"BULLSHIT AWARD FOR SUSTAINING POVERTY"
AWARDED TODAY TO 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,
"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
"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
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 (www.libertyindia.org)
is a member of the Sustainable Develoment Network (www.sdnetwork.net).
For more information, or to interview Barun
Mitra, please contact Kendra Okonski, 072-477-2371.