A moving portrait of tradition and change in Ladakh, or "Little Tibet," Ancient Futures is also a scathing critique of the global economy and a rallying call for economic localization. When Helena Norberg-Hodge first visited Ladakh in 1975, she found a pristine environment, a self-reliant economy and a people who exhibited a remarkable joie de vivre. But then came a tidal wave of economic growth and development. Over the last four decades, this remote Himalayan land has been transformed by outside markets and Western notions of "progress." As a direct result, a whole range of problems--from polluted air and water to unemployment, religious conflict, eating disorders and youth suicide--have appeared for the first time. Yet this is far from a story of despair. Social and environmental breakdown, Norberg-Hodge argues, are neither inevitable nor evolutionary, but the products of political and economic decisions--and those decisions can be changed. In a new Preface, she presents a kaleidoscope of projects around the world that are pointing the way for both human and ecological well-being. These initiatives are the manifestation of a rapidly growing localization movement, which works to rebuild place-based cultures--strengthening community and our connection with nature. Ancient Futures challenges us to redefine what a healthy economy means, and to find ways to carry centuries-old wisdom into our future. The book and a related film by the same title have, between them, been translated into more than 40 languages.
Ladakh, or 'Little Tibet', is a wildly beautiful desert land up in the Western Himalayas. It is a place of few resources and an extreme climate. Yet for more than a thousand years, it has been home to a thriving culture. Traditions of frugality and cooperation, coupled with an intimate and location-specific knowledge of the environment, enabled the Ladakhis not only to survive, but to prosper. Everyone had enough to eat; families and communities were strong; the status of women was high. Then came 'development'. Now in the modern sector one finds pollution and divisiveness, inflation and unemployment, intolerance and greed. Centuries of ecological balance and social harmony are under threat from pressures of Western consumerism. Ancient Futures is much more than a book about Ladakh. Passionately argued, it raises important questions about the whole notion of progress, and explores the root causes of the malaise of industrial society. At the same time, the story of Ladakh serves as a source of inspiration for our own future. It shows us that another way is possible, and points to some of the first steps towards kinder, gentler patterns of living.
The Visionary Work of Terri Swearingen, Dave Foreman, Wes Jackson, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Werner Forn
Author: Carl N. McDaniel
Pubpsher: Trinity University Press
The author profiles the work of eight visionaries who have dedicated their lives to various environmental issues. Each story provides a portrait of an individual's valiant and inspiring campaign to improve the conditions for life on our planet. Taken together, the work of these people points the way toward creating an ecologically centered civilization in which a brighter future for all life, including human, is possible. *Terri Swearingen takes on one of the world's largest hazardous waste incinerators burning toxic waste next door to an elementary school. *Stephen Schneider establishes the scientific basis for climate change *Herman Daly advocates a dynamic steady-state economy that respects the laws of nature and human behavior. *David Orr champions educational reform to make universities a place where students learn how to be environmentally aware citizens *Werner Fornos works toward empowering every person with the knowledge and means to decide when and how many children to have *Helena Norberg-Hodge champions local living with appropriate technologies to enhance our spiritual and ecological well-being. *Wes Jackson promotes sustainable agriculture based on local ecology and community values *Dave Foreman leads the effort to rewild almost half of North America with wolves, mountain lions, jaguars, falcons, and others to restore functional ecosystems and preserve biodiversity
Release on 2010-11-30 | by Frederick L. Kirschenmann
Essays from a Farmer Philosopher
Author: Frederick L. Kirschenmann
Pubpsher: University Press of Kentucky
Theologian, academic, and third-generation organic farmer Frederick L. Kirschenmann is a celebrated agricultural thinker. In the last thirty years he has tirelessly promoted the principles of sustainability and has become a legend in his own right. Cultivating an Ecological Conscience: Essays from a Farmer Philosopher documents Kirschenmann's evolution and his lifelong contributions to the new agrarianism in a collection of his greatest writings on farming, philosophy, and sustainability. Working closely with agricultural economist and editor Constance L. Falk, Kirschenmann recounts his intellectual and spiritual journey. In a unique blend of personal history, philosophical discourse, spiritual ruminations, and practical advice, Kirschenmann interweaves his insights with discussion of contemporary agrarian topics. This collection serves as an invaluable resource to agrarian scholars and introduces readers to an agricultural pioneer whose work has profoundly influenced modern thinking about food.
In a world of climate change and declining oil supplies, what is the plan for the provisioning of resources? Green economists suggest a need to replace the globalised economy, and its extended supply chains, with a more ‘local’ economy. But what does this mean in more concrete terms? How large is a local economy, how self-reliant can it be, and what resources will still need to be imported? The concept of the ‘bioregion’ — developed and popularised within the disciplines of earth sciences, biosciences and planning — may facilitate the reconceptualisation of the global economy as a system of largely self-sufficient local economies. A bioregional approach to economics assumes a different system of values to that which dominates neoclassical economics. The global economy is driven by growth, and the consumption ethic that matches this is one of expansion in range and quantity. Goods are defined as scarce, and access to them is a process based on competition. The bioregional approach challenges every aspect of that value system. It seeks a new ethic of consumption that prioritises locality, accountability and conviviality in the place of expansion and profit; it proposes a shift in the focus of the economy away from profits and towards provisioning; and it assumes a radical reorientation of work from employment towards livelihood. This book by leading green economist Molly Scott Cato sets out a visionary and yet rigorous account of what a bioregional approach to the economy would mean — and how to get there from here.
In the early 1970s, living in inner-city St. Louis, Paul Gilk asked his friends to explain why small farms were dying. The answers did not satisfy. Years of study followed. Through the reading of history, Gilk began to grasp the origins of both horticulture and agriculture, their blossoming into Neolithic agrarian village culture, and the impoundment of the agrarian village by bandit aristocrats at the formation of what we now call civilization. Getting a grip on the relationship between agriculture and civilization was one thing; but, as a person strongly influenced by Gospel stories, Gilk also wanted to know what the connection might be between the kingdom of God proclamation in the canonical Gospels and the peasant world from which Jesus arose. Aided in his thinking by the works of biblical scholars Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan, Gilk began to realize that the kingdom of God was both a harkening back to the peace and freedom of precivilized agrarian village and a revolutionary anticipation of a postcivilized village-mindedness organized organically on the basis of radical servanthood and radical stewardship. We are, Gilk says, entering the dawn of this Green culture simultaneously with the deepening of civilized world disaster.