Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Helena Norberg-Hodge: On Earth Day, an Economics for People & Planet

Helena Norberg-Hodge's summary of the clash of two major worldviews we now see in play throughout our planet:
Much has changed since the first Earth Day in 1970. Not only have our ecological crises come into sharper focus, it has also become obvious that we need to rescue not just the Earth, but also its people from the clutches of an economy gone mad. Worldwide, more and more people are recognizing that fundamental changes to that economy are urgently needed if our most pressing problems – ecological, social, economic, and even spiritual – are to be solved. Instead of trying to tackle a seemingly endless list of separate problems, strategic shifts in economic policy would put us on a path that is good for both people and the planet.

Over the past decades, globalization, or the continued deregulation of trade and finance, has created a world dominated by giant banks and corporations. Because governments almost everywhere have catered to their demands, we are now faced not only with global warming, extinction of species and dramatic increases in pollution, but also with financial instability, endemic unemployment, increased conflict, and epidemics of ill health and depression...

We need to move in exactly the opposite direction – away from economic globalization and towards the local. This doesn’t mean eliminating all trade or adopting an isolationist attitude – it simply means shortening the distances between consumers and producers wherever possible....

The localization movement is beginning to bridge the divides between groups that are working to make the world a better place: environmental activists, small business owners, community leaders, educators, social justice campaigners, farmers, workers’ rights advocates, religious and spiritual groups. An exciting, once-in-a-generation coalition is emerging: a coalition that offers real hope for broad-based and lasting renewal.

Read the rest here:

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