So said one of Birmingham’s most active, well-informed and caring citizens last night. For the environment and so much more . . .
He is referred to the Barrow Cadbury Trust’s Economic Justice Programme which is “keen to build learning to strengthen local economies and to share best practice between a range of sectors, but particularly across local authorities”.
The economic and social references above do not even refer to the undeniable environmental benefits of vastly reduced transport of goods and to people in this area beset by premature deaths attributed to illegal levels of air pollution. To read the whole article go to the Barrow Cadbury Trust blog.
Localisation is a ‘solutions multiplier’ with political implications, reducing CO2 emissions, energy use and all kinds of waste, creating meaningful and secure employment and rebuilding the connections between people – and between people and their local environment by:
- local trading, using local businesses, materials and supply chains,
- linking local needs to local resources,
- developing community and local capacity,
- providing services tailored to meet local needs
- and decentralising appropriate democratic and economic power
A few of the localising initiatives outlined:
Finance – where 7600 credit unions are outperforming the big banks. Business – where 30,000 small businesses in 130 American cities have formed alliances, some becoming part of larger networks, such as the Business Alliance for Local Living Alliances (BALLE). And food – where, in the ‘supermarket economy’, the farmer gets 10% of what we pay, or less, but gets 50% in the local food co-op and 100% in the farmers’ market.
In the vitally important but vastly neglected agriculture sector, studies have shown that ten times more food per acre is produced on small diversified farms and, by shortening the distance to the buyer, waste of food, refrigeration, preservatives, packaging, energy, irradiation and advertising is reduced or eliminated, the farmer earns more and the customer pays less.
A co-founder of Localise West Midlands, Pat Conaty, makes the case for replacing the paradigm of limitless economic growth with a more decentralized, cooperative, steady-state economy in The Resilience Economy, which promotes:
- Energy sufficiency
- Local food systems
- Low-cost financing
- Affordable housing and land reform
- Democratic ownership and sustainability
Karen Leach, co-ordinator of Localise West Midlands writes:
“This extreme vulnerability of the global economy to trade developments illustrates clearly the perils of an entirely globalised system that removes local economies’ resilience in meeting their own needs.”
As governments cut funding for basic needs while spending billions on global infrastructure for transport trade and weapons, caring and intelligent people worldwide are finding alternatives which promote economic prosperity, social harmony and environmental sustainability.