Bérangère Maïa Nathasha Parizeau: Dr Vandana Shiva, so if you could please talk about your history with the environmental movement and your involvement with Chipko?
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Vandana Shiva: Yes! (laughter) I am from the Himalaya. I am born in the Himalaya. I grew up in the Himalayan forest. And in the early 70s, I saw the streams start to disappear. Fortunately, at that time village woman rose spontaneously to say: “We are not going to let our forests be destroyed. They are our Mother! They protect us! They are the source of our food, our fodder, our fuel, our water.” And, they said...“We are going to hug the trees, you have to kill us before you kill the tree.” The action of hugging is called Chipko. And that is really my other university. I have a PhD from a Canadian University in foundations of quantum theory on non-separability in nature. And I have a PhD from the women of Chipko from the non-separability in nature from the life of people.
Bérangère Maïa Nathasha Parizeau:: Can you talk about how that movement inspired you to do the work that you are doing now?
Dr Vandana Shiva: Well...I really think everything I do is shaped by that movement. First, it inspired me to realize that...I might have a PhD...the women have huge knowledge. So, I learned to respect the knowledge of every human being. Particularly of women, of indigenous cultures, of people who really do the work of taking care of nature. The second thing I learned...was...you need commitment, you need community, you need solidarity, for being a strong force. The women would bring a fist full of rice, put it in a common pool. That is what sustained the actions in the forest, for months, and months, and months! They would rotate. One women would sit in the forest for four days, while other women would take care of her children and animals. And they shared out of this, and that was the political force! That is how I learned about community as the base for resistance. And the third thing I learn form the women of Chipko...was that in us lies the highest power to say no to destruction. By putting our bodies in front of the destruction. And that is what Gandhi had called the Satyagraha the force of truth when he fought the British against the salt lords. He said: “We are going to make salt!” And, this non-violent peaceful but resolute action is something that has shaped the way I deal with environmental movement building.