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Natural Living – Diversity vs uniformity

In this blog series I will focus on a few natural phenomenon and how in our modern lives we are straying further and further away from the laws of nature. How and why our lives have become completely out of sync with nature causing tremendous havoc in our lives, societies and natural eco-systems; and health and wellbeing of ourselves as well as our planet due to our actions.

Diversity – the very essence of life

Let’s start with diversity which is a fundamental foundational principle of nature. As we all know nature is all about mind boggling diversity. Diversity in all its forms and manifestations is the norm in nature and in all natural systems, without exception.

Let’s look at some facets of diversity in nature. In a global human population approaching 8 billion we know that no two finger prints are alike! Every human, animal, plant, river, eco system is unique. From micro to the macro we find amazing, mind boggling kind of diversity. This is also reflected in traditional human attire, cuisine, culture, languages, etc. where again tremendous diversity has been the norm.

The death embrace of homogeneity

How come, then in modern civilized world our approach, our actions and efforts are all in exactly the opposite direction, towards homogeneity and uniformity?

Take agriculture for example where we are going from bio-diversity (multi cropping, crop rotation, food forests, …) to larger and larger mono cultures; take languages where again we are increasingly moving from 100s and thousands of languages towards a single language in English; take our attire, where again we are abandoning our traditional local attire towards a more uniform way of dressing, where fashion trends ensure global uniformity; or cuisine where again the movement is towards greater homogeneity in the name of globalization; or diversity within a plant species, where increasingly 2 or 3 varieties are replacing 100s of varieties within a species whether in the case of bananas or rice or vegetables; or in the case of pets like dogs where we are patronizing a few breeds globally irrespective of their suitability for local conditions and at the cost of local breeds; and one can go on and on.

Everywhere where humans have intervened you see an attempt is being made to move away from natural diversity towards greater and greater uniformity and homogeneity.

The curse of modernity

Ofcourse this is a relatively recent phenomenon characteristic of our ‘modern’ çivilised’ human history, that has arisen mainly since industrial revolution and colonization, accelerated during the 20th century and reaching extreme proportions in the last few decades. Even today all traditional societies whether tribal or indigenous embrace diversity in all its grandeur.

It’s the modern western civilization that we all embrace today, has created this suffocating monotony of uniformity and homogeneity.

Of late you can see this extending further in aspects of society like political sphere, religious sphere, ideological and intellectual sphere – where again extreme intolerance towards diversity of thought, opinion belief and dissent, and a brazen attempt to impose a majoritarian uniform narrative is in full display whether in our own country or globally.

What is demanded is complete conformance with the so-called mainstream.

In the economic sphere this trend is visible through the rise of humongous, all powerful transnational corporations and global supply chains fueling irrational global trade, that are stamping out local businesses, pauperizing small farmers and traders, holding customers and societies to ransom;

leading to rampant destruction and desecration of the natural environment; and obscene concentration of economic power and wealth in the hands of global 1%.

And the consequences are obvious

Human beings are creation of nature and an integral part of nature, intricately interconnected to and interdependent on, all aspects of nature. So, when we move so fundamentally away from nature and its core principles, we put our own well being as well as the well being of our communities and societies, and of all natural systems at risk.

The results are there to see everywhere one looks –identity crises, loss of physical and mental health on a unprecedent scale, dysfunctional families, communities and societies, collapsing natural eco systems, all pervasive strife and conflict, species extinction, loss of bio-diversity and soil health, water crises, and so on.

Nature is clearly telling us that our lives, practices and models are completely in conflict with its core laws and principles and hence are simply unsustainable.

The way forward

The only way forward is to accept and embrace diversity as the foundational principle in our day to day lives at the micro level and our policies and models at the macro level.

So, any corrective action be it in agriculture, restoring soil health, reinventing our cultural, linguistic identity and rootedness; regaining our health and wellbeing; healing the deep fissures in our society; creating sustainable and just economic models; or restoring our natural eco systems, recapturing our community space and a collaborative social model – has to be based on acceptance and application of two core principles of local and diverse, which are but two sides of the same coin.

Thus, our approach and effort have to be to always think local, act local, buy local and embrace local in all its uniqueness and diversity.

As Farmers: Grow crops optimally suited to the local conditions – soil, rainfall, temperature, and so on. Consciously promote bio-diversity – through multi-tier, multi-crop farming, crop rotation. Use local native seeds and plant varieties. Learn from traditional local wisdom handed down from generations

As Consumers: Always patronize local and shun products from faraway lands. Buy from farmer markets, santhes, road side traders, small traders, local markets and shun big super markets and malls and most importantly e-com giants. Pay a fair price to the local producer and small trader.

As individuals: Embrace local language, cuisine, culture, attire. Be deeply rooted. Learn to co-exist with and develop tolerance towards differing points of view, beliefs, customs. Cherish and foster the diversity around us

As a Society: Move away from centralized, homogenized planning and implementation models towards locally envisioned, owned, driven and implemented initiatives; encourage local common ownership of public spaces and assets; patronize local businesses, restaurants; and resist all efforts towards imposing uniform, homogeneous, bureaucratically controlled models, policies, plans and programs

Though we have a long way to go, our entire approach and effort towards natural living and natural farming at Savera Naturals is based on these core principles.

We do really hope that together we can reclaim our lost ethos and once again learn to thrive in a diverse world.

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