Here is an organization I’m proud and happy to have joined – the Nova Scotia chapter of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies.
Which makes me wonder, as a web designer, what is my contribution to a local, sustainable green economy?
Hmm… well, there’s the commute. Most of the time, I just head downstairs to my home office. No greenhouse gasses are generated. As the downstairs is heated with a radiant floor, it’s the warmest part of the house in winter. So that’s very efficient, but doesn’t quite qualify me as a green business – at least not until we get the planned solar panels up on the roof!
More to the point, however, my clients tend to be folks who operate independent, small (often micro) Nova Scotian businesses. They live and work here by choice, as do many Nova Scotians. It’s not always an easy choice. By running a successful business, however, they are helping others to live and work here as well. I’m happy to be part of that, and strive to contribute to their success. Some are in tourism, some are artists and craftspeople, some are lawyers and some are builders of log and timber frame homes.
The timber framers in particular are quite aware that they add value to the forest simply by using wood for something more enduring than pulp fibre. Hardwoods such as oak and elm are prized by builders and their clients, as are large softwood trees such as pine. The companies that drive the clearcutting of the forests would rather eliminate the hardwoods with herbicides and harvest the faster-growing softwood trees for pulp.
Timber frame homes are built to last a long time. Their interiors are a celebration of the beauty of wood and craftsmanship. They are usually enclosed with energy-efficient materials. So they provide enduring value on many levels and make a solid contribution to the local living economy.
A visit to the Nova Scotia Museum of Industry in Stellarton made me realize how self-sufficient Nova Scotia used to be, from the growing of food to the manufacture of automobiles! It is a direction we need to move towards again. The reasons are both environmental and economic. A secure, local food supply and lower greenhouse gas emissions are part of it. And by supporting local businesses, we keep more money circulating in the local economy, and we all benefit.
So kudos to the people who started up BALLE-Nova Scotia for getting the balle rolling!