We can help the environment and the Hampton Roads economy by choosing to shop local in 2014. Online shopping has exploded in recent years, which can sometimes save time or money. But with many online retailers now charging sales tax and shipping fees, the convenience of online shopping may not always result in cost savings. Shopping online is not usually your greenest option either. The fuel used to ship online products long distances by air or truck are usually more than the fuel we would use to shop locally. More fuel usage equals more air pollution and a much larger carbon footprint to accompany your spending habits.
Here are several reasons buying local is the way to go!
- Local businesses support local jobs and pay taxes that go into local services like schools, public safety, parks and recreations, etc. We need local businesses to keep Hampton Roads a vibrant and growing community!
- Local businesses make it more convenient to deal with warranty and service issues. There’s also no shipping cost and much less energy used if you decide to return an item.
- What you see, is what you get! No surprises when what you ordered online isn’t exactly what you were expecting.
- Local farmer’s markets support local farms – and you know the food will be fresh. Since it hasn’t been transported halfway around the world before making it to your plate, local foods are not only healthier for you, but healthier for our environment.
Independent We Stand, based in Virginia Beach, is a national organization of independent business owners which helps connect people with local businesses. This group estimates that if every family in the Hampton Roads area spent $10 a month with a local business instead of a national chain, over $51 million would be directly returned to the Hampton Roads community. That would be a pretty big boost to the local economy and would definitely reduce our carbon footprint by using less fuel and producing less air pollution.
I live in Norfolk and it has lots of great shopping areas – Downtown, Ghent, Janaf/Military Highway, Ocean View, and soon – a revitalized Wards Corner! Norfolk is all about – Life – Celebrated Daily. Let’s take that vision region-wide and celebrate the New Year by supporting our region by supporting local business. Visit Independent We Stand to connect with local businesses in your city today!
Karen Mayne is a biologist retired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who writes about environmental issues.