So far on this quest of ours, I have shaken hands with Cincinnati’s elected officials, met Obama’s motorcade on the blockaded streets of Pittsburgh, eaten Skyline with a British diplomat–and now I have met Vandana Shiva, the physicist turned world-famous environmental activist.  I’ve sort of been a fan ever since I started reading her informative book, Water Wars (which I do recommend).

I feel so privileged to have heard her speak tonight at Xavier University about soil–its role in environmental health, in human societies, and how India’s green revolution has senselessly and needlessly destroyed their nation’s soil.  She  also made notes about COP15 in Copenhagen, for which I am grateful as well–she put into plain and simple words the issues that I have been reading about for months and slowly coming to comprehend: the UNFCCC is the only international environmental treaty that the world has (the Kyoto Protocol doesn’t count; the US Senate never ratified it) and the US is making moves to dismantle it.  Carbon trading is the same concept as indulgences were to the Rennaissance-era Catholic church.  And did you know that soil can act as a carbon sink?  I did, but I didn’t realize that well-managed, organically-tended soil could have 200% the capacity as regular.  GOOD TO KNOW since I am currently researching carbon sinks.

Dr. Vandana Shiva was a lively, authoritative and engaging speaker, and the only thing I regret is that it had to come to an end…I think learned more tonight than I did in my Environmental Science classes.

Because I’m turning into an attention whore, I went up and spoke with her after the lecture.  I thanked her for her presence and told her about my role as a youth delegate at Copenhagen–and I got her to sign my very well-loved (read: battered) copy of Water Wars.  I think I’ll put it next to my Sheikh Mohammed photo…or better yet, put it in my suitcase for Copenhagen where I hope to meet her once more!

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