urban India, consumer organisations are continuously alerting consumers
against acquiring consumption habits promoted through aggressive
advertising campaigns by multinational corporations seeking to replace
or substitute our traditional patterns of sustainable consumption.
in India has always been biodegradable (i.e. leaf plates, clay mugs,
etc.). Now disposable nappies, glasses, plates, and the like are
being introduced. Eating habits are being targeted for replacement
by packaged or bottled junk foods like breakfast cereals, pizzas
and burgers. Traditional medicines are being pushed out of Indians'
lives by allopathic drugs.
Gandhi, Father of the Nation, recognised the importance of established
patterns to local production and consumption in Indian lifestyles
and tried to promote them. He acknowledged peoples' traditional
awareness of their environment and their integration into its cycles.
He warned that the choices offered to people through rapid industrialisation
would bring rural migration, dislocation and poverty leading to
unhealthy and rootless lifestyles.
most Indian cities are testimony to the fact that unplanned growth
has created havoc with urban planning and the environment. Cities
have spread beyond their natural water sources, for example, creating
huge markets for clean drinking and cooking water.
need of the hour is to plan for a future where organic, biodegradable,
ecologically-sound products are available everywhere at competitive
market rates. India can play a pioneering role in this field, as
our traditional consumption patterns have for centuries been grounded
in sound environmental norms. If our ancient wisdom and time-tested
strategies for survival on this planet were to be explored for their
viability in today's reality, they would surely be helpful to all.
Western lifestyles are increasingly proving to be short-sighted
in many ways.
see an urgent need to catch up with the Indian approach to the environment,
rather than the other way around.