What does Local really involve?

My life is busy, what an understatement. It’s a bit more like a train wreck with things piling up left and right as I stumble to figure out what to do next to make it through the semester. There seems to be way too much to do and not quite enough time to do it in, hmm…I wonder how that happened. I shrug and continue to slog through it knowing there’s got to be a way out. Of course retail therapy never hurts and as I found my way to the store I couldn’t help but fall in love with a new shirt and I had to buy it, because, why not? I’m sure I’m not the only one that has felt that way. At least, I can hope. As I’m used to doing I checked the tag on the shirt to look at the fiber content, which I always do thanks to my mom and my love for natural fibers and knitting, and also happened to notice the country it was produced in. The familiar words made in China pop up and I sigh, though it doesn’t stop me from purchasing the shirt I can’t help but feel uneasy. Why is it that America seems to think that we’re the best at everything but we’re still mass-producing in other countries half way across the world?

I know it’s really not likely that with the wave of a wand everything will all be locally grown and sold and that our society will be a Utopia any time soon, or ever. We have become so used to getting anything that we want whether we have to pay $30 shipping to get it from Hong Kong or not, so at this point no one is going to want to trade that for the much more limited variety in their local area. But my point is we better figure out a way for the future production to work a bit more locally than now.

All the taxes that we pay locally only go to local businesses, if we stop shopping locally then all the local businesses around us are going to fall apart in a matter of time. It’s not to say we shouldn’t purchase globally but if we could even out our purchases and make sure to keep giving tax money to local stores the future would be far less like a Wal-Mart and much more like a small quaint boutique. Which to be honest, who really enjoys their trips to Wal-Mart? I know there’s got to be a lot of people who dread going like I do.

Fletcher’s article about Local production and growth was not near as compelling as I could have hoped but the strong message that it discusses is clear. As Fletcher said, “a good local economy is one shaped from the inside,” is very beneficial and the information used to back up the point was logical. I definitely believe that learning more about local economies and how that ties in with sustainability is valuable and I was quite intrigued to learn more about it. Tax money and what it does for stores is never something I really considered until now, but it really makes sense to me now how the bigger stores who don’t pay state taxes are crushing small businesses and it makes me sad.

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