Localisation is an economic strategy for rapid transition that could transform farming, business, finance, health, education, and industry for the better.
Just as Indigenous wisdom is rooted in a myriad of complex and reciprocal interactions with the community, the land and water, the animals and plants, localizing makes visible the threads of interdependence that hold the living world together.
It’s often said that the economic system is rigged. The truth, however, is that the system is working exactly as it was designed to. Those in power, whether they hold public office or whether they sit in the boardroom of a multi-billion dollar international corporation, have taken great lengths to set up a system of rules that benefit them and maintain the status quo.
Disaster localization could help us avoid “each new disaster leading to a more entrenched global capitalist system, with its social impacts as well as its hefty contribution to increasing carbon emissions”. Rupert and I draw on inspiration from a variety of sources, especially Helena Norberg-Hodge’s vision of localization, Charles Fritz’s research on disasters and mental health, and Rebecca Solnit’s writings about post-traumatic growth in the aftermath of crises.
Our current global society appears to be in the conservation phase of its adaptive cycle: it is at a peak of scale and integration. If the cyclical behavior of past societies is repeated in ours, recent trends toward globalization and urbanization will reach natural limits and be reversed.
By stepping outside of the conventional frames of discussion about climate change, Latour opens up a rich, grand structure for thinking about the future of politics in the Anthropocene. Now if only we can build out this new third attractor. Let us call it the Terrestrial Commons!