Writing & Films
Helena is the author of several books, including the international best-seller ‘Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh’, a moving portrait of tradition and change in Ladakh, or “Little Tibet,”. Ancient Futures challenges us to redefine what a healthy society means and to find ways to carry centuries-old wisdom into our future. Ancient Futures has been translated into more than 40 languages, and sold half a million copies worldwide.
Her most recent book ‘Local is Our Future: Steps to an Economics of Happiness’ connects the dots between our social, economic, ecological and spiritual crises revealing how a systemic shift from global to local can address these seemingly disparate problems simultaneously. Distilling the wisdom gleaned from four decades of activism and experience, Helena deconstructs the old narrative of 'progress' through technological advance and corporate growth, while presenting a concise and compelling case for economic localisation.
Helena is also the producer of the award-winning film ‘The Economics of Happiness’ which spells out the social, spiritual, and ecological costs of today’s global economy while highlighting the multiple benefits of economic localisation. The film showcases the steps people are already taking worldwide to rebuild their local economies and communities.
Ancient Futures, now translated into more than 40 languages, is Helena Norberg-Hodge’s moving portrait of tradition and change in Ladakh (or “Little Tibet”), a scathing critique of the global economy, and a rallying call for economic localization. Originally published in 1991, the updated 2016 edition contains a new preface by the author, as well as the original foreword by H.H. the Dalai Lama.
In a new preface, she presents a kaleidoscope of projects around the world that are pointing the way to both human and ecological well-being. These initiatives are the manifestation of a rapidly growing localization movement, which works to
rebuild place-based cultures—strengthening community and our connection with nature. Ancient Futures challenges us to redefine what a healthy society means and to find ways to carry centuries-old wisdom into our future.
“Everyone who cares about the future of this planet and their children’s future should read this book.”
~ The Guardian
“Some books provide insights into our problems; others offer guidelines for a different future. Ancient Futures does both, brilliantly. A true classic.”
~ Bill McKibben
“Ancient Futures was a critical early warning about the social, spiritual and ecological costs of exporting ‘Western’ lifestyles to every corner of the globe.”
~ Naomi Klein
Local is Our Future
Local is Our Future connects the dots between our social, economic, ecological and spiritual crises, revealing how a systemic shift from global to local can address these seemingly disparate problems simultaneously. Distilling the wisdom gleaned from four decades of activism and direct experience in both the global North and South, Helena lucidly deconstructs the old narrative of ‘progress’ through technological advance and corporate growth, while presenting a concise and compelling case for economic localization.
“At a time when any thinking person would have good reason to despair, Helena Norberg-Hodge provides a wonderfully positive vision of the future. The key message of this book is simple, but revolutionary: by bringing the economy closer to home, we are both helping to heal the Earth and breathing new life into our increasingly divided communities. This beautiful new narrative is one of empowerment and active hope.“
~ Joanna Macy
“Localization – a very important antidote to globalization – is the only hope for the future. If our civilization collapses, which is a very real threat, humanity will be able to survive only by adopting the principles of localization, and if we want to avoid its collapse, we must adopt them urgently. Read this book!“
~ Iain McGilchrist
“Local is Our Future is an inspirational manifesto. Globalization is destroying our communities and our planet, but Helena presents a compelling, positive solution that I completely endorse.“
~ Alice Waters
The Economics of Happiness
Our award-winning film, The Economics of Happiness, spells out the social, spiritual, and ecological costs of today’s global economy while highlighting the multiple benefits of economic localization. The film showcases the steps people are already taking worldwide to rebuild their local economies and communities. Featuring Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben, David Korten, Samdhong Rinpoche, and other inspiring thinkers and activists.
Localization is the best way to repair our ecosystems, our societies and ourselves. Watch the film free below.
“What’s our favourite documentary of all time? The one film we wish everyone could see? Hands down, this is it. It is truly one of the most important and useful films for inspiring change that has been made in a generation.” – Films for Action
Ancient Futures:Learning from Ladakh
The award-winning film based on the book was produced and narrated in 1993 by Local Futures’ Programs Director, John Page. Ancient Futures is much more than a film about Ladakh. The breakdown of Ladakh's culture and environment forces us to re-examine what we really mean by 'progress' - not only in the 'developing' parts of the world, but in the industrialized world as well. The story of Ladakh teaches us about the root causes of environmental, social and psychological problems, and provides valuable guidelines for our own future.