Helena Norberg Hodge previews her Latest Film The economics of Happiness
Helena Norberg Hodge at the preview of "The Economics of Happiness" at Mullumbimby civic hall 25th June
Previewed in Mullumimby recently was “THE ECONOMICS OF HAPPINESS” - a
new film by Helena Norberg-Hodge, our local ‘localisation’ guru. The film
highlights the environmental, social and economic effects of globalisation
worldwide, but pays particular attention to the increased stress,
alienation and depression that today’s global economy is bringing. Much of
the film is devoted to illustrating how strengthened local economies and
communities can counter many of the negative aspects of globalisation.
The film includes a segment on the vibrant, happy people of Ladakh, where Helena has lived and worked for part of the year since the mid-1970s. In her first year in Ladakh, Helena visited a remote village where she was so impressed by the large, beautiful houses that she asked where the “poor” houses were. A young man said, “There are no poor houses here”. But Ladakh’s sustainable and thriving community was being opened up to “development”, which effectively meant the dismantling of the traditional culture. Subsidized food brought in on subsidized roads undermined the self-reliant farm economy, while a bombardment of advertising and media images idealising western, urban culture destroyed the Ladakhis’ sense of security and self-esteem. Along with pollution of air and water, the arrival of the global economy created unemployment, divisiveness, and depression.
“The Economics of Happiness” notes that these changes (which were also documented in Helena’s first book and film, “Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh”), are not unique to this remote culture on the Tibetan Plateau: local cultures and economies all over the world are being dismantled by economic globalisation, a process with roots that go back to the Age of Conquest.
Besides exploring the impacts of globalisation, Helena also brings us vignettes from all over the world showing how people are resisting globalisation and renewing their lives from the bottom up. In an inspiring people-centred revolution called “localisation”, communities are coming together to strengthen the local economy – from food and energy to education, and from Detroit and Yokahama to Byron Bay.
The film is interspersed with interviews from prominent authors and activists, including Vandana Shiva from India “Soil not Oil” (2008); Bill McKibben, USA, author of “Deep Economy” (2007) and Rob Hopkins, UK, who wrote “The Transition Handbook” (2008).
Vandana Shiva states: “Globalisation is creating a very lonely planet”. Helena urges us to counter this by informing ourselves about the myths and false assumptions that surround the economy; by supporting localisation and rebuilding our economies from the ground up; and by reconnecting to nature and community, the relationships that give our lives meaning and joy. A timely and inspiring film.