“Sustainability for me is a simple mindset. It is not about a big ostentatious word that has become fashionable and the big companies are using it in their corporate reports. I see human beings as an extension of the Earth, and I see sustainability as an acknowledgment that we are part of it and that our connection to its ecosystem is indisputable. So, sustainability is the recognition of that. But what is that mindset I’m talking about? How do I translate it? For me, it is the conscious understanding of my contribution to this ecosystem: not only to question what I eat, but also where my food comes from, how that food arrives on my plate, who is involved in that process … it is here that I wonder if I am promoting any practice harmful to the environment.
After that, I can extend it to every aspect of my life and ask myself where do I live, how do I live, what is my consumption footprint and whether my behaviour patterns are impacting negatively on something else. Because it is not only limited to the environment, but also to the human beings that surround me… Is it my music too loud? Is it disturbing my neighbour? I believe sustainability is a way of living in harmony with me, with my peers and with my environment and, in essence, we are all born with the ability to be sustainable, which makes it an option. That is my simple understanding of sustainability.”
Prasanna Hettiarachchi is a social entrepreneur from Sri Lanka, founder and director of Saaraketha. Saaraketha Organics has been revolutionizing the way people view food for the past five years by opening the first certified organic food store in Sri Lanka. Saaraketha supports and empowers local small farmers to use sustainable methods for their production integrating knowledge transfer, entrepreneurship and technology tools. Prasanna moved away from the world of fashion management to live a simpler and more conscious life, something perhaps some saw as a setback and lack of ambition. But is it wanting to have good health and use organic food as medicine, a setback? Is it wanting to give small farmers the opportunity to overcome debt and take care of the environment, lack of ambition?