The 1993 Right Livelihood Award Laureate Vandana Shiva, will give a series of three lectures to mark this year’s UN International Year of the Soil and the decades-long struggle against oil extraction in the Niger Delta.
The commemorative lectures in Port Harcourt, Bori, Erema will be followed in Abuja by a Press Conference, all aimed at raising awareness about the importance of soil for human life, food security, climate change adaptation and sustainable development.
The first lecture on Thursday, July 23, will be delivered at the Right Livelihood College in Port Harcourt.
The lectures, organized in collaboration with Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) and 2010 Right Livelihood Award Laureate Nnimmo Bassey, will be followed on July 24 and 25 with seed democracy workshops in collaboration with women in Ogoni and in Erema in Rivers State.
Shiva’s visit will be rounded off with a press conference in Abuja on July 27.
The Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize,’ was established in 1980 to honour and support those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing mankind today.
Arc. Nnimmo Bassey, Director of (HOMEF) and 2010 Right Livelihood Award Laureate, in a statement on Monday, explained that the UN has chosen 2015 as the International Year of the Soil.
It said in the Niger Delta, oil extraction has severely contaminated the soil. A 2011 United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Report assessing the environment of Ogoni found that, in over 40 locations tested, the soil is polluted with hydrocarbons up to a depth of 5 metres and that all the water bodies in Ogoni land are polluted.
“With oil spills occurring with a disturbing frequency of almost one a day, the soil and waters of the Niger Delta are being severely degraded, thus raising challenges for production of wholesome food,” said Nnimmo Bassey, Director of HOMEF. “Vandana Shiva’s visit is timely and we expect that she will raise critical issues on the need to preserve our soils, seeds and food systems, rather than allow them to be destroyed by the irresponsible activities of oil companies in their bid to extract resources of diminishing value.”
Vandana Shiva, a physicist, philosopher, feminist, activist and author, has dedicated her life to defending small farmers’ rights and the rights of people to forests, biodiversity, water, seeds and land.
Her organization, Navdanya, which means “nine seeds,” has been actively involved in rejuvenating indigenous culture and knowledge, and setting up seed banks across India, training farmers in sustainable agriculture and seed sovereignty.
“I am honoured to have the opportunity to visit Ogoniland and pay tribute to the many defenders of the earth, including Ken Saro Wiwa,” she said. “We need to move urgently from an age of oil, with its wars and violence against the earth and its people, to an age of Soil – of peace with the earth and between people. Soil, not Oil, holds the future for humanity.”
a world-renowned environmentalist, physicist,
Schedule of events
Thursday, July 23, 9 am: Right Livelihood lecture, International Students Conference Hall, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt.
Friday, July 24, 9 am: Seed democracy workshop and garden of hope, Ken Saro-Wiwa Peace Centre, Bori, Ogoni
Saturday, July 25, 10 am: Seed democracy, environmental monitoring, Erema, Rivers State
Monday, July 27, 10 am: Press conference, Sheha Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja
For more information:
Health of Mother Earth Foundation
Telephone: +234 814 688 7788
+243 803 727 4395
Right Livelihood Award College
Telephone: +234 807 511 1856
About the Right Livelihood Award
The Right Livelihood Award was established in 1980 to honour and support those “offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today”. It has become widely known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’ and there are now 153 Laureates from 64 countries. The annual Award Ceremony takes place in the Swedish Parliament Building in December, with support by parliamentarians from all established political parties.
The Right Livelihood Award Foundation is based in Stockholm, Sweden. The prize is financed by individual donors.