‘Encourage locally owned businesses to attain equality’
“Develop your country on your own terms and according to your own culture. Be true to the dreams of what India can be,” said David Orr, well-known environmentalist and Professor of Environment Studies and Politics at Oberlin College, in Bangalore on Thursday.
He was delivering a talk on ‘Sustainability and Development: The Challenge of the Century’, as part of the Wipro Earthian programme. Dwelling on issue of development in the Indian scenario, Prof. Orr said India should stop aping the western model of development and should focus on achieving sustainable development in a democratic manner.
Prof. Orr said there are several paradoxes in the western model of development. Though it has helped increase wealth it has not led to decrease in rate of poverty.
Mr. Orr emphasised that in order to achieve sustainable development, nations should adopt Gandhian model of development rather than a centralised capitalist model. He said that the earlier model of development was to encourage growth in order to attain equality. “But that has not happened. We need to find a way to spread wealth and that can be done by encouraging locally owned businesses.”
Stating that issues around sustainability are generally considered as complicated, he said that it can be put into practice in simple ways. Mr. Orr said, “Sustainable development cannot happen in classrooms, it has to happen on the streets.”
He also added that very often people from poor economic backgrounds are the ones who have to pay the price for development. Most development projects do not take them into account.
Referring to the increasing number of natural disasters across the world, he said that societies will collapse when they fail to anticipate problems, see a problem or solve a problem.
On how the idea of sustainable development can be sold to governments that are controlled by powerful corporate interests, Prof. Orr said, “In the U.S., our taxation laws are changed to encourage governments to have a social agenda. The same thing can be done here.”
Keywords: Environment Studies