Saturday 30 April 2011

Think Globally, Act Locally

This week I almost did not write a blog post. I have spent time instead on writing to a building contractor about safety problems at a nearby roadworks site. I’m not a prolific ‘letter-writing’ individual, but I observed a lack of safety procedures which I could see was putting cyclists at risk, and I felt the need to tell the company about it. Thankfully the contractor has now corrected the main safety problem, and has written on their website about an updated safety policy to avoid the same problem recurring.

The reason for me relating this, is that it reminded me of maxim that I first came across about 6 years ago: “Think globally, act locally.”*

I read this when (aged 17) I was trying to find out what ‘postmodernism’ means**. It was used in the context of the struggle of the individual to have an impact on the world. We all learn about the world and wish there were ways we could change it, but only a very few ever accumulate the power required to have a significant impact on ‘the world stage.’

This is where the imperative “act locally” becomes so powerful. If we do what we can to improve our communities, to hold our leaders to account, and to generate positive change on a local level, we can live in hope that others elsewhere in the world will do the same. It is important to “think globally” to develop an idea of what our society ought to be like, and that is one of the aims of this blog. But it is equally important not to neglect to act, when we get the chance, and to try and make our local realities a bit closer to the ideals we aspire to.

*A quick google search reveals that the phrase has its own Wikipedia page, and is attributed originally to the Town Planning profession. Since then it has become a recurring theme in discussions about globalisation.

**for the record, I’m still trying

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