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Carbon Footprint: Buying Local

Buying local produce isn't only a fun and healthy lifestyle choice, but serves as a stepping stone towards a sustainable lifestyle.

It seems like it might have been hard to reconcile getting a business degree while preaching less consumption and introducing friends to the wonder of thrift stores, but I’m not sure that there is so much of a rift between the two ideas.

Business, after all, is supposed to be about adding value. Where’s the value in an iPod that only lasts 18 months before it dies of natural causes?

So I spent college using repurposed van seats as couches, a desk that I built myself, and nearly all of my clothes were bought secondhand or made by students in the College of Art and Design.

I was in college when I met Lindsey, who would later become my wife. As a nutrition major, she was appalled at my diet. We moved in together and I discovered the majesty of the green market. Instead of eating mystery meat and frozen vegetables every night, she introduced me to seasonal vegetables and locally raised pork. Before long, my “Think Globally Act Locally” ideology had spread to the way that I ate.

Living a sustainable life doesn’t have to mean that you turn out lights at 9 p.m. and grow all of your own food, but actively making small changes about the way that you spend your money can make a big impact on your community.

Instead of upgrading your cell phone every 12 months just to be on the cutting edge, you might consider that your old Nokia works just fine. Rather than buying a shirt manufactured in Korea, you could take a trip to Brooklyn and find clothes made my local designers. Instead of purchasing ground beef at Gristedes, you can go the butcher and buy a piece of meat grown in New York and have it ground in front of you.

These changes seem small, but each of us buying locally supports our neighbors, the U.S. economy, and cuts the emissions related to slack manufacturing regulations and global transportation. As we each begin thinking with our wallets, local sustainability will come organically.

-Ben Carver

For a more in-depth look at sustainable eating check out Editor-in-Chief Ashley Wennersherron’s article in the features section of the Observer, out April 1!

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