The global economy undermines our most universal aspirations — clean air, clean water, a stable climate, happiness”


Localise West Midlands is a member of the International Alliance for Localization together with individuals, groups, NGOs, trade unions and local businesses from 58 different countries, showing the broad interest in localization worldwide. More than 70 member groups are working on issues ranging from social and environmental justice to sustainable farming, from workers’ rights to indigenous knowledge, from holistic education to policy change and beyond.

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A recent update from the International Alliance for Localization, in addition to giving news of its activities in different parts of the world, says that in line with its education for action mission, it is branching out into a new medium of communication: animation. A simple two-minute animated film summarizes the global-to-local vision in less than 5 minutes, it presents the case for a 180-degree turn from global to local, engaging those who are familiar with the message as much as newcomers.

Going Local: the solution multiplier spells out the essence of what’s wrong with the global economy and the multiple benefits of localisation.

IAL2 animationUsing whimsical drawings and narration, the film emphasizes how the global economy undermines our most universal of aspirations — clean air, clean water, a stable climate, happiness — and illustrates the key ways in which localization can turn things around. One comment: “People really seem to like it and it’s a message that will inevitably win the day — it’s just a question of when”

Anja Lyngbaek, IAL’s Associate Programs Director writes:

“The purpose of the IAL is to serve as an information- and strategy-sharing network for the many groups and individuals around the world working on a global-to-local shift, and to provide the localization movement with a clear and powerful collective voice.

“Localization is not yet widely recognized as a systemic strategy for change. The IAL is a step towards addressing this . . . Through the IAL, we share information about inspiring localization initiatives and strategies, and about campaigns to resist the corporate growth economy. Our Global-to-Local Webinar Series, free for IAL members, addresses key issues on a monthly basis, while our Planet Local series regularly showcases inspiring initiatives, many of them part of the IAL network.

“But a  multitude of localization initiatives are already underway worldwide, from local food and community-owned renewable energy projects to local businesses alliances. These initiatives are resulting in multiple benefits: lower carbon footprints; healthier food; more dignified livelihoods; closer community ties, and more”.




Will sustainable agriculture conference do what it says on the tin?

This morning I received a mailing list invitation to a conference on sustainable agriculture, sponsored by Bayer Cropscience amongst others and with industry specialists from companies such as Asda and Unilever. The lineup prompted me to email back:

“Thank you for this. I would like to know a little more about the conference before I can respond with whether I am interested. The most urgent change needed to progress sustainable agriculture involves decentralising the food supply chain to reduce the power imbalances between buyers, agribusiness and producers that lead to intensification (including loss of rainforest due to soy feedcrops), loss of agricultural economic diversity and unfair pricing. Will these issues be covered in the conference? Will smaller-scale farmers, small retailers and retail markets (in the market stall sense) experts be invited? I would be grateful if you could pass this on to the organisers so that I can see whether the conference will be doing what is says on the tin.”

To my surprise I got a call back. The organisers told me that what made their conference better than many others was that farmers of a range of sizes were involved in determining the agenda and farmers would also be encouraged to attend – at no cost. Furthermore one of the sessions would be about palm oil and deforestation.  So far so good, and definitely better than I expected. But there was no appetite for pursuing the power imbalance and unfair pricing issues that really drive unsustainable farming. Given the sponsors and those from the mega-retailers paying close to £900 to attend, this isn’t entirely surprising. One of those incidents that reminds me that corporate self-regulation and corporate social responsibility, while worthwhile as far as they go, cannot lead to sustainable development.

Karen Leach