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 23 2013: I see no hope unless we learn to travel rather than be tourists. To travel we need to carry nothing but passports and money (and not many can afford that). If one wants to travel to a different culture one should be as unobtrusive as possible (color of skin and hair can't be helped) but with local clothes, local food and local people around. Sounds risky, but no risk no gain.
    We need both local and global and both need to stay by their own rights. Love is global, kissing in public is not. I find it absolutely meaningless demanding English breakfast in Indian restaurant or expecting European toilet in a Bangladeshi town.
    As long as we don't appreciate that differences in lifestyles, cultures and cuisine are the natural order of our world that make it interesting and demand a KFC or McDonald outlet everywhere we go, we will continue to homogenize the world to an utterly uninteresting place and all travels will stop one day.
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      Feb 23 2013: "I see no hope unless we learn to travel rather than be tourists." - I'd go further and say we need to learn to explore!
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        Feb 23 2013: We seldom remember that geography is as much terrain as people, food and culture. Tourists see those, traveler passes through those and explorer experiences those. So yes, I agree, we need to learn to explore.
        I have seen wonderful places turn on their heads to conform to travel industries. Leh, the cold desert of India receives its scant little supply of water from glacier melt. They had this unique tradition of dry toilets and that tradition has been destroyed by water intensive European toilets just to attract tourism. Traditional travel industry will possibly destroy local.
        For one who wants to explore will innovate eco-toilets in Leh that require little water.

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