People are picking through the trash for something to eat, their houses are periodically flooded, their children run around naked instead of being able to go to school, hygiene and health are unattainable, and yet they still smile. The true question here is not what we middle- class Westerners can teach these people, but what can we learn from them? While we complain about our meal not coming fast enough at a restaurant, a woman is unable to feed her children that night. The waiter should come ask us; would you like a side order of trash? While we complain about having a cold, there is a man outside lying on the hard ground with a fever. While we complain about not having access to a washing machine, a gypsy family will be wearing the same dirty clothes they have been wearing all year.While we complain about cold showers,the gypsy people have nothing but a hose spewing untreated water. While we complain about our hostel,there are people nearby living in a hut with 2 rooms for 10 people. While we complain about the Internet service, children around us are taught only how to beg in the street for a piece of bread. Will we ever complain again so much, now that we have seen the life of true want first-hand? Will I want to buy the next pretty, cheap dress, now that I know that farmers and factory workers are dying to produce it? We have not been greateful enough for what we have–instead we have been complaining for what we don’t. We cannot globally go backwards to a simpler life where we consume only what we need, but we can retrain our technology to help more people. We need to make it a technology goal to stop damaging the earth with all our trash.
Even if it’s a drop in the bucket, Auroville is trying to find solutions. The people of Auroville are creating NGOs for sustainable Fashion by working with farmers who cultivate organic cotton. Auroville is creating washable pads because plastic takes 800 years to disintegrate. Auroville is creating bags and art out of plastic. Auroville is creating alternative medicine and dental health care and alternative educations.
The people of Auroville are trying to create other ways of eating,consuming and living. Global awareness is the next step.
The first step as you point out is to recognize what we have, and we have too much! The second step I believe is linked to communication but how does one engage an audience with a topic or issue they have not “lived” or experienced?