Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Last month Dr Vandana Shiva made another appearance in London, returning to Hampstead Town Hall to speak. Sagar Shah and I came along again, running into Carolyn Whittle of PositiveTV and environmental reporter Stanley Johnson, whose resemblance to his son Boris was hard to miss. A perhaps not irrelevant factoid in this is the fact that Boris is one quarter Indian, and so the family may have some interest in that part of the world. Boris, unlike some politicians, does not wear his own ethnic diversity on his sleeve.
The event was a celebration of Dr Shiva's 20 years with Zed Books, a left wing publishing house here in London. She was introduced by Patrick Holden of the Soil Association; this time we had a more amicable chat with him backstage, or rather, in front of the food table which is where most people gathered before the event; having a good caterer is always a plus, and the same people who were there with such an impressive array were on hand again. Speaking of food, Sagar and I gave a blueberry hempseed chocolate bar to Vandana, so she had some in hand to take back (if that is still permissible with our new aeroport security laws). It was one of the footlong monster bars that Roger Snow sent me from Rocky Mountain Grain Products in Canada, so it may well be touring the world; the hemp bar that went from Ontario to New York to London may well be on its way to New Delhi. Which could, of course, be seized upon by the airmiles pharisees who want to stop all airlifting of food - including some of the folks at the Soil Association. As this would only devastate the local economies of about 50 nations, eight charity groups banded together to tell the elitists that this just would not work; and good job they did. How many times in this world do overzealous do-gooders destroy things before we call an end to this? What would this do, for instance, to the mango/papaya/jute growers in India? Or are we supposed to grow these items somewhere in the UK? Even by the most outrageous global warming prediction we are simply not going to be able to do that, so we might as well not disrupt the livelihoods of millions of people for the likes of Tamsin Omond (whose antics at closing down aeroports might have kept Dr Shiva out of the country).
Conspicuously absent from the event were the biofuel opponents preaching global warming/cooling/climate change. As so many scientists are now eschewing this rubbish (see Marc Morano in the current issue of Nexus), they are no longer flavour of the month, and people are wondering why governments are giving away hard earned cash to idiots trading carbon credits as if it was a new dot.com stock. Dr Shiva touched on this in her speech, calling such trading tantamount to the indulgences the church was trading in the Middle Ages. She also touched on the options trading, which she called a "construct of a construct of a construct", and asserted really only came about in the '70s. It is now into the hundreds of billions of pounds she noted, and is part of the reason for the credit crunch. If there were any bankers at the meeting, this is when they slithered out the door. They may not have been feeling to comfortable, but a wider segment of the audience might also have felt slighted as she talked about cars; she herself does not own a car, and good on her! In India, she says, the percentage of car owners has not grown since the '50; cars are everywhere, due to both population increase and the fact that the same people who owned a car in the '50s now own five. One wonders if they are going to start using electric cars - ironically India is where the G Wiz, which is now so prominent in Hampstead and other parts of London, is produced.
In her time Dr Shiva has seen much change, but sadly, much of this is for the worse. We hope that she will be able to see some soon for the better, and with hemp in hand on her way back to India, this may well be the case. Thank you Dr. Shiva for your inspiration, we hope to see you again soon.

1 comment:

Mark Ski said...

Dr Shiva is great, and you mention Stanly Johnson, he now has a book out, "Stanly I Assume".