Helena Norberg-Hodge | Local Futures


1. About me: “The most important part of my education was my immersion in the pre-industrial culture of Ladakh, or “Little Tibet”, which forced me to challenge the foundations of modern industrial society and demonstrated the fundamental importance of human-scale economic and political units. If I´d determine which thinker had the greatest impact on my life, it would be a very close-run race between E.F. Schumacher, Goethe and the Buddha.”

2. Guiding motto: “Human beings have got us into this mess; human beings can get us out of it.  (It might have more punch in Latin.) And my favourite word: Semba. It’s a Ladakhi word that represents a blend of head and heart.”

3. What is my passion: “A deep-seated sense of connection with one’s fellow beings and the Earth. And the growing worldwide movement for economic decentralisation, or localisation. (I.e. shift taxes, subsidies and regulations to support local and national businesses rather than global multinationals.)”

4. With whom I would like to argue: “The thought that the current theatre of left/right politics can take us where we need to go. As it stands, governments of every political hue are singing to the tune of deregulated global finance and “free trade”, thereby destroying both livelihoods and the environment.”

5. What is important to me in a dialogue: “To be a human; To favour love over hate, compassion and empathy over selfishness, cooperation over competition.”


Author and filmmaker Helena Norberg-Hodge is the founder and director of Local Futures. A pioneer of the ‘new economy’ movement, she has been promoting an economics of personal, social and ecological well-being for more than thirty years. She is the producer and co-director of the award-winning documentary The Economics of Happiness. She has authored several books, including the inspirational classic Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh and Local is Our Future: Steps to an Economics of Happiness (described by author David Korten as “a must read book for our time.”) She has given public lectures in seven languages, and has appeared in broadcast, print, and online media worldwide, including MSNBC, The London Times, The Sydney Morning Herald, and The Guardian. She was honored with the Right Livelihood Award (or ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’) for her groundbreaking work in Ladakh, and received the 2012 Goi Peace Prize for contributing to “the revitalization of cultural and biological diversity, and the strengthening of local communities and economies worldwide.” For a complete biography, see here: Helena Norberg-Hodge.