Our Mission


Whenever I visit a new organization, I wonder about the people behind it.  Who are they?  What is their motivation?

What follows is a short story of my journey, and how this Local Future nonprofit organization was born.

Local Future is an attempt to help people to move together toward a positive future.  Given the realities of energy and other resource constraints, it is reasonable to conclude that this future will be much more local, no matter what we may or may not desire.

The transition between the current globalized economic system and a more local future will likely occupy most of our lives.  It is a great challenge, and a great opportunity for advancement.

We can work together, at the local level, to transform an unsustainable global culture into sustainable local cultures.

The idea for Local Future originated over a decade ago.

My first major learning step was when I read the book "Animal Liberation" by Peter Singer.  I was surprised and shocked that animals suffered as a common feature of the modern global culture.  I was even more concerned as I viewed myself as part problem and that in my ignorance, I was doing things that supported this suffering.  I choose to end my monetary support for the animal agriculture industry by adopting a vegan lifestyle and instead supporting only plant based foods and products.  While this surprised some, it was the only way I could reconcile my new perception of the direct link between the suffering of animals in factory farms, and my purchase and consumption of the resulting animal products.

This change marked an epiphany in my view of the world, as I had always thought that the press and education system would inform me of such features of this modern global culture.  I felt my eyes opening, and I began to see that what was reported in the press was very different from the reality.

The second major step in my awakening was my car accident.  I was a passenger, the car was cruising down the freeway, and the next minute, after hitting a patch of black ice, we were rolling sideways down the road at 75 miles per hour.  For a few seconds, I could see my life had come to an end.  My perspective suddenly changed.  I realized that my life up to that point was unremarkable and my legacy was, at best, minimal.  I thought to myself, "I had better get cracking, because this life thing is pretty fragile".  To my great surprise, I walked away from the wreck with only a few scrapes and bruises; and with a new perspective on life.

The third big event occurred while driving on a long, lonely, quite drive home in the summer of 2005.  I began thinking about gasoline prices, and how the rising prices disproportionately impacted those with less money, especially the parents of my students in school.  I did some Internet research, and learning about peak oil for the very first time.  It was like "Animal Liberation" all over again.  I was shocked.  Here was another huge major truth about the world, something I thought that everyone should know about, understand, and be doing something about, and yet it was totally unknown to me and anyone around me.

In the years that followed, I studied and wrote about peak oil using the Wikipedia under my Americanus account.  I studied books on peak oil including the mainstream titles: "The Party's Over" and "The Long Emergency".  I attended conferences including the U.S. Conference on Peak Oil and Community Solutions and the ASPO-USA World Oil Conference.  I organized film screenings on peak oil and designed a custom audio-visual presentation to share my understanding of peak oil and its implications.  I tried raising the alarm in different ways, such as in July of 2006, when I delivered a 2-minute presentation to 10,000 fellow educators at the National Education Association's annual meeting.  I soon developed a new presentation integrating the themes of peak oil, climate change, globalization, animal welfare and a sustainable value system.

On the Internet, I continued writing and publishing.  My Xanga blog, Michigan Teacher, was the home for articles tailored for teenagers.  I used social bookmarking tool Del.icio.us to keep track of useful web pages.  I published videos to YouTube and Google Video underNew Culture, based on my  2006 talk.  I published various items to the Energy Bulletin, a site of compiled news on peak oil and sustainability topics.  I then designed the first version of this web site, to help flesh out the concepts of an organizational path to local community sustainability.

Many of my early writings are published on Live Journal at Value System.  There, I detailed personal struggles with understanding the complexities of peak oil, economics, culture, and the big ideas on what people can all do.

After a year speaking hiatus due to various leadership commitments, the Local Future nonprofit organization officially launched in January 2008 with a flagship film event, and I soon directed it's first major event, the "International Conference on Peak Oil and Climate Change: Paths to Sustainability".

Albert Bates and Thaddeus Owen agreed to join me as directors of Local Future.  Albert lives in an intentional community (The Farm) and has been on this road towards the local future for years.  Thaddeus was also already on this journey and was working to create sustainable models in his community.

Over the following years, and with the help of many dedicated and volunteer friends, Local Future organized dozens of events, including major annual conferences, to bring together visionaries, activists, and leaders in the quest to achieve a more positive future for the world.

Now, I look back on my actions and those of Local Future, and feel that my legacy is of greater significance.  The conferences and events have succeeded in educating many to the issues, challenges, and possible solutions, while connecting people together to better continue in their own work.  The Local Future youtube channel features hours and hours of unique, outstanding, and exclusive content, which has provided education, idea, and inspiration to hundreds of thousands.   This all inspires me to continue doing what I can to help make the future a better place for my sons, for humanity, and for the community of life of planet Earth.

As I write this revision in August 2010, I'm currently in study of the global economic, monetary, banking, and finance system, which appears to be in a state of crisis.  I have updated a list of my study materials on my personal web page at AaronWissner.com.  You may find this of interest, as this area of study is not one with which most people are familiar.

Thank you for learning about my journey and the origins of Local Future.  I hope you enjoy this site and the associated materials, and invite you to join with the millions of others who have changed minds, and are working towards a better, positive future for all.

Aaron Wissner
Founder & President
Local Future

P.S.  If you would like to read my writing, watch my videos, or email me, see below:

  • Articles: Value System: Energy, Economy, Environment and the Future - Most of my written reflections on my study are here, along with occasional additional pieces.
  • Videos New Culture: The Local Future Network - Here are hours of interesting videos from various presentations regarding energy, economy, environment, and the local future.
  • Social Networking:  A small group of friends and I are working to help me move forward with this work.  When we find an excellent link or essential information, we post it at the Local Future page on Facebook. I invite you to join us there.
  • Email aaron@localfuture.org - I read all emails, but often fall behind on responding, due to commitments of home, school, self and work.