Most people think of environmental factors when they think of sustainability. Certainly in the current state of affairs, that is a large part of it. In addition to these, we need to consider others as well. Most pressing in Auroville is the issue of economic sustainability. At the moment, there are foreign funds circulating in the community, largely due to the foreign vistors that flock here this time of year. However, there are also a great deal of crafts and local goods produced that are sold within the community. Others still produce products that are sold to neighboring villages and Pondicherry. However, I get a sense that while there is work to be done, money is not as readily available, because of a lack of emphasis on consumerism.
If you think about everytime our governments have a crisis, their efforts to stabilize the economy begin with promoting consumption. In Auroville, however, this could never be promoted. After a discussion with one of the council representatives on their economy today, he emphasized that they are entering unknown territory. Unsure of what economic and political sustainability means, this leaves them struggling to support ecological and food sustainability as well. In a community that prefers a lack of democracy and a leaderless society, decisions are made purely through action, and change happens when everyone decides on the same route.
However, in practice, the local businesses are living economic sustainability everyday. By creating a business that employs many, gives them meaningful work, time for rest and to be healthy, they are living sustainably everyday. This may seem confusing, because there is no structure dictating how this must happen. No one is sure why it happens, it just does.