A Conversation with Helena Norberg-Hodge

This is a conversation with the political thinker and activist Helena Norberg-Hodge. She had a huge radicalizing influence on my political thinking through her film Ancient Futures. By "radical" I don't mean the usual leftist politics. Helena is a tireless advocate for re-localization, the reclaiming of the commons, and the importance of direct participation in community. She is deeply insightful in linking these to global issues. Having spent decades in Ladakh, she is also one of the first to integrate traditional and indigenous world-views into a coherent critique of techno-industrial society, finance, and politics. Her work has been a great source of nourishment to me in unfolding a vision of a more beautiful world. I hope you enjoy this conversation we recorded in the fall of 2016 in England.



  1. Insightful conversation – thank you. I am interested in learning more about the earth as a living organism, and the earth’s nervous system (you mentioned whale song etc)
    With much gratitude

  2. I loved your book ‘The More Beautiful World’ and I’ve been following you since reading it last year. I remember too, reading Helena Norberg-Hodge’s book a number of years ago (in 2000, perhaps) and finding it very satisfying. And so I listened to this conversation with interest. I have to admit I was disappointed, even dismayed, by the answer to our present environmental /social/spiritual crisis that you came to, i.e. small self-sustaining communities tied to the land. While I can understand that it is not preferable to continue the current trend toward urbanization, this solution dismisses urban areas which represent more than 50% of the world’s population. How can we look forward to a future which eclipses such a large percentage of people? Are there truly no redeeming features of life in urban areas? How can such a solution even be envisioned when specialization of food production allows for people to live as artists, healers and intellectuals, all of whom contribute undeniably to the quality of life? What about the smaller footprint of life in urban areas, through its density? Just a few of the questions that came to mind after listening.

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