The Advantages and Disadvantages of Going Local

This week in our class discussions and reading assignments we talked going local. When people talk about buying/producing locally it is always seen as a good thing because it limits transportation costs and supports your local community. However, there can be some issues with it as well, as I learned in the “Local” article. If everyone went completely local, people would have to limit their fashion tastes to what can be sourced locally, which would make for fewer options in many places. The article also discussed not just buying/producing locally, but utilizing local artisans and craftspeople. Hiring these people would improve their working and social conditions. A disadvantage would be that they are slow to produce and artisan goods may not match with current trends. According to the article, when working with artisans, you need to be sure to be culturally sensitive to what they produce and how they produce it. Too often, western countries borrow motifs from other countries without letting the culture make and sell that motif themselves. So it would be beneficial for the artisans to be able to make that “cultural component” of the garment, and it would be beneficial to the company because they have a more authentic looking garment.

In the class discussion and the videos we watched, a few points stood out to me. “Less than 1% of cotton produced is organic”, this was shocking to me especially since I now know how damaging growing conventional cotton can be. You always hear about how genetically modified things are bad but apparently they can be a good thing because they can be modified to require less water for example. “70 % of synthetic chemicals have not been tested at all”; this was very disappointing to hear but not necessarily surprising given how unhealthy Americans are compared to other countries that test and outlaw harsh chemicals. However, my favorite quote was from the video about Nike, “If you move an inch or you move a mile, you’re still moving”. I think this quote can be applied to many things but as far as sustainability goes I have moved an inch this week myself. I bought a package of toilet paper that is “tube-less” (doesn’t have a cardboard roll in the center). On the packaging it says “…In the 45 minutes it takes to shop for groceries, nearly 1.5 million toilet paper tubes are thrown away in the U.S.” This toilet paper was actually a little cheaper than the tube kind, making it a no-brainer to purchase. Every little bit helps!

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