By September 10, 2013 Read More →

Agriculture and Sustainable Development

Today was one of the most truly enjoyable conversations among UN agencies, governments and all major groups that I have ever been to at the UN. The President of ECOSOC, UN DSG, USG of DESA welcomed us, and the expert panel had a diverse array of experts and speakers who really covered all sectors and opinions. More can be found at

There were two things that came through for me: One was that everyone seemed to be truly seeking a way to integrate all the “pillars”, and many seemed to more clearly understand what that actually entails. Changing our thinking, and prioritizing the dignity of local culture (as well as the dignity of the individual person) to facilitate change.

A few key comments:

When we get into global fixes we start compromising individual liberties. Environmental policy here comes up against blocks when it is perceived to compromise individual liberties for the common good. Until solving sustainability problems becomes an act of liberty rather than a challenge to it, we will keep having problems politically. Philip Dobie, Senior Fellow, World Agroforestry Centre.

We need to think the way the people we are working with think. Then we will get over the so-called challenge of integration. Hunter Lovins, President, Natural Capitalism Solution

We need to be prepared to think differently. For instance, working with the World Health Organization we’ve come to understand that the oasis is the cultural bedrock of many parts of Arab society. We realized that if we can bring the cultural idea of oasis into an urban context, ideas of urban agriculture and community will be accepted much more than than if we – as a global company with western engineering ideas – use urban design to solve the “problems” of these cities, without taking the deeper issues of culture and identity on. We need to enrich culture and identity rather than degrade it under the guise of “sustainable development”. Gary Lawrence, Corporate Vice President and Chief Sustainabiltiy Officer, AECOM

Sustainable Yogic Agriculture

When the floor was open to questions I asked how SYA could best be integrated into the work of ECOSOC. I spoke briefly about Sustainable Yogic Agriculture: A method born from community need, integrating meditative practices and traditional and organic methods of farming. I had the opportunity to mention the qualitative and quantitative change being realized within agrarian communities in India, confirmed by university studies. It felt great to mention introduce SYA in such a setting. To hear others respond from the panel, using the term “Sustainable Yogic Agriculture” instantly – for me – gave the entire initiative a new level of global integrity.

An inspiring and very worthwhile response to my question was by Philip Dobie who said: “A few years ago there was a mad idea from Bhutan that they should start measuring Gross National Happiness instead of Gross Domestic Product. Now that idea has become mainstream. The same may be true of Sustainable Yogic Agriculture. Sustainable Yogic Agriculture may be the new Happiness”.

Posted in: Sustainability

Our Privacy Policy   |   Our Cookie Policy