Localism is a crucial attitude for negotiating the murky path ahead.
The first decade of this millennium has been packed with anxiety: terrorism, erosion of civil liberties, foreign wars, environmental devastation, a lurch in the stride of capitalism. And these are just the most obvious. As humanity creeps toward a climate change tipping point and an inevitable peak in oil production, the madness of business-as-usual is ever more clear. Yet our consumer culture seems to be an unstoppable force hurtling toward an immovable object called reality.
William Butler Yeats is, perhaps, too often quoted since he wrote “The Second Coming” in 1920–in the wake of the Great War, the Influenza Epidemic, and the failure of the Easter Rising. But his words seem to be perennially relevant: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity.” The events of the past decade have left some dispirited, including the editor of the Voice. While our global challenges–and the apparent apathy of many of our fellow citizens–might well lead us to abandon our idealism and hope, Yeats reminds us that the world has long been in a bad way. Progress is won in the struggle for a better world.
This periodical was founded 23 years ago for the purpose of connecting the various people and resources of the community. In those days before the Internet, the Voice served as an essential resource. Over the decades, the Voice has maintained that mission of homegrown community building because of the benefit that is added to our lives when we know our neighbors.
But in recent months, I have come to see our mission beyond simply promoting hometown values for their own sake. These days, the cliché “Think Global; Act Local” takes on added urgency. While human progress moves at sloth-speed globally, individuals have tremendous influence over their own lives and local way of life.
Localism is a crucial attitude for negotiating the murky path ahead. Local efforts to convert to non-petroleum energy sources shore up our future here in Montgomery County, the DC region, and Maryland. They also connect with other local efforts around the world towards forcing a global shift to sustainable energy sources. Promotion of local, environmentally sound farming supports our present and future access to healthy food. The cultivation of independent businesses, selling locally or nationally manufactured products, puts more money in our local economy and makes us less dependent upon the variables of big business.
I imagine that the rest of this century is bound to be interesting. We can see that cosmic wheels are in motion–but we cannot precisely predict our future. It can be frightening to contemplate. What will happen as oil becomes increasingly scarce? How exactly will our climate change? These are questions that may plague us in the night, but which we stifle in the light of day. After all, what can we do? I don’t have the answer. But as the editor of the Voice, I will be doing my best over the coming year and beyond to explore local responses to big questions. Action is the counterweight to anxiety.
More importantly, I will be publishing stories of hope and positive energy. This community is noteworthy because of the number of individuals who are engaged in socially-conscious change. Our mission is to connect those people and their ideas to you.
At the same time, I have no interest in turning the Voice into a boring policy paper. I will continue to seek out writers who can provide lively coverage of the people and issues of our community. And I will be exploring ways to open up our website to greater community involvement. In coming months, I will provide updates as we create a better online platform for online localism.
If you have ideas for stories or Internet possibilities, come to one of our meetings this month:
Wednesday, February 16 at7 PM @ Babe’s Billiards (1115 East-West Highway).
Wednesday, February 23 at 7 PM @ the Voice office (7040 Carroll Ave. #2).
Or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Editor in chief