Exploring the Relationship Between Sustainability and Spirituality: Shared Concerns
Roundtable Exchange at Asian College of Journalism (ACJ), Chennai, India (2013)

Reflective views and critical exchanges on the relationship between sustainability and spirituality. Organised by GCSSFS and held at the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai; India, 2013. Excerpts from comments and conversations by the participants.

Geritt De Vylder (The Netherlands)

"History keeps repeating...Economic crises keeps repeating. The rules of the game have hardly changed...We keep doing the same mistakes over and over again. We need to change the rules of the game to destablise status quo and build a new game...new futures..."

Sashi Kumar (India)

"There are a lot of religions but not much spirituality...Unfortunately, religion has become less and less spiritual...and the only way to reform it is to systematically imbue it with more and more spirituality !"

Yves Berthelot (France)

"Look for stories of sustainability...Look for stories and draw critical lessons...Lessons of sustainability for all of us. It is important that we have stories for they not only inspire us but also show us that a way forward is possible."  

Indu Prakash Singh (India)

"There is a lot of disquiet in the world...People lost or seeking a way out...to peace and happiness...to a future which is more humane, wholesome, connected and spiritual."

L.A. Samy (India)

"We are all looking for a concrete utopia where human dignity is central...Yes, there is a lot of hopelessness around but also a lot of hope...We are certainly capable of building a greater sustainable human society...And we should start from our humane achievements."  

Dicky Sofjan (Indonesia)

"Building a 'movement' and building up the 'momentum'...We must be ready to be ridiculed, dismissed and ignored...[the] 'movement' should be made into a 'project of humanity', because this does not only denote a shift in paradigm, but also an attempt to destabilize the fundamental logic of capitalism, neo-liberal ideology, the free market, profiteering and greed..."

Sangeetha Sriram (India)

"The feminine principle must be an integral component of the core character of world...of spiritually-engaged sustainable futures..."

Manish Jain (India)

"We mix up education and schooling...Schooling is most often not education. One simply contributes to the factory-system and supports the unsustainable status quo, the other opens the mind and heart continuously for a more humane sustainable future..."

P.P. Sivapragasam (Sri Lanka)

"We must be clear about how we understand and use the terms like "sustainability" and "spirituality"....Otherwise we will be identified with many oppressive governments, promoting a culture of fear, which also use such terms to build legitimacy of their rule..."

Somboon Chungprampree (Thailand)

"Many organisations are doing what we are intending, attempting to do...So why the Centre (GCSSFS)...What is the difference we are going to make or bring about in the world, to our common shared future."

Ajay D. Behera (India)

"Are we framing "sustainability" and "spirituality" at the "ideational/discourse" level or the "action/practice" level? We must be clear of this. They pose different sets of problems...At the idea level, we can talk of a world without nation-sates, of planetary consciousness, but at a practice level, we have to deal with reality of governments and states...This poses major challenges to sustainability and spirituality..."

Sashi Kumar (India)

"We should not forget the materiality of our existence...Merely focussing on individual consciousness, self-absorbed meditation in 'bubbles of self-improvement' without simultaneous concern for our collective material future will not get us in the direction we are deliberating here..."

Nicholas Cinnappan (India)

"I was totally disturbed yesterday hearing from all of you...I want to know...Where am I heading to? Where are we all heading to? I want to keep the focus on sustainable change, starting from where I am..."

Lawrence John Sinniah (Malaysia)

"All my life I have been trying to be human/humane...To go beyond my circumstances, my limitations...Given the world we live in and its unsustainable demands, it is very hard but only that make me very happy..."