Second Sustainability Conference in Hungary

By Andras Kun and György Kirs
The issues of climate change and sustainability in practice have not been at all less popular than last year. In pursuance of our first conference’s success in 2008 we organized our second Sustainability Conference where more than double number of guests showed up in comparison with last year.

Krishnas organise conference on sustainabilityThe issues of climate change and sustainability in practice have not been at all less popular than last year. In pursuance of our first conference’s success in 2008 we organized our second Sustainability Conference where more than double number of guests showed up in comparison with last year.

The nearly 420 participants were mostly university or college students and their teachers (about 300), whereas the rest were mainly researchers, environmental activists, interested intellectuals, etc.

The process of climate change is indicated by severe extremities of the weather. This assumption had been confirmed by the high storm-wind arriving just two days before the conference. It damaged the top-quality conference tent set up in Krishna-valley. Fortunately, as the forces of nature acted two days prior to the event, we had enough time to find a new venue and inform about the changes the more than four hundred registered guests. Owing to the hospitability of Hotel Azúr in Siófok we had an absolutely comfortable place to listen to the varied presentations of the conference. Afterwards, the participants had time to travel to Somogyvámos and in separate groups with one leader each visit Krishna-valley, about which they had heard so much during the day.

One of the most inspiring things about the event was that some university and college students were not merely “students” any more, but lecturers as well. It was quite difficult to choose four presentations out of the twenty dissertations that are in progress regarding the Eco-valley Programme. The programme of the conference was arranged so that internationally well-known researchers, professors and their students, furthermore, the leaders of Krishna-valley, who are practicing sustainable economy and lifestyle every single day, get their turns successively.

The patron of conference, the academician Gábor Vida pointed out that the footprint of humanity nowadays considerably surpasses the true capacity of the Earth. Therefore, “sustainable development” in the sense of “sustainable growth” is merely a quixotic illusion.
The economy and society in large would become sustainable if we reduced consumption and the degree of resources-use. Individuals have to acknowledge their alternative possibilities and responsibilities concerning environment. In the absence of this mankind will not be able to turn back processes leading to more and more additional crisis. Gábor Vida stressed that there is a need to rediscover a world where communities lead a cooperative, helpful, affectionate lifestyle. We should be looking forward for our enduring (sustainable) values in this manner, help our fellow-men to find these values, and furthermore, we should influence our leaders by emphasizing our needs of such nature. In addition to this it is advisable to make preparations for a hopefully not befalling misfortune of worldwide cataclysm. In order to achieve this we have to attain the most essential elements of self-sufficient local lifestyles that were so prosperous sheerly 150 years ago.

Sivarama Swami introduced the community as a system based on individuals, which cannot function without the presence of appropriate value system of individuals, i.e. adequate spiritual life. The concept of the holistic approach of sustainability, which was introduced at this conference, states that appropriate value system, knowledge and social order based on spiritual life, as well as an economy operated in consideration of all these factors indicate the bases of sustainability.

We heard lectures regarding the importance of eco-villages in connection with sustainability and self-sufficiency given in peers by the leaders of Krishna-valley and university students. Some of the highlighted topics were introduced through the example of the Krishna-valley community. Additionally, there were some lectures on sustainable farming, the results of calculations concerning Krishna-valley’s ecologic footprint and the relation between sustainable society and education.
We award the Prize of Eco-valley Foundation once a year to one of our partners who contributes most to the Eco-valley Programme. The prize was awarded for the first time and in compliance with the concordant decision of the Foundation’s advisory council it went to Judit Farkas, who as a lecturer of University of Pécs at the Faculty of Etymology and Cultural Anthropology organized numerous field trips and field-works for her students within the scope of one her subjects, the Eco-valley Research Seminar.

As part of the conference the representatives of Eco-valley Foundation and participants signed new cooperative documentations with each other. The list of six institutions of higher education from last year is now extended by signatures of a university, a research centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and two companies all ready for cooperative partnership and scientific researches.
The last lecture of the conference revealed noteworthy data regarding the economy of Krishna-valley. It turned out that even this year with severe economic crisis the GDP of Krishna-valley exceeds the Hungarian one; furthermore, it matches the European Union’s average. The inflation rate (1%) is well under the national and EU’s figures. Unemployment does not exist as all the inhabitants are respected and important members of the community.

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