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 22 2013: Had experience of staying at Intercontinental Auckland almost 40 years ago. Still in my memory perhaps because of the 'ambience'. So globalisation as a homogeniser of experience - the difference in local actually being reduced by the way we can now access people, cultural traditions, languages and so many other local characteristics. Hotel = safe base to explore from, a community of people employed to help me adjust to conditions 'on the ground' and engage to whatever degree I might feel comfortable with. Very different from old tradition of local - often difficult, hidden dangers, needing an interpretator. Films and magazines only engage with part of us as they do not communicate the lived experience of temperature variations, hues of local flora and fauna, what it is like to be somewhere very crowded or very isolated. Yes would agree with idea that younger generation no longer experience the 'novelty' of different cultures as somehow global branding reduces the idea that local community actually potentially really different. The anticipatory edge, the 'heightening of awareness' - sorry for simplistic language again - the knowing that so many other people have this global experience somehow takes some of the vibrancy and awe away. As a huge generalisation colours always impact on me - for N.Z. the teal blue and sea green. 'Guerilla geography' = respect for the whole experience of local maybe and no 'cherry picking' the best bits for the tourists.
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      Feb 22 2013: I like what you are saying about "respect fot the whole experience of local" and not cherry picking or as I like to think of it, 'editing' places, but I'm interested in your words about the "idea that younger generation no longer experience the 'novelty' of different cultures"... how so?
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        Feb 24 2013: From my personal experience and very aware have some rather strong opinions and words. My paents could not afford television when I was young. I had the advantage of spending the first eight years of my life in a hugely beautiful, rather intense and dramatic environment i.e. earthquakes, gale force winds, lived by the coast, child of migrants, at multi-cultural primary school in a very unique time and place. On return to UK so very 'grey' in so many ways, no longer able to play out bare-foot, cold, social structure so different, plus parents used television as a 'universal pacifier/child minder'. Still remember not being able to participate in playground games as no tv so didn't know about programs. An avid reader, always curious. good imagination, read National Geographic but already so acquainted with Maori culture. Father continued to travel for work and so experience of other cultures. SO simplistic language for difficult concepts. Understand old expression was 'culture-shock'. TV programmes dilute sensitivity to regional accents eg Aussie program Neighbours watched by a whole generation of university students now that 'lift' at the end of a sentence actually part of a way of speaking here now. Media images every day of extreme human behaviours and complex issues also 'desensitises' possibly. An image on a screen is so not a way of understanding a culture. So very lucky to have diverse cultural experiences at a very young age. Now live in very culturally diverse area and trained as counsellor, need to understand potential impact of local belief systems to improve therapeutic relationships. Programs on tv are 'dramatisations', 'in-extremis', 'theatre', infotainment gives some insight but is a very pale imitation of the real lived experience of the dirt and grime and thrills and resourcefulness and skills needed to truly experience a local environment. Appreciate a bit muddled, can refine further iif required.

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