Monkombu Swaminathan

The Father of India’s Green Revolution & Protests Against New Enbridge Pipeline

This weekend protests were held across the country to oppose the Northern Gateway Pipeline and the oil tankers it will bring to BC’s coast. Terra Informa was on hand to bring you coverage from the Edmonton rally. We also have an exclusive interview with Dr M. S. Swaminathan whose pioneering work saved India from famine in the 1960s and earned him the title “Father of the Green Revolution in India.” Plus, we learn just what’s meant by the term biomonitoring.

Photo: Jordan Leighton


This past weekend saw rallies all across Canada protesting the proposed Enbridge pipeline. When completed, it’s intended to carry crude from the Alberta tar sands to the BC coast to be shipped overseas. Concerns have been raised over the impact of building the pipeline, the threat posed by tanker traffic through BC’s sensitive coastal waters, and the fact that the project will be supporting the tar sands, which have a long list of environmental problems of their own. To make matters worse, much of the pipeline will be travelling trough unceded first nations territory. Opponents to the pipeline help rallies in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and in Prince George. Our correspondent Steve Andersen was at the rally in Edmonton and spoke to spoke to some of the participants.

Inspired by India’s independence in 1947 and driven by a desire to see his country hunger-free, Monkombu Swaminathan, PhD, has led the global movement in bioengineering food production. He led the agricultural revolution of the mid-60s that literally ended India’s food dependence and avoided the imminent famine that many experts were predicting at the time. Considered the “father of the green revolution in India,” Professor Swaminathan has been recognized as one of the 20 most influential Asians of the 20th century, and one of only three Indians, by Time magazine. He remains that true progress towards food security for the planet must be through “pro-nature, pro-poor, pro-women, and pro-sustainable on-farm and non-farm livelihoods.” He is regularly consulted by the United Nations on food security issues and is globally recognized as a prominent advocate for social change.  He currently leads a prominent research foundation that takes scientific research from the laboratory to effect positive change at the village level. He recently received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Alberta and delivered the Bentley/Lester Pearson Memorial lecture entitled “Food Safety and Security in an Era of Climate Change”. Terra Informa correspondent Marcus Peterson caught up with Professor Swaminathan while he was in town.