Regenerative Livestyle Blog

Sharing my regeneration journey, enjoying living in harmony with nature

Changing of perspective…

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I have enjoyed reading the ”Future of Progress”, by Helena Norberg-Hodge which gives a totally different perspective on the world economic issues. This chapter is part of “The Future of Progress: Reflections on environment and development”, by Edward Goldsmith, Vandana Shiva, Sigmund Kvaloy, Martin Khor, Nicholas Hildyard, Gary Snyder and Helena Norberg-Hodge, a book which was the result of an international conference on environment and development organised near Stockholm by the International Society for Ecology and Culture and Friends of the Earth – Sweden, in 1995. It was made into a video which script can be read here.

The chapter demonstrates the impossibility and indesirability of economic growth in “South” countries.
Drawing a parallel between the crisis in the South (poverty, environmental degradation, ethnic friction, overpopulation and debt) and the crisis in the North (resource depletion, pollution, unemployment, and social breakdown), it argues that the economic growth is the cause of the problem and in no way a solution.
The solutions to both crises are on the one hand, strategies that counter destructive trends linked to the “techno-economic” model, and on the other hand, strategies that foster positive alternatives including:

  • Small-scale and local initiatives;
  • Appropriate technology: solar and small scale water power;
  • Education that integrates connections rather than narrow over-specialised learning; and
  • Synthetising traditional and post-industrial values, reviving traditions of cooperation, wisdom and local culture.

Simple and well demonstrated.

I am a long term “fan” of Helena as I met her in Terre Vivante in France when I was working there and had considered translating her book “Ancient futures”. Helena’s first book vividly describes the culture of one of the world most remote and harsh place of the world and how the 70’s development policies systematically destructured it.

Helena visited Ladakh in the 70’s and mastered the language. She became an international voice of Ladakhi people and by extension all traditional people of the world, revitalizing cultures and diversity, and promoting local communities worldwide.

I have also read “From the Ground Up: Rethinking Industrial Agriculture”, by Helena, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Peter Goering and John Page which analyses the roots of the environmental, social and economic crises facing modern industrial agriculture, while reviewing more sustainable options.
My partner and I tramped through the Zanskar valley in Ladakh in 1991 and we saw how people were happy and sharing whereas they had “nothing”. We witnessed how local people could cultivate this impossible landscape only with a local fine-tuned knowledge of cultivation. We listened to the stories of older children going to the town for school and leaving a gap of workforce while missing their traditional learning, which made them unable to come back living on the land…

Helena has since created a documentary “The Economics of Happiness” which she presents at TED and which I just bought to view and share. I’ll summarise it as soon as I see it.
I am very pleased she managed to create a world-wide awareness. It is great she managed to harness the power of social media for her quest.

All these resources can be purchased from

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