Shopping locally reduces carbon footprint

How Does Shopping Locally Reduce Your Carbon Footprint?

When you think of how to save the planet, recycling and switching to solar energy may be two of the first things to come to mind. However, shopping locally can have every bit as big of an impact on the environment, but it remains a factor many overlook in daily decision-making.

Shopping locally reduces carbon footprint

Doing so means more than simply visiting the nearest store — it entails mindfully selecting products grown or manufactured in your region. The environmental benefits of shopping locally include reducing air, water and land pollution, while encouraging infrastructure changes that support human health, thriving communities and enhanced well-being for all who live there. Take a closer look at the perks:

1. Reduced Transportation Needs

Transporting goods over long distances creates considerable emissions. While many governments have enacted stricter standards, relying on technological advances to make the process greener isn’t enough. For example, tougher air pollution standards have sometimes led to other problems, such as cargo ship scrubbers sending sulfur waste into the sea instead of the air.

While advances like alternative fuel vehicles and improved route planning somewhat cut emissions, nothing comes close to shopping locally to reduce overall environmental harm. The less time a product spends on a plane, train or automobile, the lower its overall carbon footprint.

2. Less Packaging Waste

While putting apples and bananas in extra packaging for transport seems wasteful, the reality is critters can get into cargo holds, contaminating entire loads. Conversely, a bushel of tomatoes trucked in from a local farm requires no such superfluous protection.

Here’s an example of how shopping locally works in action. Say you plan to get married in the next few months. Coordinating with your caterer to source your menu items from a nearby farmers’ market provides your guests with fresher, tastier seasonal fare while reducing the environmental impact of your gathering.

3. Encourage Local Green Spaces

The modern urban landscape could be a contributing factor to soaring physical and mental disease rates. Spending time outdoors has benefits from boosting immunity to mood, but where are millions of people surrounded by nothing but concrete and neon signs to go?

Shopping locally encourages local green spaces because farmers need such areas to produce crops. Furthermore, neighborhood stores attract far more traffic when urban planners include wide pedestrian walkways lined with trees, inviting walkers and bikers to step inside shops.

4. Promote Seasonal Eating 

Nature moves in cycles. Even humans do, as many women notice changes in their menstrual cycle between winter and summer. Once upon a time, people naturally ate seasonal foods to provide the health perks they needed to deal with annual changes. Shopping locally promotes a return to such eating, as consuming what grows nearby means various items come into season at different times.

5. Exercise Greater Oversight and Reward Sustainable Practices 

How much oversight do you have over how large corporations operate? If you said, “none at all,” you’re not alone. However, you have far more influence over small, local establishments where customer concerns often receive immediate attention.

Furthermore, patronizing small local brands that adopt sustainable practices rewards them for their eco-friendliness and helps them thrive. It’s voting with your dollars at its finest, as you see the immediate impact.

Other Perks of Shopping Locally Besides Protecting the Planet

The benefits of shopping locally extend beyond environmental benefits. Here are four other perks to consider:

1. Build a Stronger Sense of Community

Loneliness is a modern epidemic with serious health implications. Shopping locally builds connections with your neighbors, helping you feel a part of a community.

2. Support the Local Economy 

Do folks near you have to drive long distances for jobs that pay well enough? Supporting local businesses creates better-paying opportunities closer to home.

3. Fight Against Monopolies  

Loosening federal regulations has led to monopolies that create inflationary forces. Did you know four corporations control 40% of the grocery market? To make matters worse, recent proposed mergers threaten to drive prices up even further, giving consumers no choice in some regions. Shopping locally does your part in the fight against monopolies and their firm grip on the price you pay for the necessities of life.

4. Get to Know Your Local Region

Finally, shopping locally lets you see more of your nearby region. It’s easy to grow jaded, but when you explore through the eyes of a tourist — pretending you have no idea what’s there and seeing what you find — you often discover hidden treasures you never knew existed. Your favorite cozy bookstore and coffee shop could be right around that corner you haven’t turned yet. 

Shop Local to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Shopping locally means consciously slowing down and mindfully choosing products grown and manufactured near you. Anything from patronizing your area farmers’ market to shopping at local stores for necessities makes an environmental difference. 

The environmental benefits of shopping locally are only a small part of the perks you reap from keeping your purchases close to home. You also build a stronger community and combat the forces making you weep at the size of your grocery bill.

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