We’ve been all the way to the moon and back

So often, we do not know where our food, our clothes, or anything else that we buy comes from. We live in a world of consumerism where people are pushed to buy more and more. One of the Dailai Lama quotes perfectly describes the world we currently live in.

“We have bigger houses but smaller families;
more conveniences, but less time;
We have more degrees, but less sense;
more knowledge, but less judgement;
more experts, but more problems;
more medicines, but less healthiness;
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back,
but we have trouble crossing the street to meet
the new neighbour.
We built more computers to hold more
information to produce more copies than ever,
but have less communication;
We have become long on quantity,
but short on quality.
These are times of fast foods
but slow digestion;
Tall man but short character;
Steep profits but shallow relationships.
It’s a time when there is much in the window,
but nothing in the room.”

H.H The XIVth Dalai Lama

            What can we learn from this experience? What can we bring back from Auroville? How can we live better in a city of concrete, apartment buildings, pollution, cars and never-ending consumption?
There are practical ways to start. How can we eat better? How can we buy better? We need to get into the space of ‘unconscious right’ that Ribou spoke about at Wasteless. Let’s make our carbon footprints as small as possible. Let’s support the green markets. Let’s use cloth bags instead of plastic; let’s reduce the amount of plastic we use. Let’s buy in thrift shops and exchange clothing online. Let’s use our clothes washers and especially our driers less often. Let’s use washable pads or diva cups. Let’s buy cosmetics and creams made from natural products and that have not been tested on animals. Let’s read the labels and let’s do the research: let’s ask ourselves a million questions about how we live and what we consume. Our future depends on it.

-Chelsea Carter

Let’s make sure this New Year changes

Let’s make sure this New Year changes for the better and that troubles such as war, terrorism, domestic violence, famine, disease, pollution, corruption, hurricanes, droughts, floods, deteriorating economy, and religious intolerance decrease or come to an end.
“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”- Edith Lovejoy Pierce.

Chelsea Carter

The Impossible is Possible

By Mia Windisch-Graetz

Three dead bodies carried away by a bunch of six-legged murderers – in India one can have interesting encounters in the bathroom. I will never forget the moment when I discovered an ant colony that evidently split into three small groups in order to carry away three (still living) wasps. Attracted by the light in the sanitary facility, the wasps apparently got tired and while having a rest, they offered the perfect opportunity for an ambush attack by a hungry ant family.

Screen shot 2016-02-18 at 2.13.45 PM(Unfortunately, one can’t embed a video, so WATCH it HERE)

Without a doubt, an ant alone has no chance to defeat a wasp, but their teamwork as well as their extraordinary communication skills make them invincible.

Ants are considered as one of the best communicators among all beings worldwide: The lone ant follows the path marked earlier by her companions. Along the way, if it stumbles into a giant wasp that would feed many in their family, it releases a complex cocktail of chemicals to summon reinforcements which soon arrive. Not only do they know how to find the hunt, but they also bring the necessary tools and personnel to kill the wasp and bring the body back to their nest.

It sounds scary but is indeed clever: The ants’ efficiency at foraging has even inspired business and computer problem–solvers, who are looking for new techniques to come up with quality answers in the quickest time.

However, the wasp itself was never regarded as a problem. Instead, they transformed the ‘problem’ into a solution from the start. We should consider these brilliant little beings in the bathroom as role models. By transforming waste, ‘the problem’, into something useful through recycling, we kind of already did. Also, by creating communities, such as Auroville, that unifies people with similar aspirations in order to change the world and make it a more sustainable place, we kind of already did.

Furthermore, this encounter reminded me of our group: How they carry something big together, they move things together, solve problems together, think and act collectively, help and support each other.

Let’s do it the anty way and make the seemingly impossible possible. Let’s move things together that seem to be too big for an individual to carry. Let’s fight together against these waspish wasps, no matter if they are called Monsanto, pollution or waste.

UNESCO World Radio Day 2016

By Lory Martinez

Before coming to AUP, I worked as the news director of my college radio station. I spent my undergraduate years editing and producing radio stories and eventually interned in public radio. I had developed skills in radio production, which for many of my friends, was a useless dying medium. I was told countless times that people prefer visual media, and that maybe I should crossover to video since Youtube was taking over. While slightly true, I always felt like radio still had value.  

And when my friends back home started listening to Sarah Koeing’s “Serial,” I was excited to see  the resurgence in appreciation for audio production. But you see, appreciation for radio comes and goes with the changing times. Gone are the days where it is the first and only source of information in many households, at least in the United States.

However, in many developing countries, it is precisely this “dying medium” that reigns. And it is a medium with such versatility that it can be installed and broadcast just about anywhere.

Tamil Nadu is home to more community radio stations than any other state in India. And up until now there was no real protocol for radio to be used in times of disaster.

This year, the annual monsoon season caused unprecedented flooding in Chennai, Cuddalore and Pondicherry.

With the help of the government, a team of community radio organizers put together an emergency radio station to broadcast in FM to the Cuddalore district during and after the floods. They created an open helpline for people to send their information to the relief workers via the station.

I worked on a panel discussion on the success of this Emergency Radio Station for UNESCO World Radio Day 2016 featuring community members and government officials, who worked together to save lives during the floods. The theme this year is Radio in times of Emergency and Disaster, highlighting the use of radio as a lifesaving medium of communication during and after natural disasters all over the world.

You’ll find the track below. 

Listen Live all day February 13 on the World Radio Day 2016 site

And for those of you who can’t wait to listen to other amazing stories about radio to be broadcast around the world, check out the Soundcloud.

Special Thanks to the Auroville Radio Team and to the good folks over at the Cuddalore Station who helped make this happen.