Our work is not about putting a wall around cultures. On the contrary, it is about establishing closer contact between the most and least industrial parts of the world. We have found that this contact is genuinely empowering, and can help to strengthen communities in both North and South.
~ Helena Norberg-Hodge ~
Ladakh, also known as ‘Little Tibet‘, is a beautiful desert land in the Western Himalayas, with few natural resources and an extreme climate. Yet it has been home to a thriving culture in tune with nature for over a thousand years. Traditions of frugality and cooperation, coupled with detailed location-specific knowledge, enabled the Ladakhis to prosper.
When Ladakh was opened up to ‘modern development’ and the forces of the global growth economy, centuries of ecological balance and social harmony came under threat. Ladakh now faces many of the problems associated with industrialized countries, such as a rural-to-urban migration, unemployment, pollution and conflicts. However, Ladakhi civil society is responding to these issues with a growing number of positive initiatives that are helping Ladakh find its own path, rather than blindly emulating Western-style development. Local Futures (and its predecessors) has been part of this process for a long time. Our current work in Ladakh is based on over 40 years working in the region.
Since 1978, Local Futures has been providing Ladakhis with information about the impact of conventional development in other parts of the world, while exploring more sustainable patterns of development in Ladakh itself, based on the use of local knowledge and resources. Local Futures has helped to establish and still collaborates with several important indigenous organizations in Ladakh, including the Ladakh Ecological Development Group (LEDeG) and the Women’s Alliance of Ladakh. Read more here: Local Futures’ History in Ladakh.