Think globally, act locally

In a recent discussion about Sustainability and Global Change a student asked a few renowned scientists what we can do if the current unsustainable development may not be stopped or reversed in time. After a bit of discussion the researchers came to the conclusion: Think globally, act locally.

No, I am not criticizing it (I am just lying). I wonder what it means. I am asking what those who dare to answer with this slogan want to say. More so, what do they say? What is it they are demonstrating?

Who were the ones that explained us that global thinking tends to fail miserably? At least, a good number of ecological catastrophes serves as endorsement.

What does thinking globally mean anyway? Is there a global thinking without acting? Is the act of thinking globally a local act?
Whether globally or locally we act and we think in networks of causes and effects. Are local networks less complex than global networks? If so, at what level of complexity may we stop? What is the opposite? If I am to act locally how do I know what is local and what is global? What does acting globally mean? Who decides? And is this decision an act? A local one?

What about recommendations, rules, laws, and limits? Are they global or local? In which contexts do they operate? Who is held responsible?

Of course, I am responsible for my local actions, am I not? Who is responsible for my global thinking? Me, too. That’s what we think. So, why are there laws? What does it mean that I do act in contexts of habits, traditions, ethics, and for instance European laws?

And how comes my actions are bound by the fact that an American company does not care about how their computers are produced by a company in Taiwan both of which my local dealer can’t get hold of even though it entirely broke down yesterday only 3 months after I bought it?

Do you know what the answer is? — Think globally, act locally! And the other way round.

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