The absolute importance of the grassroots


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A meeting in Bristol next month – “Planet Local Summit” – will discuss the kind of initiatives that are needed if ever we’re to put the world to rights

As the world burns and floods and the world’s most powerful people continue to offer more of the same — or else are in denial or simply struggle to stay in office and out of jail — it becomes more and more obvious that the world really does need a complete re-think and very significant re-structuring. It’s abundantly obvious too that the world’s present leaders are not up to the task – assuming they recognise what the tasks are that really need to be tackled. Indeed it is obvious that the world really does need a Renaissance — a virtual re-birth — and that the Renaissance must be led by us, people at large. What’s needed, indeed, are the kind of ideas and the kind of grassroots movements to be introduced and discussed at “Planet local Summit”, to be held in Bristol on September 29 to October 4 this year.  

The inspiration behind the Bristol meeting is Helena Norberg-Hodge, founder and director of Local Futures, and author among much else of Ancient Futures. She’s been campaigning for half a century — a long haul indeed and as she wrote recently in Resurgence (May-June 2023): “Many of my friends and colleagues feel depressed and exhausted. But I don’t. I still have real hope for the future. In the cracks of the global system I have seen a quiet revolution emerging. Everywhere I go I have seen a proliferation of small-scale, local and inspiringly beautiful alternatives to the dominant system”.

The projects are of all kinds – “in food, business, medicine, cultural renewal, and more” – but they all share a common thrust which, says Helena, “is towards reweaving tangible, accountable relationships of interdependence with community and the Earth”.  

And “In a decentralised, almost intuitive manner, people from San Francisco to Seoul, from rural India to the UK, are singing to the same tune. They know that the new world will grow from the bottom up”. 

Local Futures is helping to define what that tune must be, and Helena’s Ancient Futures in particular is essential reading. More about the Bristol meeting on

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