Sustainability – The impact of crime and violence

As a result of the ubiquity of social media and connectivity, news spreads far and wide. Any crime that occurs is instantly spread, and the entire neighbourhood becomes aware of it via social media. With increased crime, there is an increase in gadget use, and not all gadgets are environmentally friendly. Gadgets have plastic and electronics, which are difficult to recycle. The monitoring and maintenance of these gadgets invariably consume some of our precious time. There is also a digital footprint with data storage and transfer, which adds to the carbon footprint.


All these do not constitute as concerns for most of us. This is because these gadgets seem to give us a sense of control and safety. Maybe they do address the fear or concern regarding crime among us consumers. Survival instinct comes to the forefront, where one wishes to protect oneself and one’s family. It is quite natural and seldom is there any scope to refute or argue about the need for these gadgets.

I personally always resisted things, especially gadgets. My minimalistic lifestyle gives me a confidence that I do not need one. Burglars do their homework before choosing their targets. I am sure if the burglars do their homework well, they will not choose my house. We have no “valuables” at all and hence there is no need to have a safe or closet to keep them too. Most of the things in my home are second-hand, be it clothes, furniture, or games. A minimal house—we have no beds or side tables. The house is so minimal, that even if someone breaks in, the search would be very quick too because there are very few things. There is absolutely nothing worth the time, effort, or risk to take away. I always tell people that the solar panels are the most expensive thing in my house; even those are on the roof!

Being minimal helps in fair distribution of resources and it also deters exploitation of resources or labour. It may sound impractical to hope for everyone to be that minimal. But then how do we address crime? Crime happens when a fair means of living, education, and community is rendered inaccessible to an individual. At the society, family, or individual level, do we invest enough time to help fair trade, equitable distribution of income, community development, instilling and displaying virtues of kindness and compassion? Not just with people whom we know, but with anyone and everyone irrespective of race, colour, religion, or species? The benefit of such efforts is not immediate and direct and hence not attractive enough. It may seem too much to hope for and difficult to achieve, but it is more assuring than gadgets and the most effective way to a peaceful and nonviolent society. On this International Day of Nonviolence, let us remind ourselves that sustainability cannot be achieved without a peaceful society. Here’s to working towards a peaceful one.

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