Image for post
Image for post

One morning during breakfast, my family started talking about new policies of the government towards “Progress” to ensure road connectivity and freshwater pipelines to every house, which have been categorized as basic necessities. I agree that these facilities make life comfortable, consume less time to get things done, and make life more “productive”.

But it also made me consider the direction in which we are heading — as individuals, as a community and as a country. We tend not to critically question the mainstream system, its priorities and its short- and long-term effects. The structures being created tend to be modeled after the western world, but is that really a wise idea? …


Image for post
Image for post

In October 2020, a group of 79 Kenyans filed a lawsuit in a UK court against one of the world’s largest plantation companies, Camelia Plc. They say the company is responsible for the killings, rapes and other abuses that its security guards have carried out against local villagers at its 20,000 hectare plantation, which produces avocados for European supermarkets.

Such abuses are unfortunately all too routine on Africa’s industrial plantations. It has been this way since Europeans introduced monoculture plantations to Africa in the early 20th century, using forced labour and violence to steal people’s lands. …


Image for post
Image for post

For a good stretch of the last 20 years, I’ve tried as best I can to be a small-scale farmer. The results have varied from the worthwhile to the hapless, always constrained by a world geared to treating the efforts of farmers in general, and small-scale farmers in particular, with indifference at best. But my story isn’t about those efforts, or that indifference. Instead, it considers what may be impelling humanity toward a small farm future; what (in broadest outline) that future might look like; and the forces that may deliver it — or something worse.

Still, let me start that journey with my feet on my farm. When people visit it, I notice three main responses. One is an unbidden enthusiasm for the rural paradise we’ve created, the beauty of the place, and our great good fortune in avoiding the rat race and producing honest food from the land. Sometimes the words are spoken and sometimes I only see it in their eyes, but the sentiment that usually accompanies it is: “This is great. I wish I could do something like this, but I can’t…


Image for post
Image for post

I returned to my village in Ladakh when the Prime Minister announced the first lockdown in late-March. I ended up spending the whole lockdown period in the village assisting my family with various agricultural and pastoral tasks. This was the first time I had spent so much time in the village since my childhood. This made me reflect on the idea of development itself.

For over 10 years I have worked in the tourism sector, like most of the young people in the village. However, this year the COVID-19 pandemic underlined the fact that tourism remains an unsustainable and unreliable source of livelihood. In the past, when I would return to the village, I would only meet the elderly as all the young people had left the village to pursue livelihood or educational opportunities. However, during the lockdown I realised that people in the village are constantly busy in productive work and have little time to worry about things like COVID-19. I spent my time working on the farm, planting fruit trees and tending to the garden. As a result, I became much fitter than I was earlier. …


Image for post
Image for post

In December of 2019, my best friend Kit took me and my partner to the place where she grew up, in the remote Thora Valley, in the pristine forested foothills of Eastern Australia’s Great Dividing Range. As we drove down Darkwood, the single road into the Thora, Kit told us stories of floods and mouldy houses, of Christmases spent at swimming-holes and mushroom picking in the rain. She pointed to where you’d usually be able to see the dramatic ridgelines of the Dorrigo escarpment, one of Australia’s last strongholds of primordial Gondwanan rainforest.

But in December 2019, the Dorrigo escarpment, along with the rest of the country’s south-east, was shrouded in the thick smoke of Australia’s worst bushfire season on record. Rainforests were burning that had never known flames before. ‘Megafires’ was suddenly a household term. …


Image for post
Image for post

Prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was believed that globalisation would lead to development and prosperity. However, the whole scenario has changed now with almost every part of the world under some form of lockdown, which has posed a major challenge to the fulfillment of the demand for various goods and services. This is has shifted focus to the importance of the ‘local’.

The situation was no different in Ladakh when restrictions were placed on the transportation of various supply chains during the crucial period (summer months). I am describing summer months as a ‘crucial period’ for Ladakh as it is the only period when we are open for economic activities. These are difficult in the winter months when the roads to the outside world remain closed. …


Image for post
Image for post

The crises of the modern world verify what indigenous cultures have always known: that all phenomena are inextricably interconnected. As the Amazon — one of the most vital organs of the Earth — is razed to fuel the global economy, a virus borne of disrupted ecosystems assaults the lungs of human beings. And as economic policies are enacted in Washington, Brussels or Beijing, people are uprooted and ecosystems destroyed thousands of miles away.

Over the past forty years, awareness of our interdependence with the natural world has steadily seeped into the dominant cultural narrative, and with it has come a greater appreciation for non-Western cultures and Indigenous peoples. In virtually every sphere, ecological and socially conscious initiatives have sprouted from the grassroots. From ecopsychology to ecological architecture, from human rights campaigns to support for the underprivileged, people have demonstrated their desire to develop kinder, gentler, more sustainable ways of living. …


Image for post
Image for post

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Peruvians are facing exceptional challenges as individuals and communities throughout the country confront job losses and food shortages in addition to the virus itself.

However, these difficult times have an upside, in that they bring out the best in each of us, generating acts of solidarity; in the case of Peruvians it shows how ancestral values of solidarity, reciprocity, and balance remain in practice.

One such action is that of the Association of the Communities of the Potato Park, who on May 13th distributed more than 1 ton of native potatoes to migrants and other vulnerable groups in Cusco, including to migrants in quarantine at the local soccer stadium, a Geriatric Center, and Casa Mantay, a shelter for single abused teenage mothers. …


Image for post
Image for post

Not so long ago, Dalit women farmers in Telangana used to face hunger and deprivation. Today, they have contributed foodgrains for pandemic relief. Farmers on the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border have been sending organic produce to Bengaluru even during the lockdown. And Adivasi villages in central India are using community funds to take care of migrant workers who have returned home.

These inspiring stories show the potential of empowered rural communities to cope with crisis. …


Image for post
Image for post

Once cast, 5G’s inescapable net will have consequences on everything from the night sky down to the cells of our bodies. With two legal cases against 5G roll-out getting underway in the UK,[1] here are just ten of many reasons why 5G is such a bad idea — and not one of them has anything to do with Covid-19.

1. 5G and existing wireless technologies use radio-frequency radiation (RFR) that has adverse effects on health.

A copious body of scientific research has found that effects from RFR at currently permitted exposure levels include: increased cancer risk, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damage, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being. In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified RFR as a ‘possible human carcinogen’ based on higher brain tumour rates (glioma and acoustic neuroma) in longer-term users of mobile phones In 2018, the US National Toxicology Program found ‘clear evidence’ of cancer in animals exposed to near-field RFR, and an independent study published by the Ramazzini Institute the same year also found nerve-sheath tumours from far-field exposure. …

About

Local Futures

Local Futures works to renew ecological, social and spiritual well-being by promoting a systemic shift towards economic localization.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store