On a shelf of the Phoenix Bookstore, located in the heart of the ecovillage of Findhorn in the north of Scotland, the title Going Local (Free Press, 2000) caught my eye. The book was written by the American economist Michael H. Shuman. It was June 2002, and I had come to Findhorn to attend the international “Restore the Earth” conference, during which Vandana Shiva, Winona LaDuke, Helena Norberg-Hodge and some others were to present their ideas.
Shuman, in his book, underlines the importance of local communities reclaiming their independence so as not to be crushed by globalization. His text refers to European and North American successes—showing that people can “take back control of what is happening to their local communities” by recreating living economies. The angle of attack he proposes, doing business as a way to create a better world, seemed relevant to me. Indeed, big business is the main destroyer of our environment. But companies—both small and big—may well also be the only entities powerful and creative enough to reverse this trend.