Think Global, Act Local

Happy Earth Day! I’m sure I’m just one of thousands of bloggers posting my tips & ideas how to save the earth. But many of the tips I’ve read so far are things my family has been doing for years. Recycling, turning off lights, car-pooling, ditching plastic bottles for stainless steel & plastic bags for reusable. There, I’ve stated the obvious. Now… what is MY favorite tip to “save the earth”?
Support your local businesses, restaurants & farmers!

When you dine locally, you are helping the environment in more ways than one. Certain ingredients in the food you may get at Applebees, for example, may have had to travel over 1500 miles just to get to that particular restaurant. Many local restaurants support local farmers. This means the food is going to be fresher and healthier (no need for preservatives); avoiding a substantial amount of gas & emissions from being dumped into the atmosphere.

Many local businesses here in Grand Rapids are either starting out green, or converting to green, reducing their carbon footprint. A couple of notable restaurants: the Green Well & Bistro Bella Vita are now offering a “lights out happy hour” daily. The Gilmore Collection of restaurants is reducing their carbon footprint this weekend by turning off the lights, serving sustainable food & beverage by candlelight & featuring only non-amplified live music. Here is a list of LEED certified, green businesses in my neck of the woods. Support the ones in your neighborhood!

One other thought to consider when deciding between shopping at Toys R Us or that adorable local toy store you love: by supporting local businesses, you are keeping the money in your community. In this economy, that’s a big deal. I have also noticed that the products & service tends to be better at locally owned businesses. Workers seem happier, and you occasionally deal with the owners themselves. Many of these neighborhood gems are more accepting of my children in their establishment. That is an important feature for this Momma, whose children are unpredictable when we take them out.

My family makes it a goal to support the local shops, restaurants & breweries in our community as often as possible. Sure, we visit chain restaurants & stores like Target on occasion – we’re not perfect, and sometimes, let’s face it: convenience wins.

How do you plan to celebrate today? My family is planting a tree this evening. All four of us are very excited. This is the first year my oldest is showing interest in learning about what this day means, and how she can help the earth. I believe Earth Day is important to celebrate with your children every day. After all, they are the reason we are doing what we can to protect our planet & everything on it. 

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