A consistent theme in Local Futures’ educational work is the need for a shift in direction – away from dependence on a global economy dominated by huge corporations and supranational institutions, toward economic structures that are more decentralized and diversified, and have a much smaller ecological footprint. Local Futures uses a wide range of methods to communicate this message:
• Lectures, seminars, workshops, articles, and interviews. Local Futures Director Helena Norberg-Hodge has been speaking to people from the grassroots to the highest levels of government for more than three decades. Her articles and interviews have appeared in magazines, journals and online, and she has been interviewed on both mainstream and ‘alternative’ radio, TV, and the Internet. Other Local Futures staff also make presentations at conferences, run workshops and seminars, and make the case for a global-to-local shift in print and online.
• Blog. Helena and Local Futures staff also contribute articles and opinion pieces to the Local Futures blog. Many of these essays rethink the assumptions that underlie today’s corporate-led globalized economy; others highlight efforts to resist the spread of the global monoculture, or point to local initiatives to support smaller scale, more localized economies.
• Books, reports and videos. Local Futures has produced a wide range of films and publications, including Helena Norberg-Hodge’s classic book, Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh, and the film of the same name. Together, the two have now been translated into over forty languages – almost all of them undertaken and paid for by local NGOs or publishers who have taken the initiative to seek us out. Among our other works are Bringing the Food Economy Home: Local Alternatives to Corporate Agribusiness, and our award-winning film The Economics of Happiness.
• Roots of Change. This community-based curriculum provides an in-depth exploration of the systemic root causes of our current crises, and the steps needed to reverse them. We believe that this understanding is a prerequisite for effective action, whether people are working to protect their local watershed, end the cycle of material poverty, or address the spiritual poverty that afflicts a large proportion of the affluent. Seeing the links between these and other symptoms of breakdown enables people to find solution-multiplying responses that add greatly to their effectiveness.
• Local Bites Podcasts. Launched in early 2014, this series of audio programs features interviews with visionary scholars and activists from the worldwide movement for localization. Local Bites encourages cross-pollination of ideas by highlighting initiatives in both the global South and North.
These projects continue a long tradition for Local Futures. For over three decades we have organized, hosted and delivered hundreds of lectures, film screenings, workshops and international conferences across the world – from high on the Tibetan plateau to the UK, from Australia to South Africa, Japan and the USA. Local Futures staff have participated in events ranging from informal community meetings to large international gatherings. Our materials are used in high school and university classrooms internationally and have been invaluable resources for individuals and NGOs in every corner of the world. In total our books and films have been translated into nearly 50 different languages.