I am hoping for more readership of this blog now that Sustainable Glasgow has been introduced to the community through recent media coverage. In that hope, and in this entry, I wish to expand on the principles and philosophy thus far presented, particularly for those with a new interest or curiosity in this movement.
The local economic, quality, security, safety and health issues surrounding food are the initial focus of effort of this movement.That is appropriate, as there is nothing that touches our lives any more intimately than food. And we are well situated to make local food availability a reality.But the principles of sustainability and localism extend into almost everything in our lives: water, energy, transportation, education, communication, local commerce and industry, local restaurants-and even local live entertainment. These issues are all on the table to be addressed as we gather interest and momentum. So if your interest is piqued by one these issues,then get involved, join up, and stay tuned.
The principles we espouse are aimed at improving the quality of our community life by promoting local enterprise, thereby keeping dollars spent here in circulation in our local economy. The principle of local dollar multipliers takes effect: when you purchase from a locally owned business, the dollar you spend is very likely spent locally, then locally again, etc. and you see the multiplying effect. A dollar spent at a "big box" retailer (and you know who they are) is shipped out of this community so fast that it would make your head spin - and that dollar certainly will never again see light in Barren or surrounding counties.
Besides the purely economic aspect of localism, there is the issue ofquality of experience in our commerce. In a big box store, the total conversation is typically "paper or plastic?" or "credit or debit?" Compare that to the experience of a purchase at a locally owned business where relationship and service are a matter of pride. The most stark contrast is the supermarket shopping experience vs. the farmers' market experience. Shopping at a farmers' market is an enriching, conversational experience of great satisfaction and quality purchases - and highly recommended. I need not describe the shopping experience in a supermarket.
We have found through experience in this country that more is not always better, that quality is more important than quantity. Studies show that despite having bigger homes, more and bigger cars, and lots of "stuff" we are no happier than were people fifty years ago who had much less. So what is missing? I propose that it is a loss of sense of community and shared experience and sacrifice - a loss of authenticity. Consumerism as a lifestyle has failed us. We need strong communities, family, friends, neighbors, a personal quality and mutual trust in our commerce, and a pride in place.
This is not to suggest that we become insular. We should welcome all who come here and we should keep our minds open always to ideas for improvement. We should reach out to other communities and cultures and integrate the ideas that work for them to improve our lot. And we should certainly keep in mind that we are all united in this country by the priciples of our founding that have given us the opportunities to live free and make these choices. We can do all this without losing our uniqueness.
Our greatest opportunity to make the world and this country better is to make our little piece of it better. That is my hope for Glasgow and Barren County. That is the mission of Sustainable Glasgow.