Whenever I travel to the western countries from India, the one thing that amazes is the standard and quality of living of the people. America with its abundant natural resources and advanced technology provides its people with great creature comforts with nominal price. Cities like London have very well connected and reliable public transport system which can question the existence of cars. Spending money earned in India in US/UK will be hard to digest and may put on the back foot on our spending if we convert the value in exchange rate. I have always used 1:10 conversion rate for dollars which helped me plan my spending.
If I use the conversion rate of 1$ for every 10 Indian rupees; then high speed internet, state of the art gadgets, abundant energy in form of oil and electricity are very cheap. Many luxuries are very much affordable as necessities, like fine dining or vacations. The flip side to getting everything cheap is that lots of things go waste. I hardly find a place without air conditioning even in places where temperature is very pleasant the year throughout, hotels don’t provide incentives for consuming less energy. Every cup of coffee which is consumed within 30 minutes creates good amount of trash, supermarkets encourage you to buy more than what is required by pricing the smaller sized ones very high, super sized meals cost just a dollar more than the regular ones. There seems to be a lot about of awareness in the recent times about green and sustainable planet but the amount of trash is the same except it is more of a eco friendly or bio degradable form. The society consumes non vegetarian food as the staple diet which in my opinion is a severe strain on natural resources. The relatively less density of population and cheaper resources has not put strong dent in the finances of people or the natural resources of the country.
Sadly this style of living is penetrating into the Indian metros where one time use disposables are taking over the place of cutlery, crockery and cloths. With very high density of population, lesser natural resources, inefficient civic bodies and limited technology it is not a sustainable style of living if India does the western style. Non vegetarian food which used to be a delicacy is slowly becoming an every day treat, a co-worker has collected his thoughts on similar lines on why he chose to become a vegan. Some of us can start making difference by reducing dependencies on carry bags, paper towels, disposable cutleries, non veg food and much more. Emulating the inefficiencies should not be seen as a sign of rich economy or growth which the west has been used to. We should strive to leave this place better than how we found it.