How Does Climate Change Relate to Retail?

Blog post by Seacoast Eat Local Intern, Samantha

There is no doubt that cities around the world produce a high volume of global CO2 emissions. This is why many cities around the world are adapting to new ways of living that help out the world’s environment. Many of the nation’s states are aiming for renewable energy sources by 2040. The cities on the west coast are aiming for zero-emission transportation. Some cities are planting millions of trees while others are retrofitting skyscrapers. However, they need to go deeper than what is directly happening in the city. Tackling emissions from products made around the world, from food to clothes and mobile phones, that end up in our homes and communities is a significant issue. This is how climate change can associate with shopping habits.

Bananas are grown, harvested, and dispatched in Guatemala. Then, they are packaged and transported to the loading port where they cross the ocean with a ship that runs on unclean fuel to an unloading port. Next, the bananas are transported to a ripening facility and placed in environmental conditions that get them ripe within five days, which drastically alters their nutritional makeup. After they achieve the ideal ripeness, they get in an 18-wheeler truck that runs on diesel across the nation. The individual who buys a bunch of bananas from a nearby grocery store in New Hampshire is partially responsible for that very long carbon footprint, simply by making the choice to purchase bananas.

This is why local is best. It reduces one’s carbon footprint outside of the city in which they live. Local farmers’ markets, farm stands, and CSAs are a great way to support the food that is grown by farmers just miles away from your house. Also, thrift shops are a good way to reduce your dependence on newly manufactured products from around the world by reusing items people don’t want anymore. As a kid, many people hated getting their siblings’ hand-me-downs, but this is actually a great way to reduce a family’s carbon footprint and support locally owned “second-hand shops.” Where can you and your family cut down on your carbon footprint associated with shopping and spending?

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