Ecology India Violence

Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Survival in India

Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Survival in IndiaVandana ShivaKali for Women1988

From Spinifex Press: Shiva links the violation of nature with the violation and marginalisation of women in the Third World by examining the position of women in relation to nature – the forests, the food chain and water supplies. She shows how science, technology and politics, along with the workings of the economy itself, are inherently exploitative. Every area of human activity marginalises and burdens both women and nature.

Shiva suggests that there is only one path to survival and liberation for nature, women and men: the ecological path of harmony, sustainability and diversity. She explores the unique place of women in the environment of India in particular, both as its saviours and as victims of maldevelopment.

Her analysis is an innovative statement of the challenge that women in ecology movements are creating and she shows how their efforts constitute a non-violent and humanly inclusive alternative to the dominant paradigm of contemporary scientific and development thought.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Gendered Politics of Food and the Challenge of Staying Alive

Chapter 1: Development, Ecology and Women
… Development as a new project of western patriarchy
… Maldevelopment as the death of the feminine principle
… Two kinds of growth, two kinds of productivity
… Two kinds of poverty

Chapter 2: Science, Nature and Gender
… Modern science as patriarchy’s project
… The violence of reductionism
… Profits, reductionism and violence
… Two kinds of facts
… Two kinds of rationality
… Modern science and ecological crises
… The natural-unnatural divide

Chapter 3: Women in Nature
… Nature as the feminine principle
… Nature and women as producers of life
… Gender ideology vs. the recovery of the feminine principle

Chapter 4: Women in the Forest
… Aranyani: the forest as the feminine principle
… Colonialism and the evolution of masculinist forestry
… The women of Chipko
… Afforestation projects and reductionism
… The approaching tragedy of the commons
… The colonial heritage: commons as ‘wasteland’
… Mannu Rakshana Loota: saving the soil, protecting the commons
… Breeding ‘super-trees’: the ultimate reductionism
… Recovering diversity, recovering the commons

Chapter 5: Women in the Food Chain
… Green revolution: a western paradigm
… The displacement of women from food production
… Miracle seeds: breeding out the feminine principle
… The myth of the miracle seeds
… The myth of high yields and food self-sufficiency
… From the green revolution to biotechnology
… The death of soils
… Soil-building strategies of traditional agriculture
… Green revolution: a recipe for desertification
… Diseases of micro-nutrient deficiency and toxicity
… Waterlogged and saline deserts
… Groundwater mining and the creation of dry deserts
… Respecting the rights of the soil
… Pesticides: poisoning the web of life
… The farce of ‘improved’ varieties
… Fostering pests with pesticides
… Non-violent pest control: learning from nature, women and peasants
… The violence of the white revolution
… Hybridisation as genetic violence
… Fragmentation of nature: integration of markets

Chapter 6: Women and the Vanishing Waters
… The disappearing source
… Dams as violence to the river
… Drilling deep and draining dry: the groundwater famine
… Women: the water experts

Chapter 7: Terra Mater: Reclaiming the Feminine Principle