Together we can shift our economy:

Let's go local!

Together we can shift our economy:

Let's go local!

Join the global movement to build resilient local economies and flourishing local communities. Take action with the tools and resources in this guide.

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146 Actions to resist and renew.

Solving our current crises requires actions that resist the drivers of social and ecological destruction, and those that renew local cultures, communities and economies. Let’s take action at a personal and community level and build a movement powerful enough to turn the tide.

A few examples of Actions:

Food
Join or start a community garden.
Expand Action
Join or start a community garden.

Community gardens combine the multiple physical and psychological benefits of gardening with another vital element of well-being: connecting with other people. Community gardens not only bring people together in meaningful land-based work and boost food and nutrition security, they also beautify urban spaces, provide ecological niches for wildlife, and create open green spaces that cities desperately need. With secure tenure through mechanisms like land trusts, community gardens can even withstand the pressures of real estate development, ensuring that these green spaces can persists into the future.

Take action

Get inspired

  • Mountain Roots Food Project in Colorado, US, runs two collaborative community gardens where members work together to grow food and share the harvest.
  • Prinzessinnengarten in Berlin, Germany, is built from mobile container gardens. Volunteers periodically use the containers to create pop up gardens on vacant land to demonstrate the potential of these spaces for new community gardens.
  • The Consumers' Association of Penang Urban Farm in Penang, Malaysia, transformed an abandoned car park into a thriving community garden, using indigenous farming techniques.
  • Through the Incredible Edible initiative, the UK town of Todmorden has turned public spaces into gardens all over the town, and allows anyone to harvest food.
  • Nuestras Raíces in Holyoke, US, is an immigrant-founded urban agriculture organization managing 14 community gardens as well as an urban farm.

Food
Join or start a community garden.

Community gardens combine the multiple physical and psychological benefits of gardening with another vital element of well-being: connecting with other people. Community gardens not only bring people together in meaningful land-based work and boost food and nutrition security, they also beautify urban spaces, provide ecological niches for wildlife, and create open green spaces that cities desperately need. With secure tenure through mechanisms like land trusts, community gardens can even withstand the pressures of real estate development, ensuring that these green spaces can persists into the future.

Take action

Get inspired

  • Mountain Roots Food Project in Colorado, US, runs two collaborative community gardens where members work together to grow food and share the harvest.
  • Prinzessinnengarten in Berlin, Germany, is built from mobile container gardens. Volunteers periodically use the containers to create pop up gardens on vacant land to demonstrate the potential of these spaces for new community gardens.
  • The Consumers' Association of Penang Urban Farm in Penang, Malaysia, transformed an abandoned car park into a thriving community garden, using indigenous farming techniques.
  • Through the Incredible Edible initiative, the UK town of Todmorden has turned public spaces into gardens all over the town, and allows anyone to harvest food.
  • Nuestras Raíces in Holyoke, US, is an immigrant-founded urban agriculture organization managing 14 community gardens as well as an urban farm.
Business
Start a "Buy Local" campaign.
Expand Action
Start a "Buy Local" campaign.

Multiply the benefits of buying locally by creating a campaign to encourage local residents and visitors to support independently-owned shops and artisans.

Take action

  • Start a "buy local" campaign with Totally Locally's comprehensive Totally Locally Town Kit. The kit includes templates for posters, bag stuffers, badges, postcards, press releases and more, plus step-by-step advice for a successful campaign. It is UK-based, but applicable in any English-speaking country.
  • This factsheet produced by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance tells you How to Start a Buy Local Campaign, including tips on creating a local business alliance.
  • Improve existing campaigns with the American Independent Business Alliance's guide to best practices, Building "Buy Local" Campaigns that Shift Culture and Spending.
  • Find an existing 'buy local' initiative or group through the network members of the American Independent Business Alliance's list of Members (US) and Totally Locally's list of Totally Locally Towns (UK), and Go Local First (Australia).

Get inspired

  • Teenagers in the US state of South Dakota launched the Miner County Buy Local campaign, encouraging residents to spend 10% more at local businesses. In the following year, money spent locally increased by $15 million.
  • The Buy Fresh, Buy Local campaign in the US state of Iowa has been around a while: it was launched by the University of Northern Iowa in 2003. It's also very successful: the dollar volume of purchases by retailers that partner with the program has grown by at least 10-fold since its start.

Business
Start a "Buy Local" campaign.

Multiply the benefits of buying locally by creating a campaign to encourage local residents and visitors to support independently-owned shops and artisans.

Take action

  • Start a "buy local" campaign with Totally Locally's comprehensive Totally Locally Town Kit. The kit includes templates for posters, bag stuffers, badges, postcards, press releases and more, plus step-by-step advice for a successful campaign. It is UK-based, but applicable in any English-speaking country.
  • This factsheet produced by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance tells you How to Start a Buy Local Campaign, including tips on creating a local business alliance.
  • Improve existing campaigns with the American Independent Business Alliance's guide to best practices, Building "Buy Local" Campaigns that Shift Culture and Spending.
  • Find an existing 'buy local' initiative or group through the network members of the American Independent Business Alliance's list of Members (US) and Totally Locally's list of Totally Locally Towns (UK), and Go Local First (Australia).

Get inspired

  • Teenagers in the US state of South Dakota launched the Miner County Buy Local campaign, encouraging residents to spend 10% more at local businesses. In the following year, money spent locally increased by $15 million.
  • The Buy Fresh, Buy Local campaign in the US state of Iowa has been around a while: it was launched by the University of Northern Iowa in 2003. It's also very successful: the dollar volume of purchases by retailers that partner with the program has grown by at least 10-fold since its start.
Finance
Move your money.
Expand Action
Move your money.

One of the easiest steps you can take to help your local economy is to move your bank account from a large national bank to a community financial institution: a local bank or credit union focused specifically on supporting local businesses and citizens. The collective impact of millions of people transferring assets from multinational to local institutions would significantly shift the dynamic of the global financial system.

Take action

  • Find a credit union near you with the World Council of Credit Unions' map Our Global Networks. We encourage you to choose smaller, locally based and rooted credit unions if possible.
  • Learn more about why and how to move your money with Green America's Community Investing Guide (US).
  • Organize a local move-your-money campaign with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance's resource list Tools for Starting a Local Move Your Money Campaign.
  • Find a community bank near you with the directories on Find a Better Bank (US) and the Community Savings Bank Association (UK).
  • Compare banks and credit unions in your area based on a number of local impact metrics with Banklocal.info (US).
  • Find a bank that offers environmentally and socially-responsible services through the Global Alliance for Banking on Values' map Find Members. Note: some of the member banks are national in scope.

Get inspired

  • Triodos Bank in the UK focuses on financing social, cultural, and environmental initiatives such as organic farming, childcare facilities, small businesses, and renewable energy projects.
  • The Ecology Building Society in the UK offers savings accounts and mortgages for co-housing, renovations, and other sustainable construction projects.
  • Maine Harvest Federal Credit Union is the only financial institution in the US that focuses its loans on growing a healthy local food system.
  • The Clean Energy Federal Credit Union in the US state of Colorado focuses on financing small-scale renewable energy projects.

Finance
Move your money.

One of the easiest steps you can take to help your local economy is to move your bank account from a large national bank to a community financial institution: a local bank or credit union focused specifically on supporting local businesses and citizens. The collective impact of millions of people transferring assets from multinational to local institutions would significantly shift the dynamic of the global financial system.

Take action

  • Find a credit union near you with the World Council of Credit Unions' map Our Global Networks. We encourage you to choose smaller, locally based and rooted credit unions if possible.
  • Learn more about why and how to move your money with Green America's Community Investing Guide (US).
  • Organize a local move-your-money campaign with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance's resource list Tools for Starting a Local Move Your Money Campaign.
  • Find a community bank near you with the directories on Find a Better Bank (US) and the Community Savings Bank Association (UK).
  • Compare banks and credit unions in your area based on a number of local impact metrics with Banklocal.info (US).
  • Find a bank that offers environmentally and socially-responsible services through the Global Alliance for Banking on Values' map Find Members. Note: some of the member banks are national in scope.

Get inspired

  • Triodos Bank in the UK focuses on financing social, cultural, and environmental initiatives such as organic farming, childcare facilities, small businesses, and renewable energy projects.
  • The Ecology Building Society in the UK offers savings accounts and mortgages for co-housing, renovations, and other sustainable construction projects.
  • Maine Harvest Federal Credit Union is the only financial institution in the US that focuses its loans on growing a healthy local food system.
  • The Clean Energy Federal Credit Union in the US state of Colorado focuses on financing small-scale renewable energy projects.
Energy
Reclaim your community’s electrical grid.
Expand Action
Reclaim your community’s electrical grid.

Private corporations own most of the world’s electricity infrastructure, which means local governments and citizens have only limited control over their utilities. Taking back ownership creates the conditions for local, democratic decision-making around infrastructure placement, availability, pricing, and power sources.

Take action

Get inspired

  • The German community group Our Hamburg, Our Grid, Germany ousted multinational energy giant Vattenfall and replaced it with a local power utility.
  • The residents of Feldheim, Germany, funded and built their own electrical grid powered by 100% renewable energy after the utility company refused to sell or lease its grid to the village.

Energy
Reclaim your community’s electrical grid.

Private corporations own most of the world’s electricity infrastructure, which means local governments and citizens have only limited control over their utilities. Taking back ownership creates the conditions for local, democratic decision-making around infrastructure placement, availability, pricing, and power sources.

Take action

Get inspired

  • The German community group Our Hamburg, Our Grid, Germany ousted multinational energy giant Vattenfall and replaced it with a local power utility.
  • The residents of Feldheim, Germany, funded and built their own electrical grid powered by 100% renewable energy after the utility company refused to sell or lease its grid to the village.
Consumption
Join or start a tool library.
Expand Action
Join or start a tool library.

Tool libraries offer access to a wide variety of specialty tools, recreation and outdoor equipment, kitchen gadgets, and more – without contributing to an individualist, wasteful and energy-intensive throwaway consumer economy. Tool libraries are also known as lending libraries or libraries of things.

Take action

  • Find a nearby tool library with Local Tools' worldwide map Find Your Local Tool Lending Library.
  • Check your local public library: many host small libraries of things in addition to books.
  • Start a new tool library with Share Starter's kit Start a Tool Library or Library of Things, with tools and templates for nonprofits, social ventures, and public libraries. 
  • If you have tools you rarely or no longer use, donate them to a local tool library.

Get inspired

Consumption
Join or start a tool library.

Tool libraries offer access to a wide variety of specialty tools, recreation and outdoor equipment, kitchen gadgets, and more – without contributing to an individualist, wasteful and energy-intensive throwaway consumer economy. Tool libraries are also known as lending libraries or libraries of things.

Take action

  • Find a nearby tool library with Local Tools' worldwide map Find Your Local Tool Lending Library.
  • Check your local public library: many host small libraries of things in addition to books.
  • Start a new tool library with Share Starter's kit Start a Tool Library or Library of Things, with tools and templates for nonprofits, social ventures, and public libraries. 
  • If you have tools you rarely or no longer use, donate them to a local tool library.

Get inspired

Community
Organize a citizens' assembly.
Expand Action
Organize a citizens' assembly.

Citizens' assemblies (or juries) are one method of direct democracy. They involve a randomly selected group of local residents who deliberate on key issues and generate policy recommendations. Citizens' assemblies are being designed and implemented in many places to address urgent issues like the climate emergency. 

Take action

  • Citizens’ Assemblies: Guide to Democracy that Works is a comprehensive guide to the rationale, organization and impacts of citizens’ assemblies.
  • Learn about citizens’ climate assemblies and juries and how to design, facilitate and implement them with the Extinction Rebellion Guide to Citizens’ Assemblies for activists.
  • UK-based Shared Future created this guide to climate assemblies, specifically aimed at local governments.  
  • Another UK-based guide for local governments on running a citizens' assembly was created by the Royal Society for the Arts and several British ministries.
  • For a deep dive into the why and how of citizens’ assemblies – both in general and as applied to the climate crisis – check out this amazing set of resources – books, articles, reports, videos, websites and podcasts – curated by Extinction Rebellion NYC, and this set by Extinction Rebellion UK.
     

    Get inspired

  • The Leeds (UK) Climate Change Citizens’ Jury met in 2019 and developed a set of robust recommendations to the Leeds city council.
  • Scotland's Climate assembly met to discuss "How should Scotland change to tackle the climate emergency in an effective and fair way?" Their interim report has been issued.
  • The UK Climate Assembly was formed of "100+ people from all walks of life and shades of opinion" who met over six weekends to discuss the UK's climate goals. Their report was issued in September 2020.

Community
Organize a citizens' assembly.

Citizens' assemblies (or juries) are one method of direct democracy. They involve a randomly selected group of local residents who deliberate on key issues and generate policy recommendations. Citizens' assemblies are being designed and implemented in many places to address urgent issues like the climate emergency. 

Take action

  • Citizens’ Assemblies: Guide to Democracy that Works is a comprehensive guide to the rationale, organization and impacts of citizens’ assemblies.
  • Learn about citizens’ climate assemblies and juries and how to design, facilitate and implement them with the Extinction Rebellion Guide to Citizens’ Assemblies for activists.
  • UK-based Shared Future created this guide to climate assemblies, specifically aimed at local governments.  
  • Another UK-based guide for local governments on running a citizens' assembly was created by the Royal Society for the Arts and several British ministries.
  • For a deep dive into the why and how of citizens’ assemblies – both in general and as applied to the climate crisis – check out this amazing set of resources – books, articles, reports, videos, websites and podcasts – curated by Extinction Rebellion NYC, and this set by Extinction Rebellion UK.
     

    Get inspired

  • The Leeds (UK) Climate Change Citizens’ Jury met in 2019 and developed a set of robust recommendations to the Leeds city council.
  • Scotland's Climate assembly met to discuss "How should Scotland change to tackle the climate emergency in an effective and fair way?" Their interim report has been issued.
  • The UK Climate Assembly was formed of "100+ people from all walks of life and shades of opinion" who met over six weekends to discuss the UK's climate goals. Their report was issued in September 2020.

Local action and systemic change

In the pursuit of never-ending growth and profits, the corporate-led global economy is putting all life on earth at risk. When we take action to localize our economies and strengthen our communities, we are helping to bring about a systemic shift in direction – towards cultural and biological diversity, social justice, genuine democracy, and our own health and happiness.
It’s time to bring our economies back home, to return to a human scale, to localize.

Learn more

“From farmers markets and consumer-producer co-operatives to local business alliances and community finance schemes, people are reweaving the fabric of local interdependence from the ground up. Out of common sense and heartfelt intuition, they are finding innovative ways to step out of the consumer rat race to live local lives at a human pace and scale.”

Helena Norberg-Hodge, Founder - Local Futures