Think Local this Holiday Season

The holiday season is officially in full-swing. While this is a very joyous time of year for most, it is also not difficult to get overwhelmed in the hustle and bustle between attending and/or hosting various events and gatherings, and of course the duty of SHOPPING to find the best for those on your list this year. With all that goes on this time of year it can be easy to forget about our “green” habits and unfortunately studies show this to be the most wasteful time of year in the United States. We have a great article coming up next week on all you can do to help make it a sustainable season. But for today we’re going to focus on one aspect; keeping it local. If you’re finding it difficult to include multiple green items on your holiday to-do list, this is one great thing worth focussing on. Not only does buying local help reduce energy and resources required in shipping and transportation of products, but it also supports our local economy.

We are lucky in New York State to have so many great options available. Here are some gift suggestions right within the greater Rochester area:

Don’t forget to think outside of the box (the gift box that is) for other local options:

  • Consider giving the gift of Ecotourism. There are many places in the Finger Lakes and Adirondack Mountain regions worth visiting for the nature lover on your list.
  • Got a golf lover on your list? How about giving them lessons from a professional, like Rochester native PGA certified professional Michael Basch (call 585-737-7895 for lesson and package rates) or a certificate to play at one of the many local courses?
  • Try to look for local food sources to create the menu for your gatherings.

This last one can be an exciting challenge. Watch here to see how UR Dining combined their annual Local Foods Week with International Education Week by creating an international menu made from local ingredients. What an accomplishment!!

4 Replies to “Think Local this Holiday Season”

  1. Maybe we ought not buy Poinsettias. If we all shopped local, they’d never have made their way out of Mexico. The history of how it got here is interesting.

    And indeed, we are blessed in New York with all of its local abundance. But then what would we recommend someone from Eastern Wyoming do? Or from those places in Mexico where the Poinsettias came from?

  2. So, let’s just take one of your suggestions, that my centerpiece should come from Sara’s and not, say, someplace in Thailand – because of course someone in Thailand is so much richer than us and so worthy of cooperating with me that I should go out of my way to not patronize them.

    My home in Perinton is, by google maps, 30.9 miles to Sara’s in Brockport. So a single round-trip to get my centerpiece would take 61.8 miles and probably 90-120 minutes of one’s time. Even should you think my time is worth zero, what are the energy and transportation costs of even this single trip and how do they compare to having a plastic (or even fresh) centerpiece shipped all the way across the world and into the local Walmart which is less than 5 miles from my home? And much cheaper too?

    I would also appreciate seeing the large body of economic research that demonstrates that “buying local” helps the local economy and furthermore, an explanation for why minimizing transportation costs (if even it DOES this) is of any particular concern and not minimizing the total environmental impact of the production and consumption of a good? Please tell us why, when buying a new shirt, for example, I should focus exclusively on minimizing the cost of the extra buttons sewn on the inside of the shirt rather than on the cost of the shirt itself?

    Of course, it’s depressing that a time for celebration is turned into a time to be “disappointed” by the green community. Just how, exactly, is the link a “study” of how wasteful Christmas is? There is every reason to believe that by lumping a chunk of folks’ annual shopping and celebrating into a single time of year would actually be LESS wasteful than spreading it out over the entire year, if that were even something worth worrying about, which again posts like this do not make the case for. Please provide the evidence that “holidays are most wasteful” is somehow different than pointing to the tailpipe of a bus and showing that it’s locally higher emissions are more wasteful than all of the more efficient cars it takes off the road.

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