Ancient Futures

Learning from Ladakh

Helena Norberg-Hodge. 1993. India. vo English. 60’

v English
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How can we learn ecological solutions from an ancient Culture? Ladakh, or Little Tibet, is a wildly beautiful desert land high in the western Himalayas. Although it has few natural resources and an extreme climate, it has been home to a thriving culture for over a thousand years. A tradition of frugality and cooperation coupled with an intimate and location-specific knowledge of the environment enabled the Ladakhis not only to survive, but also to prosper. Until development arrived.

Now Leh, the capital, is full of pollution and divisiveness, inflation and unemployment, intolerance and greed. Centuries of ecological balance and social harmony are under threat from modernization. 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. http://www.localfutures.org/publications/books-and-reports/books-and-reports