"Fortunately, we have a ban on the pesticide in Kerala. But there should be a nationwide ban on endosulfan," she said, inaugurating the first Biodiversity Congress here.
Shiva said a "toxic culture" was leading to "total destruction" of the ecosystem in the country. In Punjab, the number of cancer patients was going up with the increase in the use of pesticides in farms, she said.
"Biodiversity is not just about some plants. It is about the very web of life and about how ecosystems work. Biodiversity is the very foundation of an economy that is perennial," she said.
Warning that the rise of monopolies in the field poses a threat to bioversity, she said just like cotton has become a symbol of slavery with the arrival of BT cotton, monopolies had now started out in the banana and rice sectors.
"The developed countries are designing what they call green economy which is essentially a bio-mass economy and are putting it as a model. Countries like India should articulate with vigour our own biodiversity to protect our ecosystem and knowledge system," she said.
Shiva said economy, democracy and cultural diversity of a country was dependent on biodiversity. Since the introduction of liberalisation in the nineties, 2,50,000 farmers had committed suicide in the country, she said.
Farmers are being forced to buy genetically-engineered seeds and pesticides, Shiva said, adding, "The combination means indebtedness, which leads to suicide. It is the result of a twisted way of thinking about both nature and economy."