In today’s industrial and modern societies the majority of people walk the earth and live their lives without asking particularly many questions concerning their surroundings and especially not regarding their own impact on their surroundings. Every step we take in any direction, any device we use, wear or deplete will either affect our surroundings before we use them, while we use them or after we have used them. This consciousness about ourselves and our surroundings is a very rare but important lifestyle in need to be applied in modern societies where great changed then could be made for sustainable development.
One project here in Auroville strives to promote this idea of conscious living through selling products that enable people to have a sustainable lifestyle. This project is launched by the organization: Upasana – Integral design and is called Janaki – House of conscious living. The project is formed as a store that sells certain wares that follow the guidelines of sustainable living. They gather lots of brands in organic clothing, cosmetics, hygiene, food and drinks in one store and try to spread this idea.
Today many people could be “turned” towards a more conscious living, but the problem is that they often do not have any knowledge about how to apply such a lifestyle. They also do not know what impact their daily lives have on their surroundings. Upasana’s work in this project is therefore crucial so that this issue is brought to the forefront and on to the agenda. However there also exist a skepticism and reluctance to such ideas. There’s often a mentality that the sustainable products aren’t as good looking, smelling or efficient as the non-sustainable products. And people often don’t see or don’t want to see the dark backside of everything they consume. There is always a bigger price for a product than just the numbers on the receipt in the store. But the Janaki project aims to turn this fact around and bring forth the positive backside of every product they sell. With their products organic farmers and producers are promoted and our surroundings don’t have to pay an unnecessary and harmful price. Fairtrade products have started to spread and grow in popularity as for example in the coffee industry. Janaki works with a lot of brands and lots of products in different businesses and therefore there’s always something to suit everyone to take a small step towards change. Small steps by individuals will result in big changes and big steps for society as a whole.
There is a need to become conscious about our lifestyle and put some effort in changing our habits for the greater good. Janaki is a role model that should be embraced and followed. These issues makes me relate to some phrases of the lyrics to a song by the band Disturbed that is related to this issue: “Our future is fading. Is there any hope we’ll survive? Still we ravage the world that we love. And the millions cry out to be saved. Our endless maniacal appetite left us with another way to die. Feed and hunger led to our demise – a path I can’t believed we followed. Can we repent in time?”
And that is the big question: can we repent in time if we continue the path of our maniacal appetite and ravage the world that we love? I say: lets change ourselves and save the millions that cry to be saved throughout the world and in that way make room for hope and our future. Janaki in this case is an opening and door to such change. Let’s open the door and enter it!
/ Daniel Ahlm – Linneaus University