Category Archives: social
|Exploring a Sustainable Future
A 6-day Workshop at Auroville
September 14-19, 2009
Register before August 16, 2009
What is Auroville?
Auroville is a universal township, located in Tamil Nadu, India, about 8 km from the town of Puducherry (Pondicherry). Auroville is recognised as the first and only internationally-endorsed ongoing experiment in human unity and transformation of consciousness, also concerned with – and practically researching into – sustainable living and the future cultural, environmental, social and spiritual needs of mankind.
The Auroville community has experimented with many sustainable technologies since it was founded in 1968 and has a solid basis of achievement in the areas of reforestation, renewable energy, appropriate building technologies, water and sanitation, including decentralized wastewater treatment systems. (For more information on Auroville, look up the website: www.auroville.org)
What is the workshop about?
‘Exploring a Sustainable Future’ introduces some of the Auroville technologies and explores an integral approach to sustainable practices. This includes exploring inner sustainability, without which humanity will not be able to achieve a permanent change of consciousness.
The workshop includes theoretical sessions, practical demonstrations and site visits. In the classroom sessions, we will cover topics such as the environmental crisis, concepts of sustainability, water harvesting, wastewater treatment, solar energy, earth construction, food, community-building and wellness. We will take you on visits to see practical applications of sustainable principles. You will also get an opportunity to experience activities that explore the inner dimension.
We presume that you are coming to the workshop because you are concerned with the state of the world and are looking for solutions. We will do our best to widen your perspectives – about the world, the state of the environment, your society, your lifestyle, and yourself. One week is too short a period to effect deep changes, but we want to show you what is possible. We believe that ideas, technologies, and practices are less crucial than the effort to change one’s mindset.
The workshop will be an intensive one with sessions from 8.45 am to 9.00 pm every day. You will have some group assignments too.
What will the workshop NOT cover?
The workshop is not a detailed training programme on any of the technologies being experimented with in Auroville. If you only want to learn the technology of earth construction, ferrocement, solar energy, etc., skip this workshop and look for the specialized courses offered from time to time in Auroville.
Who will be the workshop faculty?
The sessions will be handled by an interdisciplinary group of Auroville residents, assisted by some external faculty.
Any other details?
The workshop is limited to 25 participants and will be conducted in English. Boarding and modest shared accommodation will be provided in Auroville at the Center Guest House, Centre Field, Auroville, located at the very centre of Auroville not far from Matrimandir. You can reach Auroville by the East Coast Road from Chennai (2.5 hours). It is about 8 km from Pondicherry (Puducherry).
Participants are expected to arrive on Sunday 13th September around 4 pm and leave on Saturday 19th September after lunch around 2 pm.
Please note that while we will give an introduction to the Matrimandir, at the centre of Auroville, and will view it from the outside, there will be no possibility to visit the inside of the Matrimandir during the workshop. Those who want to go inside should arrange to visit either before or after the workshop. Bookings can be made by phoning 0413-2622268.
Could I bring others with me as non-participants?
We are sorry we cannot accommodate non-participant family members, children, or friends. You are welcome to visit Auroville with them on a later occasion.
What is the workshop fee and how does one make the payment?
The workshop fee is Rs 8000/- including boarding and lodging from Sunday evening (13th September) until Saturday afternoon (19th September). Please make the payment only through a crossed cheque payable to ‘Auroville Maintenance Fund’.
If you are very keen on attending the workshop, but cannot afford the full fee, please give us reasons why we should offer you a partial scholarship.
How do I register for the workshop?
For registration, kindly write to :
Vandana Sanjay, avworkshop2009 ATT gmail DOTH com
Ms. Vandana Sanjay was a participant at the last workshop that was conducted in April 2009. She has volunteered to do all the preliminary work for the September workshop. She will be able to answer many of the queries you may have.
If necessary, you can also get in touch with the following member of the workshop team:
Prof.R.Rajagopalan, rrgopalan2005 at gmail dottt com
Applications and payment should reach Ms. Vandana Sanjay at the latest by August 16, 2009. You will receive an immediate email confirmation. If your application is received after we are full, we will have to regretfully return your cheque.
The famous video Story of stuff with Annie Leonard talks about externalizing costs. Annie Leonard tells how can a tiny good looking radio be sold at just few cents. Metal required for the radio is mined in Africa, plastic is processed in China, semiconductors are manufactured in China or Korea, radio is assembled in some south Asian country, the radio got transported to US crossing so many continents and oceans! And then also that tiny radio sells at few cents! Few cents even do not cover the cost of fare required to showcase the radio on racks of fancy shopping malls. Who is paying for all this cost? Those who work for manufacturing it, those who work for selling it, those who transport it, those whose natural resources were mined without giving them anything in return! They do not get paid enough, they are not provided with enough luxury at workplace what a typical US based MNC offers to its US employees. That where the cost cutting happens. The brand name on radio might be some big MNC, but actual cost of manufacturing is bared by many small small units scattered all over third world countries. On contrast all the profit goes to that person who owns the brand name and not to those who slogged day and night to get that product out.
Similar kind of story is getting cooked here in silicon valley of India. Its no hot news these days that big US company throws out their software department and all the software development comes to India. Why would they close down their profit making software departments? Possibly they want more profit. How do you get more profit from existing business? Either you put cost to customer by increasing price or reduce your expenditure so that at same selling price you get more money. First option is some what difficult to digest for a regular corporation. For considering first option you have to be really as arrogant and as strong player as Apple! Most of the corporations are not Apple, so they would go for second option. First thing that you can do in cost cutting is outsource as much as you can. What to outsource? something which is taking more cost at your corporation but somebody out there in third world country is ready to do it at considerably less cost. CEOs in Indian software industry accept such offers bluntly. They possibly bargain to some extent but still the deal they get is to do seemingly impossible work in unimaginably small fraction of time. Deal is accepted by both parties then people from both side feel very happy. Big corporation is happy for heavy cost cutting. Indian CEO gets various awards for fetching so called prestigious work in Indian industry. VCs who funded this small start up are also happy, as they see their funds converting in profit. Employees are happy because they get an edge over others to boost their ego as their small start up is now getting attached to one of the biggest corporations in the world. Let us try to find out how in this process exactly the cost is bared by those who work on the project. Initially they work with great zeal and enthusiasm due to recent ego boosting phenomenon. They slog day and night happily. And days, weeks, months go like this. For months people working on that project do not have chance to chat comfortably with family members. For months they do not have chance to see movie, do not have chance to have social gatherings, do not have chance to see new happenings in world. For months they work on same technologies, depriving themselves of new technologies. There is no time to learn new things. For months they do not have weekends nor they have holidays. For months they do not encounter any creativity. Their life rusts. During all this happening only thing that employees get is a pat on back. Even their basic needs like food when they work late hours is also not taken care by anybody. This extra stress taken by each employee, work of extra hours, work in nights, work on holidays, work on weekends goes totally unaccounted. This unaccounted cost is the cost reduction that you see! This is called externalizing the cost. Put it in some unaccountable form and then say that we have reduced the price, tell the world that we deliver softwares at very cheap rates (well, thats very cheap trick I guess!).
Somebody was asking me my comment on “A woman without her man is nothing”. I don’t know what to say really on this sentence. I am neither woman nor I read feminine books. But let me do some analysis of the sentence.
On emotional grounds ultimately what everybody seeks is happiness. Happiness is another form of feeling good about yourself. How do you feel good about yourself? You see in mirror and look at your face. Mirror says, “you look beautiful”, you feel happy. You put on nice fancy make up and go to college, all the boys in your class look at you, may be somebody with good confidence comes forward and whispers in your ear ,”you are looking good!”. And you feel happy! You do some intelligent work, your boss or colleagues appreciate that, you feel good! You do good deeds for society many members of society will love you.. and you feel good. Are you understanding the pattern in these examples? I am trying to stress a point that for being happy it is necessary that somebody from outside iterates on your inner feeling of being good or better. It is about being loved! yes one constantly strives for getting loved by others. It is basic human nature to seek love from outside. But why on earth one should seek love from outside? Because even strongest people on this earth are weak from inside, they know it. Because they know about their weakness, they feel insecure! Getting loved is better way of feeling safe in this world.
But you will understand there is basic flaw in this strategy if you are not going to have a close one to love you…. for simple reasons as I can see. Not so close people to you will not be sufficient to satisfy your need of getting loved. You will not look into mirror all the time when there is glow on your face… you might see gloomy yourself sometimes in the mirror. And mirror will say , “you look ugly”. That will make you insecure! That will turn your mood even down! College days are going to be over soon… there will be day finally when people outside will not have enough of time to appreciate your make up even if you try best to attract them! There will be time when colleagues would not notice your intelligent work. There will be time when society is not enough to cater your psychological needs of feeling good. So there will be time when you need somebody to whom you can tell frankly … cry your heart out, “I am not doing well, I need your help”… This is where I feel comes the part of a person , so called life partner. Life partner is to appreciate your beauty even when you are in the most gloomy mood. He is the one who will give you romantic kick of “you are most beautiful woman in my life” .. he is the one who will appreciate your dumb work too. He is the one who will give you feeling of security. …. in-spite of your weaknesses he would love you. And he would be the one who will help you getting to higher spiritual level , ultimately at that level where to be happy in life you won’t need even his help anymore. Looks like without life partner it is difficult to get nirvana 😉
Now I don’t understand how people make one sided statements. Why on earth the one who feels insecure has to be a woman? These things hold good even for men! So even a man needs a woman life partner to satisfy his psychological needs! So why not say “A man without his woman is nothing”. Possibly there is other way of saying it for men, “Behind every successful man there is a woman”. He he 🙂 this will take care of male ego too!
I think discussion holds true for a regular common human beings, but there are self disciplined and strong people like Vivekananda, Mother Teresa etc. and other great sages and revolutionary people who handle the life single handed. These kinds of people are strong enough and are already at the highest spiritual level where they need NO external help to feel good!
A wonderful commercial telling how innovations have surprised the world all the time. And it says, the innovation “Linux” is about to surprise the world once again!