The Habit of Supporting Local and Sustainable Businesses


  The Habit of Supporting Local and Sustainable Businesses

The 20th century is ending, and so are its values. Many "modern" people believe that it is necessary to consume as much as possible, without any thought for the environment or the quality of what you buy. The environmental and social tolls of this behaviour are inestimable. If you want to do your bit to preserve a healthy world for future generations, start by changing your shopping habits from now on.

If you live in an area where there exists a grocery store chain like Trader Joe's, start buying some products from them; they're devoted to sustainability and buy many of their goods from local companies. If you do, it's not uncommon to find that these local products are actually better than their national competitors. For example, Trader Joe's has an amazing gourmet chocolate bar that doesn't have any of the additives and preservatives found in other chocolate bars - it's so good I eat them like they're going out of fashion. Buy something locally or regionally grown, produced and sold; try your best to support your local economy by buying from people who live down the road rather than a faceless multinational corporation whose profits pay for advertising in every magazine you read. Try buying quality over quantity; you will find that spending extra money on better-quality food items produces less waste and is more satisfying to eat. For example, instead of buying a 2-liter bottle of soda each week, buy several 20-ounce bottles.

Another great way to support your local economy is through using local labour. Consider hiring someone to do some housework, or perhaps an odd job like building a shelf or installing a light fixture. This will put some more cash in your neighbourhood and improve the quality of the work done. As anyone who has ever tried to get a plumber out on short notice can tell you, the prices charged by professionals are obscene - it is scarcely possible for most people to afford them on top of everything else they have to pay for. This means that such professionals are, in effect, a closed club which is impossible for those with a lower income to enter. By circumventing them and using local labour, you are not only saving money but also giving someone the opportunity to do the work they love doing - great for them and great for you.

Finally, try to spend more time engaging with your community; it will help you get to know people and make new friends. Joining a club or society oriented towards sustainability is a noble way of getting involved with the people who live in your neighbourhood or town. It's also handy for finding out what sustainable events are going on in your area, and gives you something fun to do with your spare time. If you live in an apartment, be sure to plant some flowers - they make your place look better and also help your neighbours too.

As the world gets older, it will become more conservative and more environmentally conscious in a hurry; this is why cutting down on consumption is so important now. You can take active steps by buying quality stuff from people you know and love, getting to know your neighbours and doing fun things with them. By so doing, you are helping us preserve a beautiful planet for future generations - something that most of the people currently living on it have never even given a second thought to.

Title: Asking for Advice or Help is the Same as Complaining - Or Is It?

Author: Julia Snell (work partner)

Date: December 2008
My attitude towards asking for help and advice regarding my work has forever changed. Until now, I've never solicited help or advice from anyone. Asking for help implies that you are not competent enough to get the work done on your own, which was a blow to my self-confidence. That sense of pride has set me back several times with respect to my career. My independent nature has prevented me from getting much done while I figure it out on my own, which means that I have had the feeling of failure more than once in my career.

However, I've recently started to realize that asking for help doesn't necessarily mean that I'm incompetent. It means that I have an open-mind and am willing to accept the ideas of others. As a matter of fact, I have been soliciting help for several weeks now and have found it very rewarding. Many times, the advice I've been given has proven to be invaluable. I was able to implement the suggestions with very little difficulty and they worked out beautifully for me; not only did they save me time, but they also helped me excel at my job.

I now realize that there is nothing wrong with asking for help and advice. If anything, it's important to actively seek out information and ideas from people who have already experienced a similar situation or specialty. In my experience, it's hard to get a good idea of what you're doing wrong if you don't ask anyone. This is why I now consider asking for help to be just like complaining; it doesn't imply weakness, but rather shows that one is open-minded and willing to accept new ideas.

Tags: Work Life Balance
Title: You're Not Alone - Advice can come in many different forms...
Author: Julia Snell (work partner)
Date: May 2007
People are rarely in a unanimous agreement on which decisions to make. Everyone has their own opinions and ways of doing things, and not everyone will agree with others' choices. This is perfectly normal and is how the world works; we all have different ideas, ways of thinking and ways of living our lives. However, as you move up the ladder in your career, it becomes more important to pick competent people to hang around with than it does to choose friends who agree with you at all times. This is because people generally surround themselves with those who help them achieve their goals, but not necessarily those who fulfill their needs or share their values.

This means that the most productive decision you can make right now is to surround yourself with people who are more competent than you; as long as they're not too much of a jerk, all will be fine. In other words, pick smart people and keep your friends in check. The two of them together will work out so much better than just one. It's also important for you to learn how to decide on things yourself; don't accept things at face value and always question whether or not something is necessary or helpful. Ask others if they think that something might be a good choice for you, but stop short of telling them what you think about it - just let them know what your thinking process is like or what your preferences are.


It's not easy being a work partner or coworker for some people, especially when you're working in teams. There are all sorts of things that can go wrong - problems with personalities, difficulty with interpersonal relations and all sorts of other unpleasantness. However, the good news is that there is a way to make your work life easier - you just need to know how to manage your relationships with people properly. It's not asking for too much; it's something that you only have to try once and it will likely change your life for the better.

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