Spiti – A World Within a World
Nestled deep in the Trans-Himalayan belt of Himachal Pradesh of India lies a world within a world known as Spiti and within that world, the fascinating sustainable community of Ecosphere. Ecosphere, an organization whose aim is to achieve a responsive synergy between the economy and the environment, was first established in 2002. The rugged, mystical landscape of Spiti, however, has been around since the beginning of time. The Mahayana sect of the Vajrayana Buddhists, a purely homogeneous society of approximately 10,000 people, have also lived on this terrain for centuries. They are the keepers of the land and the secret holders to what makes Ecosphere a success.
“We feel that there is a certain amount of ethics and values attached to this culture that we feel needs to be preserved in order to ensure that the pressure of the growing population and its aspirations don’t fall on the natural environment here,” explains Sunhil Chauhan. Ecosphere seeks to find the appropriate balance between a subsidence-based and a cash-based livelihood so that the natural world does not suffer. By focusing on three focus areas of economy, conservation, and development, Spiti has blossomed into a remote and pristine example of sustainable living – an example that we should all be looking at now the the 2009 Climate Convention in Copenhagen is less than a month away.