Holistic Approach


A lot of the lectures I have attended here in Auroville frequently mentions the importance of thinking holistically. Essentially it would mean not trying to implement sanctions against a problems as soon as you see it arise but rather research to get to the root level or to see what is actually causing the problems in the first place. Many initiatives in Auroville attempts to think more about all of the aspects the intitiative or project might have an effect on. I think of it like the cyclical events that governs all  events in nature beyond man’s control. To me it makes sense to incorporate this thinking into all ventures we engage in as it would be more viable long-term as I see our current systems of long-term thinking failing all the time, they do not solve the problems they say they will, i.e development goals etc.

Today many areas of development are still too concentrated on to the short-term way of thinking of economics which limits it’s scope to taking into consideration the  long-term perspective. The lectures continually brought up the long-term economic benefits of ones actions as less money would be spent trying to fixe the new problems that aroses from not analyzing in deepth  the root problems.

I am thinking specifically about the Pondicherry Harbor which is supposed to stand for development, but actually caused a lot of environmental damage because it disturbed the natural distribution of sand along the coastline. This sand is what constantly recreates the shoreline, or the beach. The beach is needed to stop the ocean from eroding land mass higher up from   the beach. This also apparently led to more salt water leaking in to underwater aquifers which is used by people in general and in agriculture. This also meant the soil became less fertile due to increased salt levels. The solutions at first were to build sea-walls which solved the problem along one part of the beach but then added to erosion further up the beach thus adding to the problem.

A lot of money was spent trying to mitigate all of these side effects instead of actually seeing the root cause of the problem, which was the harbor itself. Problem however is that even if the root problems is identified it is still not being taken care of because the harbor is needed for “development”. However the cost to solve this problem far exceeds what it would cost to adress the root problem. As a consequence of one act carried out in the name of development thousands of people are loosing their livelihood that was dependant on the beach. To this must be added the innumerable effects it will have  on the agriculture side. My point is that it would be far more economically viable to scrap the ideas of constructing harbors in favor of finding a better solution that does not damage the natural occuring processes that we inevitably depend on.

//Joel Hellström

Linnaeus University