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Assessing tools for sustainability: Bangladesh context

Hossain, A. and Marinova, D. (2003) Assessing tools for sustainability: Bangladesh context. In: International Sustainability Conference, 17 - 19 September, Fremantle, Western Australia

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The paper focuses on three key tools for sustainability and sustainable life-style: self-reliance, sustainable technology and appropriate consumption. It shows how simple life-style can underpin ecologically healthy consumption habits, high moral values, and spirituality for eco-living. It outlines a sustainable technology policy that can help regain economic self-reliance, retain cultural tradition and restore the degrading environment of Bangladesh and other countries with similar sustainability issues. The notion of 'self-reliance' is redefined in terms of sustainability, the spirit of which is underpinned by the Gandhian concept of material possessions and his technology policy. This “self-reliance” is depicted as the basis for local and global sustainability. The paper asserts that these three sustainability tools are embedded in the tradition of the Bauls (singing philosophers) of Bangladesh, who promote sustainability through their songs, values and spiritual education. The Bangladeshi people's positive spiritual dispositions towards floods, droughts and river erosion allow them to interpret such events as nature's tools for sustainability management. Thus, the paper aims to establish that possibilities for achieving global sustainability are already embedded in the way Bangladeshi rural communities enjoy self-reliant living without destroying the country's natural resource base.

It suggests that Baul views of lifestyle, consumption, technology and self-reliance can form the centre for sustainability. The synergy between these tools reflects Gandhi’s view that the earth has enough resources to meet all sustainability needs. The paper concludes by highlighting the challenges for sustainability in Bangladesh amid the country's present state of mal-governance, donor-driven development and technology policy.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy
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