Sharing Resources and Sustainable Consumption (SRSC) is about protecting the environment and natural resources from environmental degradation, and promoting a more sustainable lifestyle. Our consumption patterns have changed over the years due to several reasons like scientific and technological innovations, concepts of globalisation, liberalisation and the like. We consume more resources in daily life, in the form of transportation, electricity, appliances/accessories, logistics etc. In the process, waste generation increases, air and water quality decreases, inequality widens and the health of people is adversely affected. Therefore, there is an urgent need for everyone to take cognisance of this important crisis before us and take necessary measures like consuming responsibly and sharing existing resources without throwing them away, which will go a long way in protecting the environment and the future generation. To build this SRSC, cooperation from consumers all over the world is highly essential.
Why does it matter?
The unsustainable lifestyle has triggered severe scarcity of resources and caused environmental degradation and climate change. According to the United Nations, more than 10 percent of the world population continues to live in poverty and struggles to meet even their basic needs. Sharing resources like food, clothes, books, toys, and other household items etc with others will help in upbringing equality in the soceity. Minimising the depletion of natural resources and toxic materials used,reducing waste and pollutants produced in the entire production and consumption process will protect the environment and people from serious threats like global warming, poverty and hunger. A 2019 study shows that the relationship between economic growth, environment and society are three interconnected spheres. It says that almost every activity of a person has implications on the environment and the society and that determines the present and future generations' well being.
Source : Sustainable development: Meaning, history, principles, pillars, and implications for human action: Literature review
Furthermore, the 7Rs viz. Rethink while purchasing a new product or using new resource, Reduce the consumption, Repurpose the used or old items, Refuse unwanted purchase, transportation, and production, Reuse the old items, Repair the products which are damaged instead of discarding or purchasing a new one and lastly Recycle the items which can used again in new form are the sustainable lifestyle strategies which should be applied by every individual in their daily life activity. All these strategies focus on minimizing the waste and taking the steps towards a sustainable lifestyle. We must remember that this concept is nothing new to India. Historically, culturally, we were practising the R’s and sharing within the communities for several decades. Some items that were regularly exchanged/shared, especially in small towns and villages, included food, utensils, clothes, school books, etc. However, over passage of time and the influence of the western world, we got accustomed to the “use and throw” concept, which has unfortunately penetrated the smaller towns as well. The older generation still talks about the importance of sustainable lifestyles, nevertheless we have ignored their words so far. It is time for us to listen to their golden advice and go back to leading sustainable lifestyles and sharing useful resources instead of throwing them away, in order to make earth a liveable planet for the future generations.
CAG is part of a two months campaign (September -October 2021), supported by Consumers International, to promote SRSC. As part of the campaign, CAG has set up a Sharing Network to discuss and share information on sustainability and sharing and encourage them to take up activities to promote sustainability. In order to kindle the younger minds on the topic, CAG organised story-telling and essay-writing competitions for various age groups and organised a “sharing day” event among college students. CAG also organised a webinar on the subject, where consumers practising sustainability shared their experiences and a comic booklet titled ‘ Share and Care’, which highlights the importance of SRSC, was released. It is important for each one of us to recognise the seriousness of the issue and act responsibly