If we all go local, will the walls go up? It’s a paradox I mused on this week when I visited Hay Festival to see the incredible Spell Songs – a musical reimagining of Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris’ The Lost Words – a book that’s spawning its own eco-activist movement.
Everything right now happens in the shadow of Greta Thunberg – the Swedish teen who is bringing the adults of the world to attention about the crisis of climate change. So, too, Hay Festival. Her presence was everywhere in talks on every environmental subject of importance.
No more air miles
Greta has famously given up on air travel. She visits European leaders by train from Stockholm. Her stance is common. I know many who have limited or abstained from planes, cars and anything that has been brought a long way to reach them.
There’s a balancing act here. If we go local enough for long enough, will we simply develop silos? Stop flying. Go offline. Eat food grown within thirty miles of your doorstep. All cool. But limiting.
If we all followed through on this for long enough, would we simply reinvent the pre-industrial age? Would foreigners become like fairytale beasts? Would the diversity of the world start to evaporate from our minds?
I am an internationalist
For those who prize internationalism over nativism, climate change offers a tightrope. You wanna do all the right things, but you wanna keep waving to the others over there. You wanna stay connected.
It’s a sweet irony that climate change offers a rather neat excuse for nativists and protectionists the world over, and yet they are generally ideologically inclined towards denial.
The right spells
What I saw from Spell Songs at Hay Festival was eco activism. It was from-the-gut passion for the natural order of which we are a tiny part. It was a slow-down, do-less mantra. But it was offered by musicians celebrating the coming together of music and culture from around the world.
Are you local, or are you global? I am both.
When I showed my son The Lost Words, he began making up new ones. Discover some of them in my blog