The ‘Think globally, act locally’ was the mantra of my early years in the environmental and sustainability movements – but I always had a slight unease with the second bit. Partly, perhaps, because I got involved in some of the early alternative technology communities that attempted to practice a grassroots approach to global challenges.
Later, I quite liked it when the phrase was spun to ‘Think locally, act globally’, but couldn’t quite work out what that meant.
Now this morning, sitting around the table with Elaine and Jim Salzman, I was ploughing my way through a slightly rain-soaked heap of papers hen, in the New York Times section of The Observer, I came across Guy Trebay’s article on the way hip-hop is morphing into a new dance trend, ‘jerking’.
His first line: Think globally, act virally.
Eureka! You know a great catch-phrase when you see it.
So I was slightly shocked to see that the phrase dates back at least a couple of years, being attributed – in the form ‘Think global, act viral’ – to Rudy De Waele of mTrend. The original context was mobile telephony, but, boy, can this mantra serve us across a wider front.
With COP15 looming, this spirit ought to apply to everything we do in tackling the climate – and wider sustainability – challenges.