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March 5, 2021

Beyond competition and divisiveness

Latest News

Byron Wildlife Hospital’s DA up for public comment

A development application for the mobile Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital is now before the public.

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A scene from Helena Norberg-Hodge’s award-winning film, The Economics of Happiness.
A scene from Helena Norberg-Hodge’s award-winning film, The Economics of Happiness.

We are back from several months overseas, including Economics of Happiness workshops, film screenings and a big conference in South Korea.

The word is definitely getting out that ecological collapse, economic instability, social disintegration, even terrorism, are inextricably linked to a global economy dependent on rampant consumerism, financial speculation and ‘free trade’.

It is now widely accepted that the power of giant, transnational corporations – including big banks – must be reined in. However, it is only in recent years that the support for localisation is gaining momentum.

In promoting a shift from global to local, we are by no means encouraging people to only focus on the local level. Fundamental to our thinking is the need for binding international agreements requiring corporations to be place-based or ‘localised’ and subject to the regulations and tax regimes of individual ­nation states.

At the same time, our ‘think-and-do tank’ work catalyses or strengthens initiatives around the world that are building more ecological, localised economies – from farmers’ markets, edible schoolyards and community gardens, to local business alliances, community finance and energy projects.

South Korea

It was thrilling to see the impact of our conference in South Korea. It brought together professors, activists and local government leaders, who have now become enthusiastic supporters of localisation. The final paragraph of their wall-sized, hand-painted Declaration makes this clear:

‘Together with the City of Jeonju and the participants of the International Conference on the Economics of Happiness 2015 Jeonju we hereby declare our support for the values and direction of the economics of happiness in building a new model for local economies that looks beyond competition and divisiveness, and our commitment to cooperate with the efforts of Local Futures in helping the movement for localisation spread and take root throughout the world.’

Now, an association of 57 mayors, including the mayor of Seoul, is promoting our film and plans to do a series of conferences with us next year.

Our next conference, Local Lives, Global Matters, is taking place October 16–18 in Castlemaine, Victoria.

We are doing it in collaboration with several organisations, including the Oases Institute in Melbourne, and David Holmgren’s institute. Speakers include Camila Moreno, Manish Jain, Susan Murphy, Raphaël Souchier, Samuel Alexander, Rob Hopkins (via video link) and me.

The conference will explore four broad themes: local economies, reclaiming democracy, social and ecological justice and revitalised spirituality.

For more information visit www.locallivesglobalmatters.org.

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