posted July 9, 2019

New book from Helena Norberg-Hodge outlines the steps needed to enable ‘economies of happiness’ to spread and flourish, globally.

“There is no more important task than re-localizing our economies, and this book will tell you how it’s done.” Bill McKibben

Poverty, climate change, the erosion of democracy, an epidemic of depression – these and many other social, economic, ecological, and spiritual crises are connected, and one of their primary causes is our global economic system. Local is Our Future, a new book by Helena Norberg-Hodge, draws out these connections and describes how simple steps towards the local can lead to a sustainable and fulfilling future for both planet and people.

In Helena’s words, “For our species to have a future, it must be local. The good news is that the path to such a future is already being forged. Away from the screens of the mainstream media, the crude ‘bigger is better’ narrative that has dominated economic thinking for centuries is being challenged by a perspective that places human and ecological wellbeing front and centre. People are coming to recognise that connection, both to others and to Nature herself, is the wellspring of human happiness. And every day new, inspiring initiatives are springing up that offer the potential for genuine prosperity.”

While humans thrive on connection, Local is Our Future explains how the global economy systematically severs our connections to the natural world and to community – separating us ever further from each other and from nature. Building local economies, the book argues, can allow those ties to be regenerated, while providing profound economic, social, environmental and psychological benefits.

Taking inspiration from a worldwide movement that is already emerging beneath the radar of the mainstream media, Local is Our Future outlines the steps needed to build a world of interlinked and decentralised economies. On every continent, people are coming together to claw back control over their own livelihoods, and in doing so are healing fractured communities, repairing damaged environments, and building a brighter future.

Helena Norberg-Hodge, the book’s author, has been promoting an economics of personal, social, and ecological wellbeing for four decades across the global North and South. Author of the book Ancient Futures, producer of the award-winning documentary The Economics of Happiness, and founder of the non-profit organisation Local Futures, she was honoured with the Right Livelihood Award (often called the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’) for her groundbreaking work in Ladakh, India, and received the 2012 Goi Peace Prize for contributing to “the revitalisation of cultural and biological diversity, and the strengthening of local communities and economies worldwide.”

In keeping with the book’s message about the importance of connection, Helena would like to encourage readers to join with their community to read Local is Our Future together, as part of a book club or other community group. Local Futures is offering members of these groups a 30% discount on the book – anyone interested should send an email to seankeller@localfutures.org.

maine sail freight revives a salty history of revolution & independence

posted August 6, 2015

Greenhorns press! 

In this new millennium marked by the looming threat of transnational trade deals like the Transpacific Partnership (TPP), The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), one unusual trade adventure, Maine Sail Freight will embark on a creative, bold journey as an act of defiance against business-as-usual.  When Maine Sail Freight launches its maiden voyage at the end of August carrying 11 tons of local, Maine-made cargo, the Greenhorns – a plucky band of young farmers – and the sailing crew of an historic wooden schooner are declaring their independence from corporate tyranny and re-invigorating sail freight as a wind-powered transportation agent of the booming local food economy.

And, interestingly, they will carry one freight item that has a long history of revolutionary potential: salt.

Yes, salt.

Over a hundred years before Gandhi’s independence movement kicked the British Empire out of India, the American colonies were roundly beating the same empire using tools of nonviolent action – noncooperation, civil disobedience, boycotts, strikes, blockades, parallel governments, marches, rallies, and self-reliance programs. The two independence movements even shared parallel salt campaigns.

Both the American Revolution and the India Self-Rule movement used salt as a tool of resistance and liberation. Gandhi’s 1930 Salt Satyagraha campaign is famous. The 1776 New England saltworks expansion is virtually unknown. Indeed, the well-organized, clearly identifiable nonviolent campaigns are often overshadowed by violence and war in the retelling of revolutionary era history. The research, however, testifies to the nonviolent campaigns pivotal role in the struggle.

Know your history, as the saying goes. The British certainly should have. In 1930, one hundred and fifty years after American Independence, Lord Irwin, Viceroy of India, commented on the brewing salt law resistance saying, ” At present the prospect of a salt campaign does not keep me awake at night.” Too bad . . . if he had stayed awake, studying the history of salt, colonial governments, and independence movements, he might have lost sleep . . . but he wouldn’t have lost India.