The popularity of green initiatives exploded from the fringe efforts of crunchy hippies to the mega-million marketing strategies of multinational companies. Local is yet another buzzword that has gained traction in recent years; however, making a concerted effort to live a local life creates a sound green standard while having the added benefit of connecting us to the communities where we live. Entrenching ourselves within a few square miles used to be the common standard of living before innovations in transportation and the advancement in the country’s freeways made it easy to spread ourselves thin.
When we return to our neighborhoods and opt to live a local life we develop more confidence in the space we inhabit, the choices we make, and the things we buy. We are not subject to the whims of a national marketing fashions but rather depend on the efforts and tastes of our community to inform our responsible shopping choices.
Live close to work, and everything else.
Aim to live close to your place of employment. If walking distance isn’t an available option, at least try for cycling distance. Cutting down the commute not only cuts down on carbon footprints, it also invests us in the communities where we work. In the now standard city/suburb model, workers swell into urban areas during the work day and then commute half an hour to an hour to get home ostensibly straddling between the two polluting the air and alienating ourselves from our neighborhoods along the way.
Finding work closer to home or moving closer to work allows workers to become invested residents. When your co-workers are also your neighbors there is stronger common ground to make great choices for our communities.
Spend money locally.
Flexing your dollars locally means putting a dent in the shipping industry. Knowing local shop owners means we directly influence their buying decisions and encourage them to purchase products that don’t need to be trekked across country in semis spewing exhaust. Supporting local farms and CSAs is are a great way to keep connected to your food and see where it really comes from. Likewise we keep our money in our community and generate local revenue by supporting business from the neighborhood.
Build the power of our communities.
When we know each other we are better able to provide support to each other. This includes pooling resources and influence to get more energy efficiency in our area and find better rates on utilities with the help of SaveOnEnergy.com and other energy resources. Likewise we are able to encourage less waste, more recycling, and neighborhood improvements by simply communicating more with our neighbors.
Utilizing neighborhood gardens allows us to crop share on an intimate level and reduce our reliance on imported foods. Park beautification efforts keep our neighborhoods livable and beautiful. Neighborhoods are also able innovate and invest collectively in solar or wind power initiatives that are eco-positive and also bring income to the community.
Ultimately living locally creates a whole and focused existence that reduces reliance on shipping and investing in faceless corporations. By living locally we maintain control and wisdom about our environment, our neighborhoods, and the products we buy. Creating a local life might be simple and old-fashioned, but it is also an elegant way to jump on the green bandwagon without getting run over by mixed messages.
What do you do to live locally?