology) and denied him an interview.
In Vanadana’s worldview, there’s no independent science on the subject of genetically modified crops any more because Monsanto has planted false stories in the media and controls the scientific literature.
Monsanto for its part responded that it’s a “science-based company.” Monsanto Chairman Hugh Grant told the New Yorker – “I feel very strongly that you need to be grounded in the science or you lose the drift.”
God knows who’s right!
GMO – Safe or Dangerous?
Given the claims and counter claims on genetically modified crops, it’s hard for laymen to make educated choices.
I still am unable to decide one way or the other if genetically modified crops are a boon to humanity or a curse.
Living as I do in America (hospitable terrain for agricultural biotechnology), I’m sure that yours truly consumes a lot of genetically modified crops daily even if a lot of my purchases are from Patel Brothers, Apna Bazaar or Subzi Mandi.
So if at any time you find any of my positions objectionable you can always blame it on SI overdosing on GMO. 😉
I strongly encourage all of you to read the New Yorker piece on Vandana Shiva (link below). By the way, the article also touches upon the distressing subject of farmers’ suicides in India (Vandana blames the deaths on Monsanto).