Economics of Happiness

“Economics of Happiness” Documentary on September 20: Going Local

Documentary: Economics of Happiness, Sept 20, 7:00 at All Saints Episcopal.

‘Going local’ is a powerful strategy to repair our fractured world—our ecosystems, our societies and our selves

The Economics of Happiness, an award-winning documentary, describes a world moving simultaneously in two opposing directions. Government and big business promote globalization and consolidation of corporate power. But all around the world people are resisting those policies, demanding a re-regulation of trade and finance—and, far from the old institutions of power, they’re starting to forge a very different future. Communities are coming together to re-build more human scale, ecological economies based on a new paradigm – an economics of localization.

The Economics of Happiness, an award-winning documentary, describes a world moving simultaneously in two opposing directions. Government and big business promote globalization and consolidation of corporate power. But all around the world people are resisting those policies, demanding a re-regulation of trade and finance—and, far from the old institutions of power, they’re starting to forge a very different future. Communities are coming together to re-build more human scale, ecological economies based on a new paradigm – an economics of localization.

WE NEED TO LOCALIZE, TO BRING THE ECONOMY HOME.
As we move in this direction we will begin not only to heal the earth but also to restore our own sense of well-being. The Economics of Happiness restores our faith in humanity and challenges us to believe that it is possible to build a better world.


A New Way to Think about Going Local — Dirt to Shirt

 

A New Way to Think about Going Local — Dirt to Shirt

Going local has been the buzz in food for a while. And as someone who loves going out to nearby farms and picking my own fruit or to spend a Saturday morning at the farmer’s market, I find myself buying more local food too. But with clothing? Its a lot different than the food discussion. People are wanting less processed foods, they want it in the state it comes off the plant & they’d like to eat it ASAP (which is CRITICAL with some foods like sweet corn if you ask me), but cotton isn’t in a ready to consume state (unless you want to hand gin it, do all the combing, spinning, dyeing, weaving, etc and I’ve met a few people who do that to come up with incredible textiles but the time that takes & the costs if not for yourself is truly amazing).

The US textile business used to have us a fairly local business with small textile mills in many, perhaps even most of the states where cotton is grown. But in the past 15 years, international competition (particularly from China) and consumers desire to buy nearly disposably cheap clothes has put most of the US textile industry out of business or at least encouraged them to relocate to areas of the world where they could produce on an economic scale that makes them competitive at the cash register.

cotton farmers entering textile businessphoto from Cotton of the Carolinas website

But there are a few people in the Cotton Belt who are looking to change how we look at clothes and a recent article from CNN tells us about a concept under development in North Carolina. And the return of acres to cotton from grain may just provide additional fiber that can be used locally. An excerpt of the article follows:

One company hoping to take advantage of this abundance of cotton is TS Designs, a small T-shirt printing company in Burlington. In manufacturing quality T-shirts within the state, TS Designs aims to preserve environmental resources and restore part of the crippled North Carolina textile industry in the process.

Regional farmers and manufacturers have banded together to form Cotton of the Carolinas, a collaboration aimed at promoting the use of locally grown cotton.

“The genesis of Cotton of the Carolinas was this idea that the growing of cotton here in the United States and then exporting that to far-ranging regions of the world, in the long run, just didn’t make sense,” says Sam Moore, an adviser to TS Designs.

Moore, along with friend and TS Designs President Eric Henry, made the decision to manufacture T-shirts from cotton grown, ginned, spun, knit, finished, cut, sewn, printed and dyed all within the state’s borders.

“The transportation distance of a conventional T-shirt that you buy in a big box store can vary drastically. If China is involved, then you’re talking, as the crow flies, at least 17,000 miles,” says Eric Michel, the company’s vice president of operations.

“Our shirts go from dirt to shirt in less than 700 miles. That’s actually including roads and not as the bird flies.”

TS Designs has three main objectives for Cotton of the Carolinas: to reduce the transportation footprint, to support jobs in North Carolina and to have a transparent supply chain. “We can build an entire supply chain here in North Carolina,” Michel says.

TS Design’s first step in achieving these goals was to call Burleson.

“They wanted to convince us that this was a good thing and (that we should) be a part of it. I said, ‘Sure,’ ” Burleson recalls. “If I can support my neighbor and they can support me, then I think that’s a good thing for all of us.”

via Locally grown clothes go from ‘dirt to shirt’ – CNN.com.

Would you be willing to look at the tags & consider something you knew came from dirt to shirt right here in the US or even better, from a group of farmers right down the road? What if they cost more?

from http://jplovescotton.com/

Going Local

“Going local” is a powerful strategy to help
repair our fractured world—our ecosystems,
our societies and our selves.
A central paradox defines our time: although
the economy is growing, we are working
longer and longer hours and our new comforts
and luxuries have not brought us happiness.
While the ever-expanding global economy is
creating immense wealth for the few, it is
leaving the majority worse off. Climate change,
unstable financial markets, growing inequality,
senseless war, fundamentalism: people know
something is fundamentally wrong. Across the
world they are coming together in the spirit of
resistance and renewal. A movement is
growing to re-create more just and sustainable
communities and re-invent economies based
on a new paradigm–an economics of happiness.
The Economics of Happiness describes a world
moving simultaneously in two opposing
directions: while government and Big Business
push for a globalized economy based on high
technology and increased trade, people all over
the world are working from the grassroots to
nurture smaller scale, ecological, local
economies.
We hear from a chorus of voices from six
continents including Samdhong Rinpoche, the
Prime Minister of Tibet’s government in exile,
Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben, David Korten
and Zac Goldsmith. The Economics of
Happiness restores our faith in humanity, and
challenges us to believe that it is possible to
build a better world.

What are the benefits of buying local food? (Part One)

In the first of this two-part series, Helena Norberg-Hodge talks about the benefits supporting the local food economy can bring to consumers and producers. By reducing food miles, consumers can help ease climate change and support the livelihoods of local farmers. While local farms struggle to compete with giant agribusinesses, small farmers everywhere are also having to meet costly regulatory requirements brought about, in many cases, by the polluting practices of their much larger competitors. This means spending money they don‚t have. So find and support a local farmer‚s market and bring the food economy home

local-food

What are the benefits of buying local food? (Part Two)

In the second part of this two-part series, Helena Norberg-Hodge explains why supporting the local food economy needn‚t mean we stop buying coffee, tropical fruits and other items flown in from many miles away. Consumers can be more aware of the origins of their staple foods ˆ that way they can make conscious choices to support local growers where possible. This cuts down on pollution and transportation costs and offers a host of other advantages to consumers and small producers alike.

local-food-2

What are the roots of fundamentalism?

Many Bio-tech companies market their GM seeds by claiming that GM is the answer to world hunger. Here, Norberg-Hodge explains how these profit-driven behemoths are in reality preventing third-world farmers from planting native seeds they have used for generations. She also cites the lack of in depth risk assessment as a reason for putting the technology on hold.

fundamentalism

Can GM solve the problem of global hunger?

Helena Norberg-Hodge looks at the root causes of much of the terrorism and ethnic violence we have witnessed in recent years. She sees the problem as being one of economics. Greater and greater competition is forcing smaller businesses into bankruptcy while others merge in order to survive. Jobs are being lost all around the world, creating a climate of stress and instability. The friction that results leads violence in some countries as national governments often favour specific ethnic groups. This is exacerbated as exported western values erode local cultural identity.

global-hunger

Beyond The Monoculture: Strengthening Local Culture, Economy And Knowledge

 

Beyond The Monoculture: Strengthening Local Culture, Economy And Knowledge

Written by Helena Norberg-Hodge

03 April, 2010
Countercurrents.org

Despite the fact that almost every news item today brings information about the seeming endless list of crises there is hope that we have the power to turn things around. In recent years, more and more people are waking up to the root causes behind our problems—from global warming and species extinction to fundamentalism and fear. If we stand back and look at the bigger picture, we will see that all these crises are connected to the globalised economy. Although it may initially be difficult to perceive, the economic system underpins almost every aspect of our lives today—from our jobs to the food we eat, the state of the environment to the state of education, politics to health.