Breaking Free: Dr. Madhu on Gandhi & The British Salt Tax at Navdanya. ~ Carrie Stiles

Dr. Madhusuri Prakash’s reflects on how to break free of oppressive economic power by removing the monetary gestures, or icons, of subservience. Dr. Prakash’s work explores indigenous cultures, grassroots movements, cultural diversity and Environmental Education. Her books include Grassroots Postmodernism–Remaking the Soil of Cultures and Escaping Education–Living as Learning within Grassroots Cultures.

This video was shot during Navdanya‘s remarkable Gandhi and Globalization course, which explored the economic crisis, the ecological crisis and the political crisis in the context of Gandhian philosophy and politics embodied in Swaraj, Swadeshi, Sarvodaya and Satyagraha.


Raw, Pure, Handmade Permaculture with Panya Founder Christian Shearer. ~ Carrie Stiles

Panya is giving back to the earth and building a global permaculture community.

Please listen to Panya founder Christian Shearer’s inspiring vision of how to live sustainably with the earth. His message of green self-reliance teaches us to find our purpose, get inspired and do it ourselves.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. ” ~ Margaret Mead

The universal standardization of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) over Plant Genetic Resources (PGR). ~ Carrie Stiles

Adult Portraits

Currently, 75% of the world’s poorest 1.2 billion people inhabit rural areas and rely on small-scale farming for their livelihoods (Andersen, 2006, p. 4).

There are at least 300 million indigenous peoples living in over 70 countries, the majority of whom live in poverty ( International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Indigenous peoples in poor countries are heavily dependent on seeds increasingly controlled by developing countries through the universal standardization of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) over Plant Genetic Resources (PGR) (Fowler et al., 2001).

IPR regimes are a common topic of debate, in a large body of literature, spanning several fields including: ecology,

  • environmental science
  • political science
  • international studies
  • ethnobotany
  • anthropology

IPR regimes operate through a vast network consisting of various treaties, rules, institutions, interests and relationships. The World Trade Organization (WTO) and developed countries are the main advocates of IPR regimes.


The United States (US) has been a key proponent and leader in promoting intellectual property protection  in agriculture (Shiva, 2005).

Primarily, IPRs over PGR restrict indigenous farmers access to seeds and criminalize the traditional practice of seed saving. IPR regimes promote the commercialization of PGR for food and agriculture. IPR regimes seek to govern over PGR by promoting the rights of the biotechnology industry and transgenic seed corporations to expand private sector IPRs.

The agreement on Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is at the center of debates pertaining to the negative impacts of the universal standardization of life form patenting.

TRIPs require member states in the WTO to conform their IPR legislation, regulations and procedures to universalize life form patenting of PGR or be subjected to sanctions (Godbole-Chaudhuri, Srikantaiah & Van Fleet, 2008). Patents on PGR have proliferated exponentially since the establishment of the TRIPS regime.

Life patents over PGR have had different socio-cultural, ecological and economic impacts including: criminalization of the traditionally pivotal practice of seed, the restriction of farmer’s access to seed, the emergence of the phenomenon known as biopiracy and the increased erosion of biodiversity and IK.