The peace and environment activist Satish Kumar delivered his powerful ‘Live Simply’ message to an audience of more than 200 people in Keynsham last night.
Mr Kumar, a former Jain monk, who in his youth was inspired by the life of Gandhi, was talking as part of the Keynsham Music Festival. He was invited by Keynsham Action Network, a group formed after Mr Kumar gave an inspiring talk in the town in March 2012. The network is trying to put his ideas for a fairer, sustainable world into practice.
Mr Kumar spoke last night about Small World, Big Ideas, his call to everyone to discover their own inner activist. And he said that change needed to be at grassroots level as it would not come from prime ministers and presidents.
He told the audience in the festival’s main tent: “If I was president of America I would make one law – ‘Don’t waste’. All landfills would be closed – we have no right to put our waste into the land.”
He said that England needed to be gardened, not farmed, and that the land was not being taken care of properly in the name of cheap food.
And he lamented the fact that too many children living in cities suffered from nature deficit disorder and that nature was the greatest teacher. He spoke with passion about his orchard in Devon and what we can learn from trees, and about the Small School that he started in Hartland where children learn practical skills, such as baking and gardening, as well as the more usual academic subjects.
Saying said that money had lost its purpose, he advocated a shorter working week, job sharing for those without work and for more self-employment and eco-entrepreneurships.
He also offered his simple solution to global warming – ‘Slow Sunday’ , a return to it being a day or rest and spiritual renewal; there would be no cars on the roads, no shops open, no aeroplanes flying – which would cut global warming by a seventh.