Ancient Futures: Lessons from Ladakh for a Globalizing World

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Sierra Club Books, 2009 - Business & Economics - 226 pages
24 Reviews
This gripping portrait of the rapidly evolving socioeconomic life of Ladakh - the Western Himalayan land known as "Little Tibet" - offers crucial lessons in sustainable development as its people attempt to balance growth and technology with cultural values. This account moves from the author's first visit in idyllic, nonindustrial Ladakh in 1974 to the present, showing the profound changes as the region was opened to foreign tourists, Western artifacts and technologies, and pressures for economic growth. These changes brought generational conflict, unemployment, inflation, environmental damage, and threats to the traditional way of life.
Appalled at the negative changes, the author helped establish the Ladakh Project (later renamed the International Society for Ecology and Culture) to seek sustainable solutions to preserve cultural values and environmental health, while facilitating the Ladakhis' hunger for modernization. This model undertaking effectively combines educational programs for all social levels with the design, demonstration, and promotion of appropriate technologies such as solar heating and small-scale hydro power.
This examination of how modernization changes the way people live and think challenges us to redefine our concepts of "development" and "progress." More than anything else, Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh stresses the need for the global community to find ways to carry traditional wisdom into the future.

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Review: Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh

User Review  - Sumit Gunjan - Goodreads

Some amazing insights shared by the author Helena Norberg-Hodge Read full review

Review: Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh

User Review  - Mick Canning - Goodreads

This book is what amounts to a long essay on the culture, history, peoples and development of Ladakh, high in the Himalayas of Northern India. Helena Norberg-Hodge was one of the first people to ... Read full review

About the author (2009)

Helena Norberg-Hodge is a leading analyst of the impact of the global economy on cultures around the world. She is founder and director of the International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC), cofounder of the International Forum on Globalization, and a recipient of the prestigious Right Livelihood Award. She is director of the Ladakh Project, renowned for its twenty-five years of groundbreaking work in sustainable development on the Tibetan plateau, an experience that led her to write the inspirational classic Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh.

Peter Matthiessen was born in Manhattan, New York on May 22, 1927. He served in the Navy at Pearl Harbor. He graduated with a degree in English from Yale University in 1950. It was around this time that he was recruited by the CIA and traveled to Paris, where he became acquainted with several young expatriate American writers. In the postwar years the CIA covertly financed magazines and cultural programs to counter the spread of Communism. While in Paris, he helped found The Paris Review in 1953. After returning to the United States, he worked as a commercial fisherman and the captain of a charter fishing boat. His first novel, Race Rock, was published in 1954. His other fiction works include Partisans, Raditzer, Far Tortuga, and In Paradise. His novel, Shadow Country, won a National Book Award. His novel, At Play in the Fields of the Lord, was made into a movie. He started writing nonfiction after divorcing his first wife. An assignment for Sports Illustrated to report on American endangered species led to the book Wildlife in America, which was published in 1959. His travels took him to Asia, Australia, South America, Africa, New Guinea, the Florida swamps, and beneath the ocean. These travels led to articles in The New Yorker as well as numerous nonfiction books including The Cloud Forest: A Chronicle of the South American Wilderness, Under the Mountain Wall: A Chronicle of Two Seasons of Stone Age New Guinea, Blue Meridian: The Search for the Great White Shark, The Tree Where Man Was Born, and Men's Lives. The Snow Leopard won the 1979 National Book Award for nonfiction. He died from leukemia on April 5, 2014 at the age of 86.

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