Sunday, 20 May 2007

Why LOCAL is the big idea for next year

Local living and shopping tackles two of the biggest accessible changes an individual can make to their carbon footprint. According to how you calculate it, flying is 20-34% of your carbon footprint (the 34% figure is from Lucy Siegle here and I did contact her to double check it). You probably knew it's a lot anyway. And the message is getting through eg

Independent: 18 May 2007
British families have traditionally flooded airport departure lounges every summer in an attempt to escape to sunnier climes. But research published yesterday suggests the trend has taken a downturn as holidaymakers prepare to take their holidays by car, motivated by the environmental impact of flying.

FT: 14 May 2007
(A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson) said evidence of European consumers taking trains as an alternative to flying was becoming more than just anecdotal. "Where there is a train alternative, customers are taking it. On long haul, customers want to know about offsetting their flights and how we can contribute in other ways."

What you may not have known is the relative impact of eating just one extra meal a week which is made from locally sourced seasonal food:

Annual estimated carbon saving :
Local grown, unprocessed food just once a week 2,268 kg
Hang clothes out to dry 635 kg
Wash your clothes in cold water 228 kg

That figure looks incredibly high, but someone did calculate it here

Which retailer will be first with a local farmers market style section called straight from the farm, with each product labelled with foodmiles and no product over 100? Someone might. Maybe someone should. Meanwhile the stampede to farmers markets, green grocers and local butchers, and box delivery may be set to continue.

If you add what you can do with your house, using local tradespeople, and also local sharing and freecycling schemes...

The thing is that today, we can live local and communicate global too.


erin said...

Brilliant. and i like the spin on sustainable marketing above. very forward-thinking and super smart. now if we just get more to people to DO instead of just talk (i think Leland mentioned that on his blog a few posts ago) then we're good to go.

i'm working on a freelance project for a local brewpub, and I'm going to borrow your support for local consuming and apply it to a missed opportunity for the brewery. old mind thinking is that: bigger is better eg nationwide is what i want v. local is where it's at.

John Grant said...

Hi Erin
Did you see my piece on local drinks too a while back

My favourite pub locally makes its own beer. It's all part of their authentic food thing, local, seasonal & etc. That idea is so now, but the microbrew on site thing had dwindled in London because it was really a bit of a gimmick (seeing the brewing aparatus etc)

I did read that craft beers, globally are the rising stars (the attempts to create a 'global beer brand' have never quite worked & are now receding)


fran said...

We all love local and SNCF have a great site where you can calculate the CO2 emissions of your journey by car, train or plane, as well as the cost and the time it will take - click ecocomparateur Great site for booking tickets too.

Local is great and so is trade for devleoping countries - so please don't blacklist beans from Kenya etc completely. While ecologically problematic, they provide vital income for small farmers across Africa, so have good social and economic credentials. So having had your fill of Brit root veg in the winter, don't feel too bad about spending a bit of your carbon allowance on an African kid's education.