Youth Blog Series: Local Economy

Be the Change’s Youth Blog Series highlights blogs written by university student interns at Be the Change Earth Alliance. In the blogs, the interns reflect on their experience completing “Action Packs,” which are learning resources that guide students in research, critical thinking and tangible action related to a global sustainability topic.

Summary of the Action Pack

In this Action Pack, students get the chance to learn about the unsustainable materials economy model, the negative impacts of big-box retailers, and the benefits of supporting local businesses. Research has shown that big box retailers such as Walmart or Costco, tend to force other smaller businesses to close their doors due to loss of business. This threatens the livelihoods of local entrepreneurs and can impact the vitality and character of a neighborhood or town. This Action Pack highlights the importance of supporting locally owned businesses, and students will discover eco-friendly business alternatives that address climate change and economic insecurity. At the same time, the Action Pack questions our daily consumption choices and asks students to brainstorm and discuss the costs and benefits of taking alternative actions. Students can take on actions like offering to buy household fruits and vegetables at a local farmer’s market , or make a personal commitment to not do any shopping at a big box retailer for six months. This Action Pack centers around the topics of sustainable business models and the impacts of big-box retailers. 

My Reflection

After completing this Action Pack, I became conscious of the things I buy and where they come from. I began to shop for groceries at local markets rather than big super markets. Going to these small market places showed me that there are still many people who shop locally for produce. It is still nice to know that small businesses can thrive in today's society (although Covid-19 is creating new challenges). With the groceries I purchased from the local vendors, I made lunches to take to work and school. By doing this, I was able to save money while knowing I supported small businesses. 

While taking action, I learned a lot about how small actions can cause bigger change when done as a collective. It is easy to brush off doing small things, thinking not much will come out of my actions. But when many people work together, the results can cause a great change in the world.