Sample Material of Current Public Administration Magazine
Global Local Debate
THINK GLOBALLY ACT LOCALLY
- The phrase "Think globally, act locally" or "Think global, act local"
has been used in various contexts, including planning, environment,
education, mathematics, and business.
- "Think globally, act locally" urges people to consider the health
of the entire planet and to take action in their own communities and cities.
Long before governments began enforcing environmental laws, individuals were
coming together to protect habitats and the organisms that live within them.
These efforts are referred to as grassroots efforts. They occur on a local
level and are primarily run by volunteers and helpers.
- "Think Globally, Act Locally" originally began at the grassroots level,
however, it is now a global concept with high importance. It is not just
volunteers who take the environment into consideration. It is corporations,
government officials, education system, and local communities.
- Warren Heaps states, "It's really important to recognize that markets
are different around the world, and company compensation programs should
reflect a balance between global corporate philosophy and local practice and
- The original phrase "Think global, act local" has been attributed to
Scots town planner and social activist Patrick Geddes. Although the exact
phrase does not appear in Geddes' 1915 book "Cities in Evolution," the idea
(as applied to city planning) is clearly evident: " 'Local character' is
thus no mere accidental old-world quaintness, as its mimics think and say.
It is attained only in course of adequate grasp and treatment of the whole
environment, and in active sympathy with the essential and characteristic
life of the place concerned."— Patrick Geddes, was a Scottish biologist,
sociologist, philanthropist and pioneering town planner. He was also
responsible for introducing the concept of "region" to architecture and
planning. He has made significant contributions to the consideration of the
environment. Geddes believed in working with the environment, versus working
- Town planning is important to understanding of the idea "think globally,
act locally". Urban management and development highly impacts the
surrounding environment. The ways in which this is initiated is vital to the
health of the environment. Corporations need to be aware of global
communities when expanding their companies to new locations. Not only do
corporations need to be aware of global differences, but also Urban and
rural areas who plan on expanding or changing the dynamics of their
community. As stated "Addressing the complex urban environmental problems,
in order to improve urban livability through Urban Environmental Strategies
(UES), involves taking stock of the existing urban environmental problems,
their comparative analysis and prioritization, setting out objectives and
targets, and identification of various measures to meet these objectives".
- The first use of the phrase in an environmental context is disputed.
Some say it was coined by David Brower, founder of Friends of the Earth, as
a slogan for FOE when it was founded in 1969 although others attribute it to
René Dubos who originated it as an advisor to the United Nations Conference
on the Human Environment in 1972. Canadian "futurist" Frank Feather also
chaired a conference called "Thinking Globally, Acting Locally" in 1979 and
has claimed the paternity of the expression. Other possible originators
include French theologian Jacques Ellul.
- The term was increasingly applied to initiatives in international
education and was advanced by Stuart Grauer in his 1989 University of San
Diego publication, Think Globally, Act Locally: A Delphi Study of
Educational Leadership Through the Development of International Resources in
the Local Community. In this publication it was attributed to Harlan
Cleveland. It is said that this term was used by German-American sociologist
Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy in the 1950s or earlier, prior to the formation of
the United Nations Organization.
- It is not only corporations that are acknowledging the importance of
environmental issues, but also the education system. Government officials
and school boards across the world are beginning to develop a new way of
teaching. Globalization is now thought of as an important concept to
understanding the world. Certain schools believe it is important to discuss
global issues as young as 5 years old. It is students who are our future,
therefore understanding the concept of "think globally, act locally" is
fundamental to our future.
- The term is also used in business strategy, where multinational
corporations are encouraged to build local roots. This is sometimes
expressed by converging the words "global" and "local" into the single word
"glocal," a term used by several companies (notably Sony Corporation and
other major Japanese multinationals) in their advertising and branding
strategies in the 1980s and 1990s.
- Currently more and more corporations are finding it extremely important
to analyze the environmental damage of their company. The pressure they
receive from government officials and local communities regarding
environmental issues is vital to their company's image. Glocalization is an
emerging concept throughout the business world. It was first developed by
the Japanese, however, it has now emerged throughout Western society.
Glocalization refers to the practice of conducting business according to
both local and global considerations
- The phrase is an in-joke among mathematicians, as it is often used in
situations where the global structure of an object (e.g., a manifold, a
Diophantine equation, or a group) can be inferred from the local structure.
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