Workshop theme: Environment
Organization: Pearl Academy, Bangalore
No of participants: 28
Age Group: 18-25
Duration: 3 days
Period: October 2023
The purpose of this program was to offer an experience of Auroville’s broad range of activities through hands-on work and experience of community living.
The students from Pearl Academy visited Auroville Papers to learn about their sustainable practices. Auroville Papers crafts handmade paper from materials like cotton rags, vegetable fibers, and recycled paper. Their commitment to sustainability is evident in their use of 100% long fiber cotton rags, resulting in strong, durable, acid-free paper available in various colors with decorative imprints like dry leaves. Their product range includes accessories, jewelry, paper artwork, and stationery
The students took keen interest in understanding how turning plants and weeds into pulp to create your own paper is an eco-conscious and sustainable endeavor that promotes organic, environmentally friendly practices. By recycling and handcrafting paper without the use of harmful chemicals, you contribute to the preservation of the environment while enjoying the creative process of making unique, sustainable paper products.
Eco Femme is an organization that champions sustainability and eco-conscious choices in managing your menstrual cycles. They provide alternatives to traditional plastic-based sanitary napkins and tampons, with a focus on raising awareness about the environmental impact of unhygienic practices surrounding menstruation.
Their commitment to sustainability is evident in their promotion of reusable cotton pads. Unlike disposable ones, these eco-friendly alternatives are designed to last, reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. Their pads are made from natural materials and are known to disintegrate over time, minimizing their environmental footprint.
Students from the Pearl Academy learnt invaluable lessons about menstruation and how we could make a difference by choosing eco-friendly pads. In their hands-on experience, they stitched their own cotton pads. Stitching cotton pads is a core component of Eco Femme’s mission. This practice encourages women to take control of their menstrual health by crafting their own reusable pads, thereby promoting self-sufficiency and sustainable living.
Upasana is a well-known brand based in Auroville that promotes sustainable living and conscious fashion. It emphasizes making clothing that is not only stylish but also environmentally and socially responsible, prioritizing eco-friendly practices in its production processes. This includes the use of organic and sustainable materials. They focus on creating durable fashion contributing to long-lasting clothing items, which aligns with sustainability principles by reducing the need for frequent replacements.
The students learnt how use of organic cotton and other sustainable materials in clothing, reduces the environmental impact associated with conventional cotton production. Sustainable practices, including minimal waste production, are integral to production processes.
The fashion industry can support heritage and culture immensely by learning from the rich history of our country.
A visit to Sadhana Forest was a transformative experience, instilling values of environmental responsibility and simplicity within the context of community living.
Students learnt about the concept of intentional community living, where individuals come together to create a shared space and lifestyle based on common values and principles. They saw how people from diverse backgrounds lived harmoniously and cooperatively.
Community service projects such as tree planting, organic farming, and other sustainable practices are practiced on a daily basis. An experience like this can instill a sense of responsibility and the importance of giving back to the environment. Sadhana Forest practices collective decision-making and resource sharing.
The students also saw first hand how a minimalist lifestyle can lead to reduced consumption, less waste, and a lighter ecological footprint. They gained insights into how happiness can be derived from non-material sources.
By actively participating in ecological restoration projects and observing how the community cares for the environment, it gave the group a deeper sense of responsibility for the natural world. They also witnessed the positive impact of restoring native vegetation, local flora and fauna and how such efforts can help revive ecosystems and biodiversity.
Tree planting is a central activity at Sadhana Forest. Students can understand the significance of reforestation and its positive impact on the local ecosystem and climate.The overarching lesson from Sadhana Forest is the importance of stewardship and caring for the Earth.
From the Participants
Few students shared their take-aways from this experience.:
“I felt a sense of generosity amongst the folks of Auroville.”
“What touched me the most was the quality of living and conscious choices made by the people.”
“The people here welcomed us with open arms.”
“A sense of timelessness made me forget the world .”
These comments from the students is a testimonial of the knowledge and experience they took back with them.
Students who attended this workshop went back with valuable life lessons that extend far beyond the classroom. Auroville, dedicated to sustainability and conscious living, serves as a powerful example of the possibilities of a more harmonious and ecologically responsible way of life. The workshop not only raised students’ awareness of the urgent need for sustainable practices but also inspired them to make a difference in the world. Auroville’s emphasis on community, renewable energy, and ecological balance taught students how they can positively impact their own lives and the planet. They learnt that sustainable choicescan enhance not only the quality of life for themselves but for future generations, leaving them with a profound understanding of how their actions can shape a more sustainable and equitable future.