There is a tendency in national politics to praise "the local" as a zone of authenticity and popular legitimacy while quietly disempowering local action by consolidating power in the national government. It's one of those structural problems that doesn't get enough attention.
Fortunately, on Tuesday, June 21, the third annual World Localization Day will remind us of the need to elevate and strengthen localism. Through a series of in-person and virtual events in more than 20 countries, the event will celebrate the many efforts around the world to relocalize the economy and strengthen community bonds.
In previous years, World Localization Day took place on a single day, but this year the organizers of the event, Local Futures, have expanded the celebration into a full month. The schedule of events will focus on people across six continents who are organizing virtual and in-person events to bring attention to (for example) community gardens and co-ops, independent local businesses and credit unions, and local food systems and locally produced textiles.
World Localization Day will also feature some notable activists and thinkers, including Jane Goodall, Vandana Shiva, David Holmgren, Naomi Klein, and Satish Kumar, among others.
One goal of the event is to expand the very definition of "the economy" to include all sorts of social, nonmarket activities that make a community a great place to live. As E.F. Schumacher put it memorably in his famous book nearly fifty years ago, small is beautiful.
Local Futures is the group founded in the late 1970s by Helena Norberg-Hodge after she witnessed the happiness and community solidarity that she witnessed Ladakh, in the Indian Himalayas. Local Futures now has offices on four continents, and produces all sorts of materials that probe the systemic roots of our global crisis and demonstrate the huge benefits of localization as a strategic response.
For this year's World Localization Day, a new film will be released, "Planet Local: A Quiet Revolution." which shows how producing things locally or regionally, and building social ties among our neighbors, can make our lives more connected, happier, and more resilient.
More details at the event's website.