Editorial Commentary Thinking globally and acting locally. Can research and science help?

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Lawrence Kazembe
Jairos Kangira


This issue of the Journal starts volume 3, an occasion to pause, give thanks, and reflect on the past year or so. Two major events in recent times have shed a true meaning to the saying "think globally, act locally". The Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war underscored that we exist in a globalizing and “boundaryless” economy. There has been no escaping of the ripple-effects of these two events. The result has been heightened unemployment across all industrial sectors, particularly worsened in vulnerable sectors such as tourism and hospitality. The informal sector has also particularly been hit. Food insecurity has increased, and inflation has picked across the globe. Economic growth has stalled, and standards of living have plummeted in the past three years. Countries have acted differently - a true realization of acting locally - to tame the effects on the economy and population. Developed countries acted much faster, while developing countries acted laggards. In laggard countries, policies have lacked evidence. Attributed to Scots town planner and social activist Patrick Geddes (1915), and popularized in the 1970s (Heaps, 2010), the catch term think global-act local has evolved. It has been used in various contexts, including planning, environment, education, and towards business strategies. Thinking globally and acting locally, in its simplest form, is a commitment to personal change. It is a liberating journey of small, deliberate changes to dismantle inconsistencies that exist (Barash, 2002; Groom 2012). This acting is not only at country level, but also applies at a community sphere. For example, geographic proximity and local networks influence diverse practices at a local level, and it not uncommon for organizations to act differently in different settings. Having a long-term vision to offset the impacts of globalization is important for a country. But how much of these locally tailored solutions can be informed by research and science? This call for local action is increasing been made in the case of mitigating for the impacts of climate change. The emphasis has been that global warming requires local solutions. The options are many: Make buildings tighter, maximize passive solar applications, substitute higher-efficiency appliances and motors, encourage telecommunications instead of physical meeting, among others. This problem can be eradicated easily through the introduction of many county-wide regulations, such as tax breaks on households that recycle, readily-available recycling bins and trashcans among many. Africa too needs local solutions for global challenges. One can not overemphasize the power of local solutions to address global challenges. And so, in the Namibian context, we argue that local solutions should be informed through active research and scientific inquiry. However, just like everywhere around the world, local efforts to protect our planet are too often underfunded and overlooked. Nevertheless, we must not tire. There is need to develop a knowledge hub, we require a critical mass of experts, there is need to get others inspired by reaching out, that knowledge must be shared or disseminated through civic participation in advancing scientific and research discovery to support the country's development.

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Kazembe, L., & Kangira, J. (2022). Editorial Commentary : Thinking globally and acting locally. Can research and science help?. Namibian Journal for Research, Science and Technology, 3(1), 1. https://doi.org/10.54421/njrst.v3i1.69

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