March 17, 2011
School of Engineering, Bengaluru
Dr. Amrita Thakur and Mr. Anil Kumar of the Department of Chemistry at the Amrita School of Engineering, Bengaluru recently attended a conference that offered students, teachers and life-long learners a forum to discuss sustainable lifestyles.
The conference What’s a Good Life? was organized by Bhoomi Network, a non-profit organization that promotes education and ideas in sustainable living.
“It was good to meet people genuinely concerned about the environment,” said Dr. Amrita. “I feel that our students should also be given exposure to such events.”
The participants share their perspectives on the conference below.
As citizens of modern society, we are faced with a head-spinning multitude of choices about the kind of person we want to become, the products we should consume and how to live our lives.
Our daily decisions are undoubtedly influenced by numerous entities like the media, celebrities, as well as our personal role models. So how do we know who or what to consider a reliable source in helping us make healthy choices?
The conference focused on methods people can use to assume control of their decisions to create sustainable lives marked with happiness and fulfillment. It covered citizens’ potential to act as change agents to influence the world.
Day 1 of the convention carried the theme Seeing the Whole Picture and showcased speakers Dr. Nandita Shah, homeopath doctor of the Quiet Healing Centre in Auroville, Dr. V.S. Sreedhara, an English professor at Vijaya College in Bangalore and award winning journalist Shri. Devinder Sharma.
Dr. Nandita Shah spoke about nutrition and common misconceptions of good nutrition. She proclaimed that adult humans can live without milk, and that cow’s milk actually contains nutrients suitable for calves.
Furthermore, the milk produced in modern dairy farms contains harmful chemicals such as hormones, antibiotics and pesticides. In addition, the milking process damages the udder of the cow. Milk also contains pus.
Dr. Nandita emphasized that a fit lifestyle can be achieved through healthy eating habits. After she informed the audience of the importance of avoiding milk and going vegan, many attendees opted for herbal tea during the tea break.
Shri Devinder Sharma discussed the linkages that trade and economics have with agriculture. He was of the opinion that we should actively involve ourselves in the process of policy making, and must raise our voice against any decision made by the government which is not for the benefit of people.
Day 2 of the convention, themed A Sustainable Good Life presented the speakers Dr. Vandana Shiva, recipient of the Right Livelihood Award and Founder Director of Navdanya, Shri Gopinath Menon, UNICEF Chief for Maharashtra and Dr. Mira Shiva, physician and public health activist.
Dr. Vandana Shiva reviewed common perceptions of a “good life”. She argued that this type of life means maintaining a strong connection with nature. She emphasized the need to invest in land before real estate so that nature can be protected.
According to her, urban dwellers should strive to cultivate a garden of any size so their children can learn the value of Mother Earth.
Shri Gopinath Menon shared his experience working in rural Maharashtra, underlining the importance of understanding the problems that rural citizens face. He asserted that a progressive political climate in India depended significantly on the fortification of local self governance systems in the villages.
Dr. Mira Shiva lectured on the impact that nutrition had on children. She highlighted the ill effects of packaged foods in terms of their excessive preservatives and MSG, which is often misleadingly displayed as flavor enhancers on labels.