Shiva opens the book by providing an overview on the importance of seeds and rice to the traditional food supply, most specifically in Indian culture. She stresses the fact that seeds are the root of the food supply cycle. Seeds also play a role in Indian religious ceremonies. Seeds are worshiped at a ceremony and then planted in to the ground. Over time, big businesses had claimed the indigenous seeds as their private property and have been granted patents over crops that have already been around for years. Shiva refers to this monopolization as hijacking the years the collaborative work and ideas from native Indian farmers. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the organization that grants permission for businesses to claim seeds as property. The monopolization of crops with exclusive rights has had significant impact on the reduction of jobs available around the world, especially in Mexico and India where more than half each of the country’s population depends on agriculture for their livelihood. Since corporations are now able to easily mass produce genetically engineered grains, the percent of grain import to Mexico has doubled, which sounds good in theory. However, the effect of importing such a large number of grains leaves well over 2 million native Mexicans without work, and therefore unable to purchase grains for their own consumption. Thus showing a cyclic pattern.
Shiva argues that mass production does not actually produce more food long term because of the harmful effects it causes on the ecosystem. Genetically engineered crops require the use of more harmful chemicals and pesticides, which in turn destroy the land leaving it useless for production in the future. Not to mention the harmful effects to the health of the human body. This is what Shiva referred to as the Green Revolution.
The second revolution she touched on was the Blue Revolution. Commercialized fishing, specifically shrimp farming destroys aquatic ecosystems permanently. Big corporations send large vessels out to sea to catch shrimp in mass quantities. A significant amount of diverse species of aquatic life are killed within this process. These boats drag massive destructive nets across the ocean floor that catch fish, turtles and other forms of ocean life by happenstance on the quest for shrimp. Known as “bycatch,” they are then thrown back into the ocean and left for dead. After this process repeats itself over and over again, the area is no longer sustainable and the organization relocates. Not only do the organizations need to relocate, but so do small villages. Because the aquatic ecosystems are so altered, it began to directly effect the village natives and the availability of food for them. When compared to the traditional methods of fishing used in India, natives made their own nets by hand and utilized rice paddys to cultivate. These ecosystems were self sustainable for over 500 years. Whereas more modern techniques cannot even compare.