Living Local: The Best Things You Can Do for The Environment May Be Right in Your Backyard

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Today more and more people are looking for ways that they can positively impact the environment, while also reconnecting with the world around them and it has sparked a movement—a local movement. Millennials especially are challenging the fast-paced, convenience-driven age we find ourselves in today and are craving community and connection. It’s the reason why farmers markets and farm-to-table restaurants couldn’t be more popular, and the slow-simple life is gaining momentum. But how can you start to live more locally? It may be easier than you think.

#1 Shop Local

Choosing to support local handmade artisans in your area helps reduce the emissions and air pollution that comes with shipping consumer items like clothing and household goods all around the world. With so many of our products now being made in countries thousands of miles away from our homes, choosing to support local artisans in your region is a great way to protect the environment, while also bringing more connection back into the things we choose to own.

#2 Eat Local

The local “slow” food movement has taken off worldwide, and for good reason. Choosing to eat locally is not only better for our bodies but is also a great way to reduce our “food carbon footprint.” When we shop for our food in conventional grocery stores often times our food has traveled an average of 1500 miles before reaching our shopping baskets. However, when we buy locally for our food, we are usually purchasing within 200 miles of where our food was grown. This results in a huge reduction in transportation-related emissions and provides us with better tasting and more nutrient-dense food.

Supporting the local-food movement is also one of the best ways that we can protect our local environments from more development. When we shop locally for our food we are supporting local farmers who are working hard to preserve the land they farm, and the wildlife that calls it home.

#3 Travel Local

While traveling is an incredible way to see the world, we don’t always need to hop on a plane and travel long distances to have new and wonderful experiences. Next time you go to plan a vacation, see if there is somewhere more local (within 200 miles) that you could explore. If possible, try and use more eco-friendly transportation options like boats and trains for your travel and rent bikes for exploring rather than relying on a car.

The more you choose to shop, eat, and travel locally the more connected you will begin to feel with your local environment.  You can positively impact the world by simply choosing to be a more conscious, local consumer.

Megan Faletra (MS, MPH, RDN) is a global health dietitian, sustainability consultant, and the founder of The Well Essentials where she is devoted to helping others create a sustainable healthy life that supports a healthy body and planet. Megan is a self-proclaimed eternal optimist and believes in the power each and every person has to create incredible change on the world simply by choosing to believe that they can make a difference. Megan has a Master's of Public Health from Tufts University School of Medicine and a Master's of Science from Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition. She has been featured in Forbes, The Huffington Post, Rodales Organic Life, and many more online publications for her work in nutrition, global health, and sustainable living. When Megan is not working you will find her living in Vermont with her husband where she loves to cook seasonally from her garden, and be outside in nature as much as possible enjoying a joyfully slow, sustainable way of living.

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