Living in and for the Here-and-Now
This chapter explores the specifically ethical dimensions of new localism. First, it considers the differences and overlaps between forms of consequentialist and deontological ethics, arguing that falling back on universal prescriptions can, by default, lead to a failure to take individual and collective responsibility. The argument is then developed through considering this in relation to the public sphere of political arrangements and the private sphere of life choices and attitudes. In relation to the former, the case is made for a partial move back from representative democracy to participatory democracy at the local level, with national policy in certain areas becoming the aggregate of local policies, rather than the present situation in which national governments expect local communities to implement policies with very limited space for interpretation. Existentially, examples of immanent transcendentalism, including forms of Buddhism and Thoreau’s Walden experiment, are cited as ways of increasing awareness and appreciation of the local environment, human and non-human. In light of this, issues of waste management are discussed, as well as the broader social issues of borderless crime and the role of the local in maintaining a healthy balance between production and consumption.
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