A simple truth- “An economy genuinely local and neighborly offers to localities a measure of security that they cannot derive from a national or global economy controlled by people who, by principle, have no local commitment.” – Wendell Berry.
Local, regional economies and self-governing communities which understand their needs, environment, culture and shared daily experiences can govern themselves without a need for a concentrated, distant power centre dictating what policies and structures need to be in place. We are creative and conscious, designed for survival- this is what has allowed human civilization to flourish so far. I have faith in the intelligence and ability of people, when given the responsibility to work out how to organize amongst themselves, to create solutions which will sustain their families, loved ones, wider community and the land upon which their life is dependent.
I also deeply believe and understand that learning to live locally and meeting our sustenance needs regionally, will solve many environmental and therefor social issues of our times. Regenerating and healing the damage industrial society has caused to the foundation of our economy- nature and the resources she provides- is a crucial part of healing the human society and these efforts work in synergy. Our atmosphere becomes less polluted, more areas are producing food on a small scale using natural methods (since we only use local inputs, we do not import toxic fertilizers and agrochemicals), people’s brains and bodies are nourished properly because the microbes in the soil haven’t been poisoned, we are getting to know our neighbors and building trust and understanding, we are not competing amongst each other (for every entry level job there are currently 4 applicants) but working together to do what needs to be done.
We are keeping our habitat clean, producing what we need to live and creating a culture that supports and sustains our region. The overwhelming despair, anxiety, depression and detachment which is often a part of modern existence is alleviated as we are working to repair our shared home, Planet Earth, rather than being constantly flooded with statistics and media depicting how the foundations of our existence are being annihilated and feeling powerless to act in a way which transforms the situation. Although Western individualism may educate us to see self as separate from other and self as separate from the living world, our sub-conscious and our biology knows this to be a falsehood (have you tried living a week without water, air, food?), and we feel what is happening collectively whether we chose to acknowledge it or not.
An opportunity to contribute our efforts to creating tangible change in the place we belong to, the place we call home and the land upon which we live (even urban apartments are built on land), inspires action, shared purpose and a richer experience of what it is to be human whilst fostering a sense of responsibility and satisfaction which extends beyond the immediate, short term gains which accompany the consumption game necessary to keep a global economy churning. Growth in this system is dependent on our consumption.
The more we consume the bigger it gets and the higher the death tolls becomes. The items which in our global economy symbolize success and wealth are familiar to us all- a new car, fancy devices sourced from slave camps/factories, a bursting fast fashion wardrobe, organic tomatoes from Italy grown by Africans whose land is no longer habitable due to international companies exploiting their resources and basically anything trendy which is imported. In a regional economy and community, these items cease to be the measure for our achievements and rather we get validation from our fellow humans by our efforts to make life good for our circle of people and other living beings. A sense of achievement fills us up as we align with leaving the earth in a better state than when we came into it and instead of making it a more difficult place to inhabit for our descendants, we have helped in the healing of our world.
How do you want to feel as you take the last breathes of your life? Guilty that your lifestyle and choices created more suffering or fulfilled by the knowing that you strived with all the power and passion in your soul to create a flourishing and sustainable future for life on Earth?