We just love our little bit of paradise in the boondocks, and tend to stay home and just enjoy all it has to offer, rarely venturing out other than for necessary trips to town, and the occasional visit to family.
With fuel prices, and the resulting rising retail prices of most everything else, it seems a lot of folks are doing pretty much the same thing these days. There are some obvious disadvantages in this situation for some local economies, while it may actually be a boon for other areas that don't normally benefit from the tourist traffic.
Another area that may benefit would be the online retailers. While we have, and will continue to utilize the web based retailers, partially due to lack of product availability in our small community, we are also conscious of the need to support our local merchants. It is with pleasure that we support those businesses at every personally viable opportunity. We also think globally when shopping. Our idea of thinking globally includes, and is dominated by ecological concerns.
However, we, as well as rather large portion of Americans these days, have another concern when it comes to our shopping habits. That concern would be personal economics. It bothers me when I want to support a local merchant, or when I desire to do the ecologically responsible thing, but am hindered by artificially inflated prices for these items. Yes, I realize that in many cases the items we are in search of will have higher base prices, but in many cases it would seem they are multiplied many times over before they reach the consuming public.
Someone on a board I often visit once asked how one might encourage others to make more green choices. As with any other product, I believe the answer lies in some pretty basic concepts.
Availability! This does not just mean it's out there, waiting to be purchased in sufficient quantities. It also means it needs to be financially available to an economic base of folks beyond those in the top 10%. If someone wants to purchase a quality shopping bag that will be usable for the long term without breaking down, in order to reduce the amount of paper or plastic bags they use (provided for free in most places) then it needs to be available for a reasonable price. Same goes for "green" cleansers, food storage containers, and most anything else you can think of. Then there's the most basic of our needs, food. I can see where it may be a bit more expensive to produce organic edible products, but, again, I'm not wholly convinced those extra expenditures warrant as high a price as I'm seeing at the retail level.
I'm not saying these products should be artificially lowered. I do realize the providers of these products need to see a profit, but neither do I think they should be overpriced as a specialty item, making them available only to those in a higher income bracket. If those who are manufacturing these products, and those providing access to them are truly ecologically concerned, as they would have us believe, then I would think they would want to provide these products to the largest customer base possible, and common sense would seem to dictate that would be those in the lower 90%. I'm also thinking this may be one of those times when selling more for a lower, more affordable price may ultimately provide a higher income than fewer at a higher price.
Quality! While the products do need to be financially viable, they also need to be of good quality. A durable shopping bag, cleaning products that actually work, well constructed, strong storage containers, with the features that make them useful.
Aesthetics! While green alone is fast becoming the "hip" thing, we gotta face facts. "Cool" will always be a factor, especially if we want to encourage our younger population to get involved. I'm not seeing any reason why organic, reusable, and ecologically sustainable needs to be ugly, or "blah".
To keep up with the theme, my usual weekly feature is brought to to you by our Public Library, a local economical and ecologically sound resource ;-)
Saturday Night At The Movies
Last night, we watched a film Pa had been wanting to see for some time. Bee Movie, an animated tale featuring the voice of Jerry Seinfeld, as well as many other recognizable names, was an entertaining film for all four of us. The kids enjoyed it on one level, while Pa and I were able to appreciate the little morsels directed more to the "grown-up" viewers. This film is rated PG, and due mostly to a couple brief scenes which may be disturbing to younger audiences, I would have to say it is a good rating. If your children are a bit older, (mine are 9 and 11) then I'd say it's fine family fare, with something entertaining for the whole clan.
Today, Pa is going to perform the final steps required to get my washer up and running. I am beyond excited about it! I'm also pleased to note the weather guessers are predicting some great laundry drying weather for the next few days. My clothes line is going to get a workout this week! I'm looking forward to breathing in that wonderful aroma that only line drying can give. Aaaah. I can almost smell it now!