An uncomfortable relationship-divorce or reconciliation?

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Switching-on lights in your room would affect the life of tribal-women far away. Export of sugar is not only sweet trade. It is also trade in fresh water.Rendezvous with Dr. Gurudas Nulkar: Talk on 

Economics and Environment, An uncomfortable relationship

Background: TERRE Policy Centre launched new initiative in January 2015, called ‘Rendezvous-RDV’ with experts and thinkers. Every month an interaction with the ‘out-of-box’ personalities is organized. The interactive sessions are aimed at bringing together the like minded people to dialogue with the experts about environment, economics and social issues. To learn about working for conservation, restoration and respect for ecosystems, particularly from the ground level examples and to inspire the actions for societal benefits have been at the core of the objective. People from all age groups, various professions and interests gather for these interactions.

March RDV With Dr. Gurudas Nulkar

Date: 20 April 2015

Venue: Indradhanushya Paryavaran Kendra, Pune

About Dr. Gurudas Nulkar: After a few years of successful entrepreneurship, Dr. Nulkar turned to being an ecologist. At present he is the trustee of the ecological society and a professor at Symbiosis International Centre for management and HRD.

The issue and discussion: The expert presentation began with a story of a girl in a city switching on a electrical button in her house on one fine evening. This simple act triggered a phenomenon taking the audience from house to power grid to power plant to mines to non-material destinations like issues of deforestation, health of miners, pollution and more.

With discoveries, inventions, trade, commerce and science have advanced with unprecedented pace. Economics emphasizes GDP of a nation overlooking the real capital (natural resources) and real cost (waste and pollution). This market hides the ecological truth, said Dr. Nulkar.

The dire picture of present market running as a ‘self-regulating system’ promotes “faster, cheaper and newer” commodities over “safer, healthier and fairer” products. Dr. Nulkar stated that we should move from this failing economy-concepts towards what has been traditionally preached in India, Gandhian economy or the one found in our vedas. Moving from consumption based economy towards well being based economy by reducing wants, reducing stock consumption and regulating the flow of natural resources ; decentralization of money; and localizing the demand and supply cycle avoiding the need of irrational trade would lead the society to achieve the sustainable development.

Examples: We need not fancy usage of latest phones and simple dump the old ones. Mobile phones are meant to facilitate communication. And a device sufficing this need is good enough to be used as phone. More and more features will keep on getting added as technology advances daily. But that should not tempt user into making decision that will impact the market adversely (from ecological point of view). More demands, means more exploitation of resources. This simple example symbolizes effect of consumer needs on economics and environment.

Q and A: To answer the issue of environmental exploitation for energy resources, forms of renewable energy are being investigated at various levels. But even today, we largely depend on the conventional energy sources only. So one of the questions asked was about the future of renewable energy and its use in future. Dr. Nulkar answered saying that, with population, energy demands are always going to increase. We must therefore not only rely on renewable energy but also work on reducing our energy demands, thus hitting on the bull’s eye. This is the direction towards the Gandhian economics.

Conclusion: The audience was motivated by the optimistic message given by this presentation that we need to redefine our preconceived notions about market. END

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