The Violence of the Green Revolution

Third World Agriculture, Ecology and Politics

Vandana Shiva


As the agricultural systems of many countries are poised, as a result of the recent advances in biotechnology for what may soon come to be called the Second Green Revolution, this book is particularly appropriate. Vandana Shiva examines the impact of the first Green Revolution on the breadbasket of India. In a cogent empirical argument, she shows how the 'quick fix' promise of large gains in output pushed aside serious pursuit of an alternative agricultural strategy grounded in respect for the environmental wisdom of peasant systems and building an egalitarian, needs-prientated agriculture consistent with the village-based, endogenous political traditions of Gandhism. Dr Shiva documents the destruction of genetic diversity and soil fertility that resulted and in highly original fashion shows how the Green Revolution also contributed to the acute social and political conflicts now tearing the Punjab apart.

Set in the context of a sophisticated critique of the privileged epistemological position achieved by modern science, whereby it both aspires to provide technological solutions for social and political problems while at the same time disclaiming responsibility for the new problems which it creates in its wake, the author looks to the future in an analysis of a new project to apply the latest Gene Revolution technology to India and warns of the further environmental and social damage which will ensue.

Author Bio

Vandana Shiva, a world-renowned environmental leader and thinker, is director of the Research Foundation on Science, Technology and Ecology.  Her many books include Ecofeminism, Earth Democracy and Staying Alive. Shiva has served as an adviser to governments in India and abroad as well as non-governmental organizations including the Women's Environment Development Organization and the Third World Network. 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).

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. Science and Politics in the Green Revolution
  • 2. 'Miracle Seeds' and the Destruction of Genetic Diversity
  • 3. Chemical Fertilizers and Soil Fertility
  • 4. Intensive Irrigation, Large Dams and Water Conflicts
  • 5. The political and Cultural Costs of the Green Revolution
  • 6. Pepsico for peace? The Ecological and Political Risks of the Biotechnology Revolution
  • 7. The Seed and the Spinning Wheel: The Political Ecology of Technological Change


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

'Shiva has devoted her life to fighting for the rights of ordinary people in India. Her fierce intellect and her disarmingly friendly, accessible manner have made her a valuable advocate for people all over the developing world.' 
Ms Magazine

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

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


Publication Date: 1 October 1991
264 pages

Not available in: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9780862329655
Library Edition: 9780862329648

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