Have you ever heard the expression ‘the global is local’? It refers to the way in which processes of globalisation have effectively shrunk the world around us, breaking down the barriers between countries and allowing instantaneous communication across multiple continents at a time. This means that products can travel great distances over a short time, making exotic products arrive at our doorstep in a matter of days, available at the click of a button.
While of course these innovations are incredible, allowing us to interact with distant cultures, try new foods and, best of all, get access to great products at rock bottom prices, globalisation comes at a price. It has placed unprecedented market power and capital in the hands of enormous international conglomerates like Amazon and Walmart, who tend to rely heavily on imports from China and other countries with low cost production. These companies bring us cheap stuff in a convenient way but they viciously price out our local traders, closing down many local businesses. Our local food producers, manufacturers and independent restaurant owners are really feeling the squeeze of the current economic downturn brought on by COVID 19 whilst their big chain competitors remain virtually immune.
But, as well as supporting your neighbourhood businesses for an ethical reason, there are plenty of other benefits to keeping it local. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Reducing your carbon footprint
First and foremost, consuming local goods and services isn’t just great for your town’s economy; it makes a big difference to the environment. Sure, buying a Japanese washing machine on Amazon might save a bit of money, but such goods have to be shipped halfway across the world just for you. This contributes significantly to the greenhouse effect with all the haulage involved while container ships pollute ocean water with harmful chemicals. You can avoid all this environmental damage and reduce your carbon footprint simply by buying products from your local suppliers. It might well cost slightly more but you are helping support local businesses and the planet all in one go! Is that not exciting?
Local people know local issues
Buying local does not merely refer to physical goods but to services as well. While, these days, real estate services and legal representation can all be found on the internet, local providers will have a far stronger understanding of local factors than someone on the other end of a chat room! So if you are in Tucson, look for local Tucson lawyers. In Ridgewood, look for a Ridgewood realtor or in Scottsdale, search for a Scottsdale insurance provider. You will most likely get a more personal touch and a more effective service.
Taste the freshness
Of course, many people know the advantages of local produce. It is fresh, more sustainably sourced and probably tastes better. Whereas the big supermarket chains and fast food ‘restaurants’ get their ingredients from enormous, centralised distribution centers and store it in industrial freezers, local produce is from around the corner. It is less uniformly shaped and, unlike lots of the stuff that comes in from far away, not pumped full of hormones and preservatives.
So choose local restaurants over McDonald’s, shop at your local store rather than drive to the big out-of-town Walmart and seek local representation for legal issues. The price difference is minimal when you consider the gulf in quality.