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Panel Asks if Localism Can Help Solve Some of the World’s Most Pressing Crises

By Peter Weisberg

Showing solutions may be the best way to solve the ecological, economic, and social crises that the world is facing. Tomorrow (in French: Demain), which is being shown Wednesday, August 21 at the Biblioteca, is a 2015 French documentary film that has the distinction of not giving in to catastrophism.

After a special report in the journal Nature announced the possible extinction of a part of mankind before the end of the twenty-first century, codirectors Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent, together with a team of four people, carried out an investigation in 10 different countries to figure out what might lead to this disaster and, above all, how to avoid it.

On Thursday, also at the Biblioteca, will be a panel on localism.

Generally, localism supports local production and consumption of goods; local control of government, and promotion of local history, local culture, and local identity.

While the current global trade model pushes for corporate success and efficiency on a greater scale than ever before, it also extends failure and inefficiency to the same scale. Nowhere has this been more obvious than in the political and social sphere.

Today, every nation in the world is being induced to enlist in a single highly centralized economy, one which depends on vast, homogenized markets and ever-increasing trade.

However, resistance to further globalization is mounting. The rise of nationalism and xenophobia, fueled as a consequence of corporate-driven neoliberal trade, is extremely disconcerting. But there is a growing progressive side to localization.

Localism is one process that could restore confidence in a failing democracy. Localism requires that we replace pessimism, which tends to be counterproductive, with a “conditional optimism” that opens the door for imagination and action.

Rather than waiting for change to happen from above, communities must take it upon themselves to solve problems, focusing on their unique local assets and collaborating and reaching a consensus on what needs to be done.

Localism is not a panacea for all issues, some of which are indeed better addressed on a larger scale, climate change being the most urgent and global in complexity. It is necessary to build networks with other communities experimenting with localism, enabling local experiments to grow into national movements that demand government policies that promote small-scale focus on a large scale, allowing space for more community-based economies to flourish and spread.

If we are looking for a place to start, where individuals can experience a greater degree of control and satisfaction in their lives, where better than in our own backyard?

Our panelists are Georgeann Johnson, Steve Gloss, and Yonam Ayon, all avid supporters of the localism model. They will present information on both local and international organizations that are currently building strong, healthy, and more sustainable communities.

Film

Demain (Tomorrow)

Wed, Aug 21, 11am

Teatro Santa Ana

Reloj 50A

70 pesos

Panel and discussion

“Localism and a New Democracy”

Thu, Aug 22, 11am

Teatro Santa Ana

Reloj 50A

70 pesos

 

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