While countries are fighting over who should reduce carbon emissions and by how much at Copenhagen, a simpler solution was proffered by eco-feminist Vandana Shiva on Wednesday.
"Grow food organically to cut carbon emissions by almost 40 per cent," said Shiva while delivering the inaugural lecture of the Catalysts of Change series at the Social Communications Media Department of Sophia Polytechnic.
Urging students to voice their disapproval of the first genetically engineered brinjal in India through public hearings in January and February 2010, she said, "We need to know what goes into our mouths. If our food is toxic and we are unaware of it, then India - the capital of hunger - is in serious trouble."
With the environment talks hogging headlines, Shiva was the ideal choice for this lecture series aimed at promoting interaction between media students and experts connected with contemporary social, economic and international issues.
Shiva, a pioneer in eco-feminism, which advocates women as conservators of the environment, spoke about food, a factor that has been swallowed up in talks on climate change and carbon credits. "It is the most important issue because food is us," said Shiva.
We all know about film piracy, but what about bio-piracy - the rampant patenting of indigenous treatments by foreign companies? The threat of terrorist violence is potent, but what of the violence of the Green Revolution that crippled farmers with debt and hunger? These were some the issues that Shiva illustrated with facts and statistics.
Cotton prices have shot up from Rs 7 to Rs 1,700 per kg since genetically modified cotton (BT cotton) was introduced. Scorpion genes were suggested as boosters to genetically modify cabbages.
Terming America's policies as "food dictatorship", Shiva said, "Michelle Obama has an organic garden but Barack Obama has Michael Taylor (who was in charge when the Food and Drug Administration approved a genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH) that is linked to cancer)."