For the past two years, I have been commissioned by the Bhaktivedanta College (Budapest) to look at the question of what the real solution to the ecological crisis can be. I would like to briefly summarize the results of this research in this post and in the next few ones.
The research meant that I read a lot of literature on the subject, books, articles, studies. I tried to find common points in them, to synthesize their conclusions. Most of these were Hungarian and English scientific works written by ecologists, biologists, environmental scientists, sociologists, economists, anthropologists, etc. However, there were religious works among them as well. Most of them came from the Vedic scriptures, and in particular from those of Vaisnavism. Such are the Bhagavad-gītā and the Bhāgavata Purāṇa. I chose mainly the scriptures of Vaisnavism because I myself belong to one of the schools of Vaisnavism, Krishna Consciousness.
The works I have read included reports on individual research and works that summarized, synthesized previous results. Among Hungarian authors, I would like to highlight András Takács-Sánta. He is the director of Eötvös Loránd University’s Master’s degree in Human Ecology. In his work, he presents the subject of sustainability in a comprehensive and straightforward manner, for example in his book A közlegelők komédiája (The Comedy of the Commons).
Surprisingly, despite the wide selection of what I have read, I have found almost entirely consistent conclusions and suggestions for solutions in the various writings. And not only the conclusions of the scientific works were similar, but also the conclusions of the scientific and religious writings.
What were the conclusions about the ecological crisis?
Firstly, one of the main points in common was the finding that people would have to live in relatively small so-called ecological local communities in order to solve the ecological crisis. These communities are ecological and local because they produce to a large extent locally the material resources they need. Furthermore they take maximum account of the carrying and sinking capacity of the natural resources and sinks available to them.
It is not a complete self-sufficiency, since in most cases, beside the basic material goods, they would have to produce others that the natural resources available to them are unable to provide, at least in the long run. How do they get the missing part of their needs? From other communities that have access to other natural resources and thus can produce other goods in a sustainable way. It follows that these ecological local communities should also be organized into communities, communities of communities.
So that was the first conclusion. I will write about the followings in the next few posts. In the meantime, I wish everyone a pleasant community building!