We have done it. We have reached the twelfth and final step of the "How & Why to Buy Local" 12 step program. The entire year of 2012 has been dedicated to breaking down the process into 12 relatively simple steps that can put you on the path to being a more conscious and aware consumer. We have discussed Increasing our Knowledge, Understanding Necessity, Defining Your Region, Familiarizing Yourself with Local Businesses, Boycotting Box Stores, Chain Retailers & Restaurants, Buying Less Stuff, Finding a Local Farmers' Market, Re-purposing, Reusing & Recycling, Getting Out in Your Community, Getting Involved, and Voting with Your Dollar. All of these have brought us to this final step, the journey comes full circle right now. We have to share our knowledge, and all that we have learned this past year, with others so that they may begin their journey.
Share your journey with your friends, family and coworkers. If you score a great find on freecycle, tell people about it, and encourage them to sign up as well. If you have switched your shopping habits to local businesses, share your experience with family and friends. When asked where to get a certain product, suggest local businesses that you know of first. Invite a friend to the farmers' market with you, encourage them to buy a veggie they have never tried, introduce them to any of the farmers you know.
Creating a dialogue and opening the lines of communication are instrumental in sharing this knowledge with others. Explain the concept of voting with your dollar. The most important tool we can give others is to educate them - they will take the lesson and apply it in their life as they see fit.
With the holiday season upon us, I charge you all with the task of sharing this knowledge, the 12 Steps to Buying Local, with everyone and anyone that will listen to you. We are consumers, just like every other species on the planet, but unlike them, we produce massive amounts of waste. Each American leaves 1600 pounds of waste in their wake every year. That waste sits and lingers, poisons are soil and water, leaches toxins into the air, and clutters about our natural environment. A lot of that waste is in packaging. Think on this this holiday season, share that number with your friends, family, and coworkers and encourage them to modify their shopping habits.
Every person counts, every act matters, no matter how big or small.
You can buy The Maine Conscious Consumer at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I recognize the irony of selling my book at those large retailers, but until people read it and bring it to the attention of local book stores and library's, this is a necessary evil. I also have copies on hand, for anyone looking to get one signed. Message me at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.