Good for us good for the planet

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Nidhi Aggarwal

From the early years of the 20th century, there have been several great visionaries who realized that our modern civilization was overstepping its limits of exploitation and consumption on earth. From Tolstoy and Gandhiji to Schumacher and the Limits to Growth report, there were several warnings that we were headed towards disaster, unless we changed course to a more sustainable path. The way these messages were received largely was that all the products of development we learnt to love and enjoy, the cars and the planes, the convenience foods and gizmos – these were all good for us but not good for the planet, but how can we give up development? Yes, we are trashing the planet, but sorry, it can’t be helped!

Then in the last decade or so there has been a whole fresh approach that has emerged, supported largely by scientists and researchers in various fields, particularly health and medicine, psychology, neurology and behavioral sciences. These include findings about the connection between vegetables, fruits and building immunity and health; about communities, relationship and alienation; about brain science, studies on stress and dealing with it, and much more. These findings seem to reflect the Hermetic Principle: As within, so without. While we have been romancing the ‘good life’ created by development, the hidden reality that many of its products are actually not good for us has emerged.

The more well-accepted examples are about chemical agriculture and industrial food creating health hazards as well as degradation of land and water; instead, organic farming would be good for the land as well as for us. Industrially processed foods, particularly meat, causes a range of diseases like diabetes, heart diseases and cancers; instead, local, fresh and homecooked foods help us build immunity and are highly sustainable. The message that is emerging is that in many, many aspects of our lives, what is good for the planet seems to be really what is good for us in the long run.

Even when it comes to political, economic and social processes, what is good for sustainability seems to be what is good for human communities. For instance, de-urbanisation and fostering a diversity of cultures seems to be better for people’s need for a sense of belonging and happiness, and also for sustainable living; local communities where people can take charge of their needs and be interdependent, works better for managing the ecological commons than the centralized control by nation states that we now have. In this issue of Eternal Bhoomi, renowned ecophilosophers, Satish Kumar and Wendell Berry share their views on food and human scale and locally adapted economies. The Bhoomi team has also elaborated on 9 ways that are Good for Us and Good for the Planet (which actually means good for us to survive as a civilisation!)

Now, we request you, dear readers, to join us in spreading the word about these and many other issues through introducing the Bhoomi Magazine to your friends. A great way is to offer gift  membership to some of them.