TED Conversations

Closing Statement from Daniel Raven-Ellison

Thank you TED community for taking the time to join our conversation. I have been fascinated by the diverse range of contributions that have been made. The stories that have been shared are particularly powerful, with examples of how globalisation is impacting on the communities that we live in, visit and influence.

What is clear is that many of us are working from very different definitions of what 'local' means. Ronald Estrada describes local as "minimal, ecological, and symbiotic" while Iain Ellwood says it is more of "a state of mind not a geographic destination". This idea links well to Dustin Smith's suggestion that technology "changes who we spend time with, and allows us to choose "our own local".

The diversity of definitions of 'local' goes a long way to explain why we have so many different predictions about the future. Steve Knight had the most radical prediction, suggesting that personal air travel "will allow people to re-populate currently remote and unpopulated areas of the world". Pabitra Mukhopadhyay, Dorian Knus and many others share our concern that global forces are damaging local places and raise valid concerns for the future. These worries are met by many points that express the advantages of globalisation, including one by David Rogers who asks "Is the advantage of globalisation the ability to start a conversation anywhere in the world around common experiences?"

There have been a number of engaging solutions, including ways for tourists, travel companies and host communities to act more responsibly and sustainably. The common areas here appear to be high quality research, learning, education, empowerment and participation. Scan through to find some real gems.

Finally, thank you to InterContinental Hotels & Resorts for sponsoring this conversation. This specific discussion is closed, but you can follow the "Future of Local" project via Twitter on #FutureOfLocal. And we'll begin a new conversation on TED.com in the coming weeks.

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    Feb 21 2013: Local means to me minimal, ecological, and symbiotic. Local implies to me that we are considerate of our surroundings. Surroundings can and should include culture and environment. These two words are loaded but I think respecting the humanity, animals, plants, geography, and air constitute what they mean for me. Local does not mean trendy. Local is not marketable. Local is not a label but a condition.

    I think travel embodies the antagonist or is the paradox to local, the verb that might embody foreigner. It embodies the fleeing or restless spirit that is mostly driven by survival, but, in humanity, travel can be driven by desire. I think travel is necessary for growth, adaptation, and evolution. I think travel has become trendy, marketable, and creates the need for labels.

    I think the two go together like night and day. I think the balance is in the social consequences. When there is exploitation or ambition travel might lead to vogue, in turn we see local become, not so local. When there is progress and collaboration both reveal their creative and innovative spirit, but still attracts non local, becoming once again not so local. I think local is changing travel by finding ways to hide itself from travelers for the sake of the everlasting romance between village and metropolis.

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