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Witness
Bullsh*t
An outspoken campaigner on green issues stirs strong words of criticism from rivals.
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2008 17:12 GMT

Shiva attracts avid listeners to her message
Filmmakers: Peå Holmquist and Suzanne Khardalian

Her opponents call her "The Green Killer" and derisively nominated her for the so-called "Bullsh*t Award" for sustaining poverty. TIME magazine calls her a hero for the 'green century', and an icon for youngsters all over the world.

So w
ho is Vandana Shiva?

An unlikely hero, some would say. Born to nature-loving parents in Dehradun, India, Shiva trained as a nuclear physicist in Canada. Soon out of university, she began questioning how science technology impacted on the environment.

Shiva participated in the non-violent Chipko movement during the 1970s. The movement, whose main participants were women, adopted the tactic of hugging trees to prevent their felling.

In 1982, Shiva started projects and established organisations aimed at protecting the diversity of native seeds. She encouraged local farmers to reject political and economic pressures that may endanger India's natural biodiversity.

She is one of the leading figures of the global solidarity movement known as the alter-globalisation movement. An outspoken critic of big business, she has denounced the
 economic policies of certain multi-national corporations, saying they push people into poverty and starvation - she describes this as a 'form of terrorism'.

Barun Mitra rails against Shiva
Shiva's many detractors call her naive, pointing out that chemical fertilisers, pesticides and genetic engineering rescued India from its famine and huge debts from importing food. She responds that high-tech agriculture is a short-term solution that will ultimately destroy the land.

Swedish filmmakers Peå Holmquist and Suzanne Khardalian follow this gritty and charismatic campaigner over two years as she harvests seeds, harangues governments and confronts Barun Mitra, a liberal lobbyist and fierce critic - and the man who nominated her as a candidate for the the "Bullsh*t Award".  

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