In the era of globalization and capitalism that keep growing, often we have doubts if being sustainable is possible or it has no more space to exist. Especially with the era of advanced information technology, the simplicity for connecting the world to integrate different people, companies, countries, and governments and to create interaction between them is in our hands.
And this fact surely also helps the growth of capitalism, where business owners sell their products and services to create profits and then use the profits as a new capital to produce even more with the aim of gaining bigger and bigger profits continuously. More of us certainly question if with this kind of global economic system growth, is it possible to support sustainability among the greed of capitalism in the era of globalization?
Before we answer if it’s possible or not, let’s define first what sustainability is. When we talk about sustainability, it literally means the ability to sustain. To talk it in more words, it’s the capacity to keep up and endure everything we need to survive, depending on our environment.
The sustainability itself can be seen from various perspectives either it is politically, economically, economically, or culturally. And it covers a wide area that could include urban infrastructure such as transportation, architecture, garbage recycling management; food system, health and agriculture; and even culture and lifestyle.
With the rapid growth of capitalism, especially in this modern era or globalization era, many people trust less in being sustainable. However, it’s a false perception. How can we be sure of that? It’s because we can find many cases about successful sustainability around the globe to learn from. Let’s review some of them.
Bali‘s Ecotourism and Cultural Sustainability
We can call it as the island of Gods for its natural beauty that has attracted many tourists from around the world to come and visit it. For its irresistible attraction for a tourism site, many think that it’s hard for Bali to stay sustainable, especially in the era of globalization.
However, Bali has great concern on maintaining sustainability around its area. First, It has great improvement on ecotourism. What is Ecotourism? It is a tourism that includes visits to quite undisturbed natural areas. It has aim on increasing awareness to tourists, raising fund for ecological conservation, receiving economic profits, and respect to different cultures. We can find ecotourism in Bali by visiting and experiencing its traditional village life, visiting mountain area of bedugul, or having an eco-adventure around forested Tegalalang area, near Ubud.
Besides ecotourism, Bali also preserves highly its culture in tourism by allowing tourists to see its cultural attractions such as its traditional Balinese dances or even the Ngaben ceremony, which is one of the most important ceremony in Bali, performed to send the deceased to the next life.
So, here, we can see that sustainability is very possible even in the era of capitalism and globalization, even in Bali, one of the most attractive tourism sites. And just for one more added point, Bali has been considered as one of the highest in environmental quality rate among the provinces in Indonesia.
Baduy Lifestyle and Cultural Sustainability
Now, let’s see another great example on cultural and lifestyle sustainability, which we can see through the life of Baduy people, called Kanekes, in Banten, Indonesia. They are a traditional community that belongs to the Sundanese ethnic in Indonesia.
Baduy people are one of groups that rejects most of the influences from outsiders and keep up with their ancient lifestyle. They consist of two groups; the inner Kanekes and the outer Kanekes. What are their differences? To start, nobody will ever meet the people of inner Kanekes as they are considered sacred (the people of the sacred inner circle). The outer Kanekes has the duty to block the outsiders from entering into the inner Kanekes area.
To continue, the inner Kanekes people have very strict regulation for their circle. They don’t use electronic devices, wear only white clothes (sewed by themselves), and they don’t want to be photographed as they feel it’s a taboo. On the other hand, the outer Kanekes people receive a bit of the outer influences as they now can wear jeans, use electronic devices, and they can meet people from outside the village. The inner Kanekes people keep their other ancient lifestyles such as not using transportation and walking instead. They also can’t wear footwear or use any electronic device.
Baduy people, the Kanekes, recognize two types of government system, the national Indonesian government and their own traditional customs. Their livelihood to survive living is from agriculture and from selling fruits plus honey, which they get from the forest area. Until today, the Baduy people still follow highly their own ancient and traditional customs to sustain their ancient lifestyle.
Briefly, after exploring these two examples on sustainability, it’s clear that globalization era and the increasing trend of capitalism do not mean sustainability is impossible. Sustainability depends on people’s choice, what they would like to do and wouldn’t like to do.