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Book by NorbergHodge Helena
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This gripping portrait of the rapidly evolving socioeconomic life of Ladakh - the Western Himalayan land known as "Little Tibet" - offers crucial lessons in sustainable development as its people attempt to balance growth and technology with cultural values. This account moves from the author's first visit in idyllic, nonindustrial Ladakh in 1974 to the present, showing the profound changes as the region was opened to foreign tourists, Western artifacts and technologies, and pressures for economic growth. These changes brought generational conflict, unemployment, inflation, environmental damage, and threats to the traditional way of life.
Appalled at the negative changes, the author helped establish the Ladakh Project (later renamed the International Society for Ecology and Culture) to seek sustainable solutions to preserve cultural values and environmental health, while facilitating the Ladakhis' hunger for modernization. This model undertaking effectively combines educational programs for all social levels with the design, demonstration, and promotion of appropriate technologies such as solar heating and small-scale hydro power.
This examination of how modernization changes the way people live and think challenges us to redefine our concepts of "development" and "progress." More than anything else, Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh stresses the need for the global community to find ways to carry traditional wisdom into the future.
A linguist by training, Helena Norberg-Hodge was the first Westerner in modern times to master the Ladakhi language. For the last seventeen years, she has spent half of every year in Ladakhi, working with the Ladakhi people to protect their culture and environment from the effects of rapid modernization. For this work, Ms. Norberg-Hodge was awarded the 1986 Right Livelihood Award, also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize. She is currently Director of the Ladakhi Project, which she founded in 1978, and its parent organization, the International Society for Ecology. and Culture.
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