There's a lot of great information in this post and I encourage you to read through it ... however, if you don't have the time right now, you might find the following quick links helpful:
Last week we investigated local shopping. Rather than shop at one of the big "box" stores, we searched out neighborhood merchants for our purchases. In my area, small businesses have suffered in recent years ... it's sad to see these establishments close their doors ... sadder still to see large, national "chains" move in. Frequenting independent merchants helps our economy by keeping the money in our community. It also helps the environment because the items we purchase don't travel long distances to get to our homes. I should say, however, that not all independent shops are created equal ... if a small business imports all of it's merchandise from the other side of the world, then is it really local? In my opinion, it isn't. So along with searching out local merchants, we must also learn about the products they sell. Ideally we'll find people who sell items which were produced nearby.
The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments. Here's what they had to say:
CelloMom stopped in and shared this, " I have a suspicion (or maybe wishful thinking) that the era of the chain is ending. The reason we like chains is that even though we're far from home, we know exactly what to expect when we pull into a McDonald's or a Wendy's - even if the expectation may be low. But with the advent of review sites like yelp, and the rise of mobile connectivity, we can look up what restaurants people are enthousiastic about, even when we're travelling. So we don't have to rely on the chains any more. There's nothing more satisfying than discovering a gem of an eatery, no matter where you are! Same for hardware stores, clothing stores, and all the rest!" Totally agree, CelloMom!
Mrs. Green had fun with this challenge. And she has quite a few local opportunities. Check out Supporting local business to read all about it!
Alicia accepted the challenge and had this to say, "We just had new tires put on our car at a local shop, I got some beautiful jewelry from a local shop in Nashville this past week.When we eat out we like to find good local restaurants to go to and we get our hair cut at local salons.I love buying veggies at the local Farmers markets and produce stores.Whats great is we save money as well. A good example is that I got some beautiful Kale this week at the local produce market for only 99 cents a bunch. I had seen it a few days earlier at the grocery for $1.89 a bunch and it was really limp looking! Cheaper and fresher from the local market! There is a local company making and selling fresh tortilla chips that I just found out about so I will be checking them out soon." Alicia also wrote a wonderful article entitled I Have A Challenge For You! Check it out ... she even includes pictures of some her local favorites.
EcoGrrl joined in the fun and had this to say, "Love this - almost think this should be a once-a-month challenge! Local is soooo important!! Today I had breakfast at a local coffeehouse where all of the furnishing came from salvaged wood and found objects & they use local CSAs for their produce and organic, locally-roasted coffees & ingredients in their baked goods. For lunch with a client I walked across the street to my local cafe who serves locally roasted coffee that's delivered by bike (Trailhead Roasters) and has a beautiful garden out front for customers to sit in (yes it's actually still in the 50's here, gorgeous fall day!). A tidbit I also learned, speaking of local and repurposing, is that my client, who heats her home with wood and is always searching for salvage wood to use for this, found that the local port will sell the equivalent of a cord of wood for about $50 - they use this beautiful, untreated wood on cargo ships and then dump it, and PDX'ers got wise and they now sell it to them for next to nothing! Cool huh."
Rewinn lives in the Seattle area ... a large metropolitan city. It is, like many large cities, full of national chains conveniently located in most neighborhoods. So how easy was it for Rewinn to shop local? Find out in White Center Home of Local Independent Food! #CTWW.
In Footprints, Cleaner Planet Soap Nuts talks about local products with high environmental impacts versus low-impact products which come from across the world. It's an interesting discussion ... how do you feel about it?
As it happened, Argentum Vulgaris (AV) planned to make a big purchase this week ... a digital camera. So ... was he able to keep it local? Find out HERE. AV also upped the anti on this challenge and asked us to not only shop local but avoid all franchises (there goes that Starbucks latte).
I'd like to welcome Lois to our challenges! Here's what she had to say, " I am new here, but love this challenge. I buy local quite a bit, although this week there is nothing I need. I live in a small town where I shop at a local consignment store, thrift store which is run by a church and proceeds go to buy school supplies and socks and underwear for low income families each fall. There is a farming community around as well, so all my eggs, cheese, honey, bison meat (for family get togethers) is bought locally. We also have two local potters, jewelry artisans, and alpaca farm where I can buy the wool or already made clothing items. When we aren't getting all our books from the library we use the locally owned book store, when we want a treat we head to the bagel shop for a bagel and bowl of soup. There is so much here to allow me to live locally that the only time I stop at a chain store it is my grocery store, which is a locally owned franchise, but still a chain." By the way, Living Simply Free is a fascinating blog ... Lois talks about living in a small space (300 square feet). Check it out!
Clare accepted the challenge and shared this, "I love this week's challenge! I rarely eat in chains as I don't buy fast food, and there aren't very many chains where I live, luckily. However, remember that some franchises are owned by local people, running a business just like other local people. Of course a chunk of the profit goes to the multi-national so I agree with the challenge, but I'm just saying there is a local element too - well, there is on my little tropical island at least. My article this week covers last week's AND this week's challenge - how to make your holiday travel eco friendly, and what to eat when you get there. http://www.ecofriendlylink.com/blog/ecofriendlytravel. Thanks for another great challenge!"
Fat hairy imps, Chinese made televisions and draft dodging multi-billionaires. Ahh ... you know you want to read No Box Stores For Me, Thank You by Scott.
Our Twitter friends joined the conversation this week:
- The same local hairdresser has done my hair for years! I Use a fab local butcher & try to use market for fruit & veg
- 10 Reasons to Shop Local: http://localfoods.about.com/od/finduselocalfoods/u/BuyLocal.htm
- How Cash Mobs Can Teach People to Shop Local: http://ruraltourismmarketing.com/2012/07/how-cash-mobs-can-teach-people-to-shop-local/
- Buy Local | Shop Local | Independent We Stand
- The Different Ways to Shop on Etsy...Shop Locally: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/the-different-ways-to-shop-on-etsy.html
- This weeks #CTWW is to buy local! I know I can do better! Planning a visit to the local farmers market this saturday
- I shopped a blender second hand online this week @ blocket.se, also stopped by at a small independent cafÃ©
The #CTWW Gang are those folks who share our challenges on twitter using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I highly recommend following them ... they have a lot of great things to say. Let's meet them:
My Final Thoughts:
One of my favorite activities when traveling is to search out small, independent merchants. Meeting the people of the area and browsing locally produced items is a great way to get a sense of the culture ... to learn about the people and their history. And, of course, it's always been fun to bring back a special, unique item which can't be found "at home". In recent years, though, we've noticed a change ... the world is becoming homogenized. These days, no matter where you go in the world, you're likely to find the same stores and the same products. Unfortunately, large franchises and "chain stores" squeeze out independent merchants because, let's face it, they can make a lot of stuff cheaply at a centralized location. We know that this is bad for the environment and bad for the economy. But here's another thought ... when the demand for local goods disappears, so does cultural heritage. When we opt for the convenience of a "box store" we lose something ... we lose the unique skills and abilities which make us who we are. I think that it's too high of a price to pay.
Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I have Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share feature at the bottom of this post.
This Week's Challenge:
SPECIAL NOTE: This will be our last challenge of the year. Next week we'll do a wrap up and then Reduce Footprints will be on hiatus until mid-January. WhooHoo!
Let's get back to basics and focus on reducing, which is the first rule in the "Reduce, Reuse & Recycle" trio. Here you go ...
This week reduce! For example, reduce the length of your showers or the amount of time the TV or computers are on. Reduce the amount of food you cook (and eat) or reduce the energy used to cook food (try raw foods or energy-efficient counter-top cooking devices). Perhaps you can reduce the amount of garbage your family generates ... and even reduce the need to recycle. Reduce the number of miles you drive or the number of trips you typically make in a week. Try turning off the lights for an extra hour this week or adjusting the thermostat by a degree. The idea with this challenge is to take at least one activity and make it more Eco-friendly by reducing.
Since we all have an impact and can do a little something to reduce, we don't have a second level.
Since we all have an impact and can do a little something to reduce, we don't have a second level.
What do you think ... can you do one less thing to help the earth?
Until next time ...
WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!