Punjabi farmers killing selves


In India, farmers are killing themselves by swallowing the same pesticides used to protect their fields, but not before greedy global agribusiness kills their crops, their land, and their hopes.

In a speech for the BBC’s REITH LECTURES 2000, sustainable-development advocate Vandana Shiva relates the utter destruction she saw in the country’s Punjab region, which was once a richly productive farming region.

Recent Must Reads

9/9 – Cat burglars beware

9/8 – Just stop it.

9/7 – Hothouse blues

9/6 – Too famous for jail

Shiva says global agribusiness goaded Punjab farmers into abandoning their traditional crops for genetically engineered hybrid cotton — “white gold” which would make the peasant farmers rich. Instead, the farmers are now beholden to the company to get seeds at ever higher prices to replant crops.

Worse, the GE cotton is especially prone to disease and pests, and the volume of pesticides farmers must use have wiped out local pollinating insects like butterflies and bees. Now, without the insects, other crops are dying.

One More Thing

And it's a big one. Mother Jones is launching a new Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on the corruption that is both the cause and result of the crisis in our democracy.

The more we thought about how Mother Jones can have the most impact right now, the more we realized that so many stories come down to corruption: People with wealth and power putting their interests first—and often getting away with it.

Our goal is to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We're aiming to create a reporting position dedicated to uncovering corruption, build a team, and let them investigate for a year—publishing our stories in a concerted window: a special issue of our magazine, video and podcast series, and a dedicated online portal so they don't get lost in the daily deluge of headlines and breaking news.

We want to go all in, and we've got seed funding to get started—but we're looking to raise $500,000 in donations this spring so we can go even bigger. You can read about why we think this project is what the moment demands and what we hope to accomplish—and if you like how it sounds, please help us go big with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate