By Roman Mukendi, AMIBA Resilient Local Economies Intern
Apart from boosting the local economy, choosing to buy products within your community is key to protecting our environment from the devastating effects of climate change. Transportation is a major contributor of greenhouse gases, especially carbon-dioxide emissions. Transportation accounts for nearly one-quarter of global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.
The net effect is that as greenhouse gas concentrations rise, so does the temperature. As we’re now witnessing in Canada and the US, with high temperatures, wildfires start more easily and spread more rapidly[i]. What damages our local communities is that higher temperatures increase heat-related illnesses and make working outdoors more difficult. This, in turn, cripples our local business ecosystem.
The good news is that locally owned businesses make more local purchases, requiring less transportation. These businesses tend to set up shop in town or city centers, meaning there’s generally less sprawl, congestion, and habitat loss. Independent businesses often purchase their supplies from other local businesses, cutting down on shipping and, as a result, benefitting the environment. Products you purchase from large chain stores are generally produced outside your local community, often shipped halfway across the globe. Such shipping leads to greater fuel consumption and air pollution[ii].
In addition, by buying local food from local farmers, you are also contributing to environmental protection. As farmers generate more income, evidence suggests they can make more investments and preserve their land for future farmers. If, instead, their land is redeveloped for industrial or commercial uses, these uses would, arguably, release significantly more greenhouse gas emissions than farming does and would further eliminate habitats for the wildlife living in the local area[iii]. Choose Indie Local for a just and sustainable future.
[i] United Nations. Website – https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/science/causes-effects-climate-change#:~:text=Fossil%20fuels%20%E2%80%93%20coal%2C%20oil%20and,they%20trap%20the%20sun’s%20h. Accessed 06/10/2023
[ii] Illinois Times. Website – https://www.illinoistimes.com/springfield/buying-local-benefits-the-environment-too/Content?oid=11453481. Accessed 06/11/2023
[iii] University of Waterloo. Website – https://uwaterloo.ca/food-services/blog/post/how-can-buying-locally-benefit-environment. Accessed 06/11/2023