Satish Kumar speaking in March 2017
People tend to think a sustainable existence can only be achieved in the countryside and that the big cities of the world - London, New York, Mumbai - are obstacles to achieving this, argues conservationist Satish Kumar.
Mr Kumar - chair of trustees at the Resurgence Trust, which publishes The Ecologist online - argued that we have to think creatively about how metropolises can be used to make more of a positive contribution to the wellbeing of their citizens, especially now we have half of the world’s populations living in cities.
Dr Rupert Sheldrake, a biologist and author of more than 85 scientific papers and 12 books, speaks on 'Science and Spiritual Practices' for the next Resurgence Talk in London on 25 April 2018.
He asked his audience to think of the acres of available space on a city’s rooftops and walls. These spaces have the potential for growing food, harvesting energy and and collecting water. He argues the possibilities are endless as long as the imagination and willingness is there.
He argues we’d all be more contented citizens if we lived and worked locally, and were to walk or cycle to our place of work instead of enduring a chaotic, crowded and stressful daily commuting.
Mr Kumar argued that Brexit could be an opportunity to bring back local industry and revitalise local economies. He said the 'Leave' campaign’s promise of ‘taking control back from Brussels’ was all well and good, but asked where the control would then go. Would it be Washington, Sydney or Delhi?
He said that if the UK wanted to take control back from the EU then bring it needs to bring it back to Leeds, to Lincoln, to Sheffield and Stoke on Trent where industry once thrived and craftsmanship and skilled labour were prized.
But far from taking a narrow, nationalistic view, Mr Kumar concludes we still need to think globally whilst acting locally to ensure a sustainable future for our country.
Satish Kumar is editor emeritus of Resurgence and Ecologist magazine and chair of trustees of the Resurgence Trust. Mr Kumar is an author, teacher and speaker. He is also a long-term peace and environment activist.