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Soil, Not Oil

Soil, Not Oil

Vandana Shiva


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'One of the world's most prominent radical scientists.'
The Guardian

This book is classic of the environmental movement. In it, Vandana Shiva envisions a world beyond our current dependence on fossil fuels and globalization, and makes the compelling case that food crises, oil dependency and climate change are all inherently interlinked. Any attempt to solve one without addressing the others is therefore doomed to failure.

Condemning industrial agriculture and biofuels as recipes for ecological and economic disaster, Shiva instead champions small independent farmers. What is needed most, in a time of hunger and changing climates, are sustainable, biologically diverse farms that are better able to resist disease, drought and flooding. Calling for a return to local economies and small-scale agriculture, Shiva argues that humanity’s choice is a stark one: we can either continue to pursue a market-centred approach, which will ultimately make our planet unliveable, or we can instead strive for a people-centred, oil-free future, one which offers a decent living for all.

This edition features a new introduction by the author, in which she outlines recent developments in ecology and environmentalism, and offers new prescriptions for the environmental movement.

Vandana Shiva is a world-renowned environmental leader and thinker and director of the Research Foundation on Science, Technology and Ecology.  Her many books include EcofeminismEarth Democracy and Staying Alive. She is one of the leaders of the International Forum on Globalization, and the recipient of numerous awards, including the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize (1993).

'One of the world's most prominent radical scientists'
The Guardian

'This book wakes us up to some of the fundamental realities of food production on which we all depend … should be essential reading for all students of community development.'
Community Development

'A world leading expert on food sustainability.'
Refinery 29

'Shiva has devoted her life to fighting for the rights of ordinary people in India.'
Ms Magazine

'The South's best known environmentalist.'
New Internationalist

'Shiva is a burst of creative energy, an intellectual power.'
The Progressive

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Cover Cover
About the Author ii
Title Page iii
Copyright iv
Contents v
Preface to the 2016 Edition vii
Introduction: Triple Crisis, Triple Opportunity 1
Chapter One: The Politics of Climate Change: Eco-Imperialism vs. Earth Democracy 9
Climate Change is Happening 9
This is What Climate Change Looks Like 10
Eco-Imperialism and False and Unjust Solutions to Climate Change 13
Carbon Trading: Privatizing the Atmospheric Commons, Creating a Supermarket of Pollution 16
Nuclear Energy is Neither Clean nor Sustainable 24
The US-India Nuclear Agreement: Nuclear Winter is not an Alternative to Global Warming 27
Engineering the Planet: Mechanistic “Solutions” to Problems Caused by the Mechanical Age 30
Globalization as Outsourcing of Pollution and the Politics of Climate Change 33
Globalization, Equity, and Climate Change 34
Climate Change Begins on Land: The Global Ecological Footprint on India’s Land 36
Threat to Food Security 38
Earth Democracy: Climate, Energy, and Resource Justice on a Small and Fragile Planet 41
Chapter Two: Sacred Cow or Sacred Car 49
Cars Eat Men 50
Population Explosion of Cars: An Ecological Catastrophe by Design 51
Nano-Mania 54
The High Cost of “Cheap” Cars 56
Highways to Dictatorship: Forgetting Gandhi, Following Hitler 57
Infrastructure for Which Structure? 63
Highway Connectivity: Uprooted People 64
Highway Robbery: Corporate Rule, Corruption, and Crime 66
Death Comes on Wheels: Trends of Road Accidents 68
Vehicular Pollutants Lead to Cancer 70
Vehicular Pollution Triggers Asthma 71
Lead Poison Along National Highway 72
Animals: A Living Energy Alternative for Mobility 73
Chapter Three: Food for Cars or People: Biofuels a False Solution to Climate Change and a Threat to Food Security 77
Ecological, Diverse, Decentralized Biofuels vs. Industrial Biofuels 77
Industrial Biofuels: Green or Green™ 79
Biofuels: A Greenhouse Threat 79
Biofuels a Threat to Food Security 84
Biofuels Leading to Water Scarcity 87
How the Poor in India are Affected 88
Jatropha and Land Grab 89
India’s Biodiesel Program 90
Jatropha Biopiracy 91
Jatropha for Local Energy Needs: The False Promise 91
Toward Sustainable, Biodiverse, and Decentralized Bioenergy Alternatives for India 93
Chapter Four: Soil, Not Oil: Securing Our Food in Times of Climate Crisis 95
Eating Oil 96
From Food First to Export First 105
Failure of “Export-First” Policies 107
Soil Not Oil: Making a Transition to Biodiverse, Organic, Local Food Systems 108
Living Soil 110
Biodiversity: Our Natural Capital, Our Ecological Insurance 115
Seeds of Freedom, Seeds of Life 119
Rebuilding Local Food Communities 123
Climate Change and the Two Carbon Economies: Biodiversity vs. Fossil Fuels 129
Conclusion: Unleashing Shakti: Our Power to Transform 133
Living Systems, Living Energies 134
Shakti: The Creative Energy of a Self-Organizing Universe 136
Rejuvenating Work for Living Economies 137
The Law of Entropy and the Principle of Emergence 140
Endnotes 145