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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  • Mar 5 2013: The increased ease and decreased cost of both travel and communication will work to make the global more local. I think it is a net positive. I am not threatened by the McDonald's of the world because there is a Sushi restaurant in Grand Forks, North Dakota where I grew up. Imagine that. One of the most land-locked cities in North America, and you can eat raw fish prepared by Japanese immigrants.

    I know kids these days who love eating octopus. 20 years ago, when I was their age, I didn't even know you could eat octopus, much less expect that anyone my age would enjoy it. And yes, they eat McDonalds, and yes, they drink Starbucks - but the breadth of their global knowledge is so far beyond what I grew up with, it is staggering.

    To them, it is local.

    Is there a risk of homoginization? Well, certainly Grand Forks has a sushi shop, but it will never be Japan. And Japan will never be North Dakota. They will transform each other and in that transformation, some things will be lost - but I think if it is worth preserving, it will be. And someday, maybe Japanese youth will all want to play Ice Hokey.

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