Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien
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Date | 11.11.2019, 7.00 p.m.
Venue | Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Lehárgasse 8 , 1060 Vienna, ground floor, north

Vandana Shiva: Soil not Oil | The transfer from the age of fossil fuel for the awareness of a living Earth

Chair: Anette Baldauf, Ujjwal Utkarsh, Lecture in English

10. November 2019, 3.30 pm: Earth Other, a film screening for and with Vandana Shiva exploring routes and roots of ecological entanglements curated by Kelly Ann Gardener and Christina Jauernik
Filmmuseum Wien, Augustinerstrasse 1, 1010 Wien
Free entry


Vandana Shiva


Industrialism and industrial agriculture have been fuelled by coal and oil. All the coal, petroleum and natural gas we are extracting and burning to run our contemporary, oil-based industrial economy was formed over 600 million years. We are burning up millions of years of nature’s work annually. This is why the carbon cycle is broken.

A few centuries of fossil fuel-based civilization are threatening our very survival by rupturing the Earth’s carbon cycle, disrupting her key climate systems and self-regulatory capacity, and pushing diverse species to extinction at 1000 times the normal rate. We are in the beginning of the sixth mass extinction. Industrial agriculture based on fossil fuels and toxic chemicals is the single biggest contributor to different aspects of the planetary crisis – climate change, biodiversity erosion, soil desertification and a water crisis.

Extinction is a certainty if we continue any longer on the fossil fuel path. A shift to a biodiversity-based civilization predicated on our return to the earth – in our minds, our hearts, our lives – is now a survival imperative.

We need to shift from oil to soil; we need to shift from extractivism based on dead, fossilised carbon to regenerating living carbon in our biodiversity and our living soil. We need to make a transition from the fossilised idea that nature is inert and dead, to the awareness that the Earth is alive, we are part of the Earth, and co-creating and coproducing with her rich biodiversity, we can regenerate the Earth and provide nourishing food for all. #ZeroHunger is an achievable goal if we shift from fossil fuel intensive, chemical intensive, industrial agriculture to biodiversity-based, ecological agriculture.

The Age of Soil is the age of the Ecocene, of Earth care, of regeneration and hope for the future.

Dr. Vandana Shiva trained as a physicist and did her Ph.D. on “Hidden Variables and Non-locality in Quantum Theory” at the University of Western Ontario in Canada. She later shifted to interdisciplinary research in science, technology and environmental policy, which she carried out at the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore. In 1982, she founded an independent institute, the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology in Dehra Dun, dedicated to high-quality and independent research to address the most significant ecological and social issues of our times in close partnership with local communities and social movements. In 1991, she founded Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seeds, and to promote organic farming and fair trade. In 2004, she started Bija Vidyapeeth, an international college for sustainable living in Doon Valley, in collaboration with Schumacher College, U.K. Dr. Shiva combines sharp intellectual enquiry with courageous activism. Time Magazine identified Dr. Shiva as an environmental “hero” in 2003, and Asia Week has called her one of the five most powerful communicators of Asia. Forbes Magazine in November 2010 included Dr. Vandana Shiva among the top seven on its World’s Most Powerful Women list. Dr. Shiva has received honorary doctorates from the University of Paris, the University of Western Ontario, the University of Oslo and Connecticut College, as well as the University of Guelph. Among her many awards are the Alternative Nobel Prize (Right Livelihood Award, 1993), the Order of the Golden Ark, the Global 500 Award of the UN and the Earth Day International Award. She received the LennonOno Grant for Peace award from Yoko Ono in 2009, the Sydney Peace Prize in 2010, the Doshi Bridgebuilder Award, the Calgary Peace Prize and the Thomas Merton Award in 2011, the Fukuoka Prize and the Prism of Reason Award in 2012, the Grifone d’Argento prize in 2016 and the MIDORI Prize for Biodiversity in 2016.