go green and buy local santa cruz
March 2019

Green Family Living: Going Local

By Suki Wessling

I find it works best, when scolding people, to start with oneself. So what follows is a public scolding of myself, by me.

First, look at the photo. What do you see?

One large cardboard box made of recycled wood fibers (Resource use: moderate. Energy use: high.)

One large sheet of heavy duty packing paper probably made of virgin wood fibers (Resource use: high. Energy use: high.)

go green and buy local santa cruz
Photo by Suki Wessling. OUT, OUT DAMN CLICK it seems so easy to order something and have it dropped on your door. But the environmental expense of packing and shipping adds up.

Two sheets of bubble wrap (Resource use: high and non-sustainable. Energy use: high.)

Not pictured: The big truck that delivered it. (Energy use: moderate— it was driving by my house anyway.)

In front, you see the two tiny bottles that were the happy travelers in all that packaging.

Why did I take the picture? Well, I am ashamed to say, I arrived home from a trip to my local shopping center, which boasts a fine natural foods store with a good supplement shop, to find that box on my doorstep. A few days before, in a fit of laziness, I ordered, with a click, a product I know for a fact that my natural foods store carries.

Why did I do that?

I was afraid I’d forget the next time I was in that shopping center. Solution: create a calendar reminder on my phone. Energy use: negligible

I knew I’d have to search their crowded shelves and it might be hard to find. Solution: ask one of their fine employees to help. Energy use: none.

It seemed like a pain to go out. Solution: I’m in that shopping center all the time. Energy use: none.

This item is cheaper online, but… My local shop is a worthy investment. It employs local people (who are really nice, by the way), it’s always there for me when I need something in a pinch, and if it went away, I’d be spending lots more time, energy, and money to drive to the next nearest shop.

So now that I’ve achieved this public flagellation, I ask you readers: What can you do to curb your “click it and forget about it” habits? How can you integrate local shopping into your day enough to be feasible? What do you buy online that you could pay a bit more for locally while supporting local stores, local people, and our local services that are supported by taxes?

Let’s all commit to living green and keeping it local whenever possible.

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