Pejeng Village, which lies in a region of Bali beset by mass tourism and overdevelopment, has dedicated itself to achieving water, food, energy, and economic sovereignty. Leader Cok Agung Pemayun and the Pejeng government are creating a local economy of interdependent organizations that can provide sustainable livelihoods for the village’s 6,000 residents. Their projects so far include a community organic farm to teach best practices to local farmers, a natural textile business, water wheels for hydroelectric power and water supply, a holistic primary school, and a community conservation center managed by the Friends of the National Parks Foundation. The Pejeng government sustainable development blog and this article by Bali Lite (both in Indonesian) give further details.
They’re “more than just an NGO,” Sahaja Samrudha’s website explains. They represent a “People’s movement” to preserve traditional farming practices, conserve the rich biodiversity of India’s indigenous crop varieties, and revive and rejuvenate dying villages. They do so by facilitating the exchange of knowledge, seeds, support, and more through a network of farmers all around India – using publications, workshops, trainings, and melas (fairs or festivals) to get the word out. They’re also behind the brand “Sahaja Organics,” created to make it easier for organic producers to connect with those who want to purchase their products. To learn more, visit Sahaja Samrudha’s website, or read “Over 5000 Organic Farmers Are Reviving Traditional Crop Varieties. Thanks to One Organization.”Photo by sandeepachetan.com travel photography (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
For the 250 residents of Smith Island, in the Chesapeake Bay just a few hours from Washington, DC, life revolves around the same things it has for more than 300 years: crabbing and oystering. The Smith Island Environmental Education Center, managed by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, focuses on the integral role of the island’s watermen culture in environmental stewardship of the bay. Students and teachers throughout the state come to experience living on “island time” in tune with the cycles of nature, and to listen to residents speak – in their distinctive local dialect – about the economy, culture, and future of the island. Learn more about Smith Island in this Atlas Obscura article, and about the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Smith Island program here.
What would ecosystems look like if management plans were based on local indigenous knowledge? The Snowchange Cooperative, based in northern Finland, brings traditional communities’ unparalleled knowledge of place into both scientific research on climate change and the governance of Finland’s natural resources. Through the Cooperative, native Sámi fishing and herding communities collaborate with governments and international scientific organizations to monitor fisheries, forests, and weather patterns; assess the ecological impacts of climate change and industrial activity; and develop management plans for rivers, lakes, wetlands, and watersheds based on traditional knowledge…
Suma Yapu is an association of communities in southern Peru dedicated to keeping the cultural and agricultural traditions of the Aymara people alive. It offers a platform for sharing heritage varieties of traditional crops, and skills for living close to the land – such as creating cloth from alpaca fiber, making pottery, and using medicinal plants. The association also works with government schools to ensure that Aymara cultural practices, including environmental conservation, are woven into the otherwise formal curriculum. Suma Yapu’s networks for rural and urban youth offer apprenticeship programs in place-based livelihoods, and spaces for reflection on upholding traditional culture in a globalizing world. Read more about their projects and philosophy of “development with identity” here (link in Spanish).
Tosepan is a network of cooperatives with 35,000 members in Puebla, Mexico, dedicated to constructing a holistic, sustainable, locally- and democratically-controlled economy rooted in the indigenous culture and knowledge of the Sierra Norte. Tosepan is comprised of three civil associations and eight cooperatives, which together cover basic needs including organic ecological farming, natural building, local healthcare, decentralized renewable energy, and local finance. They also actively oppose globalization, and have successfully resisted corporate development projects including a planned Walmart. Read more about Tosepan in our Planet Local Medium article.