On April 27, Sustainable Tompkins hosted over 170 attendees for the Ithaca premiere of The Economics of Happiness – a film by Helena Norberg-Hodge, Steven Gorelick and John Page, and a project of the International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC).  The film takes a critical look at 8 “inconvenient truths” about globalization, and explores the antidote – localization of the economy – where power is shifted from channels of accumulation for the few into channels of distribution for the many.  In a local economy, it is easier to prevent the corruption and abuse of power that comes with concentrated wealth.  Connections are easier to see.  Cause and effect are visible.  Relationships are more accountable.  Social capital, natural capital, and financial capital are mutually created and shared throughout the community.

After the film, our panel of community leaders shared their ideas for redesigning our economy and gave examples of what we’re doing so far. We heard about expanding local self reliance by working together to provide for ourselves, new sharing and trading networks, green collar jobs, worker-owned cooperatives, buy local and living wage campaigns, and opportunities for all of us to invest in the sustainable enterprises and infrastructure we need.

Panelists included Kristen Elizabeth Steele, International Society for Culture and Ecology; Kirtrina Baxter, Southside Community Center; Jemila Sequeira, Whole Community Project, Cornell Cooperative Extension- Tompkins County; Shira Golding and McKenzie Jones-Rounds, Share Tompkins; Jan Rhodes Norman, Local First Ithaca; Linda Holzbaur, Tompkins County Workers’ Center; Jackie Mouillesseaux-Grube, Tompkins Workforce NY; Joe Marraffino, Democracy at Work Network; Fred Schoeps and Gay Nicholson, Sustainable Tompkins.

Two new working groups of interested citizens were formed that evening to explore our options for creating more opportunities for local green investing and the potential for developing new worker-owned businesses. (ContactGay@SustainableTompkins.org if you are interested in participating.)

If you were not able to join us for The Economics of Happiness screening, please contact Nicole@SustainableTompkins.org. Sustainable Tompkins has a copy of The Economics of Happiness available as part of our lending library for members. Your membership provides you with access to our lending library and allows Sustainable Tompkins to continue to bring innovative programming to our community.