About Local Futures
Let’s imagine a very different world.
One in which most of our food comes from nearby farmers who are part of our community and who ensure food security year round. Imagine children being free to play and explore their world safely under the watch of neighbors whom we know and trust. Imagine the money we spend on everyday goods continuing to recirculate in the local economy, building community prosperity along the way. Imagine a world in which multinational businesses and banks adhere to the rules of society – not the other way around. Imagine local businesses thriving and multiplying, thereby providing ample, meaningful livelihoods for everyone.
Economic localization can make these visions a reality for us all. Follow this link to learn why it’s so beneficial for human, societal, and ecological wellbeing.
Local Futures has been working for more than four decades to renew ecological, social, and spiritual well-being by promoting a shift in direction – away from dependence on global monopolies, and towards decentralized local and regional economies.
It all started in 1978 when Helena Norberg-Hodge and John Page founded ‘The Ladakh Project’ in a remote Himalayan region of India, which was just then being opened to ‘development’. The project provided the Ladakhis with information about the impact of conventional development on other parts of the world, and explored more sustainable patterns of local development based on the use of Ladakhis’ own local knowledge and resources. Along with a constellation of local partner organizations, Local Futures continues to promote economic resilience and ecological stability in Ladakh.
Over the years, the scope of Local Futures’ work became increasingly international, and in 1991 we became the International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC), now known as Local Futures. We produce books, films, and other ‘education for action’ tools, and organize activist-oriented conferences and workshops worldwide, including World Localization Day. Our award-winning film The Economics of Happiness, released in 2011, highlights the importance of localization to repair our fractured world – our ecosystems, our societies and our selves. We also host numerous Economics of Happiness conferences around the world, which aim to kick-start broad critical debate about the global corporate economy, while exploring alternatives that benefit society as well as the environment.
Our events and resources promote a holistic ‘big picture’ view of what it will take to heal the damage caused by the corporate-run economy, and to build structures that foster human and ecological wellbeing. These programs are helping to catalyze a global movement for systemic change. Thanks in part to our work, recognition of the importance of local economies is at an all-time high.
Who We Are
Author and filmmaker Helena Norberg-Hodge is the founder and director of Local Futures. A pioneer of the ‘new economy’ movement, she has been promoting an economics of personal, social, and ecological well-being for more than thirty years.
She was honored with the Right Livelihood Award (or ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’) for her groundbreaking work in Ladakh, and received the 2012 Goi Peace Prize for contributing to “the revitalization of cultural and biological diversity, and the strengthening of local communities and economies worldwide.”
She has given public lectures in seven languages, and has appeared in broadcast, print, and online media worldwide, including MSNBC, The London Times, The Sydney Morning Herald, and The Guardian.
The Local Futures team is spread out across the globe, with main offices in the USA and the UK.
Four decades ago, Local Futures was founded to support Ladakh’s indigenous culture from being overwhelmed by idealized images of Western culture that were flooding into the region through tourism and development. In 1986 Helena Norberg-Hodge won the Right Livelihood Award for her groundbreaking sustainability work in the region.
Norberg-Hodge’s book Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh, was published by Local Futures in 1991. The book is a moving portrait of tradition and change in Ladakh, a scathing critique of the global economy, and a rallying call for economic localization. An award-winning film of the same title premiered in 1993. A new edition of the book, including a foreword of the Dalai Lama, was published in 2016.
As Local Futures’ focus expanded to encompass the entire globe, we produced the film The Economics of Happiness (2011) to take the lessons of Ladakh and disseminate them around the world. The Economics of Happiness spells out the social, spiritual, and ecological costs of today’s global economy, and also highlights the benefits of a shift towards the local.
Helena Norberg-Hodge’s latest book, Local is Our Future, published by Local Futures in 2019, expands on these ideas, connecting the dots between our social, economic, ecological and spiritual crises, and revealing how a systemic shift from global to local can address these seemingly disparate problems simultaneously.
We are a 501(c)3 organization incorporated in California. We adhere to Bylaws adopted in 1991, including oversight by a Board of Directors. Our funding comes largely from individual donors and foundations, as well as from the sale of publications and videos, and lecture and writing fees.