A local economy movement striving to transform the world from the bottom up has the backing of the Dalai Lama and Noam Chomsky. It is committed to the pursuit of localization, rather than globalization.

And during the next month the movement started by Local Futures will connect with citizens worldwide in a variety of ways, ahead of World Localization Day on 21 June. Which was launched to inspire awareness about how localizing economies can strengthen communities and lead to greater ecological health and human prosperity. It is actively supported by household names including Russell Brand, Jane Goodall, and Brian Eno.

The first events kick off on 15 May, so I am delighted to have Helena Norberg-Hodge, one of the world’s best known environmentalists, and founder of Local Futures, as my guest today on this Special #WorldLocalizationDay episode of Inside Ideas.

In her most recent book, Local is Our Future: Steps to an Economics of Happiness, Helena, who is also the founder and director of the International Alliance for Localisation, outlines how a systemic economic shift from global to local can address the world’s social, economic, ecological and spiritual crises. It has been described by author David Korten as a ‘must-read book for our time’.

People power can help build that local future, and over the next few weeks there are lots of ways you can get involved to support the movement. There are events planned worldwide across six continents, between 15 May to 15 June; an inspiring week of online events planned, from 15-20 June; and a call for citizens to host a local food feast, in-person or online, throughout the next month.

Helena Norberg-Hodge

The Earth Journal named Helena one of the world’s ‘ten most interesting environmentalists’, while in Carl McDaniel’s book: Wisdom for a Liveable Planet, she was profiled as one of ‘eight visionaries changing the world’. Helena has lectured in seven languages and appeared in broadcast, print and online media worldwide, including MSNBC, The London Times, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Guardian. She has written numerous articles and essays, and her work has been the subject of more than 300 articles worldwide. Educated in Sweden, Germany, Austria, England and the United States, Helena specialized in linguistics, including studies at the University of London and at MIT. Since 1975, she has worked with the people of Ladakh, or ‘Little Tibet’, to find ways of enabling their culture to meet the modern world without sacrificing social and ecological values. For these efforts she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, or ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’. She was awarded the prestigious Goi Peace Prize in 2012.

Helena’s seminal book, Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh, has been described as ‘an inspirational classic’, providing insightful solutions to the unintended impacts of development, based on her decades living and working in Ladakh, India. Together with the film of the same title, it has been translated into more than 40 languages, and sold about half a million copies.

Helena is also the producer and co-director of the award-winning film The Economics of Happiness, and the co-author of Bringing the Food Economy Home and From the Ground Up: Rethinking Industrial Agriculture. And is a founding member of the International Commission on the Future of Food and Agriculture, the International Forum on Globalization and the Global Ecovillage Network.

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