DONNACHADH McCARTHY: does shopping local equal environmental destruction?

News Desk (22 September, 2016) Columnists

'The vast majority of our local shops with the odd laudable exception are currently destructive environmental disasters'

11366Donnachadh McCarthy, photo by Elizabeth Mischler

I am almost 100 per cent free of supermarkets for my weekly food-shop but I use my “local” shop regularly, as the post-office is located there.

The owner got annoyed at me recently for closing the door when I came in, as the air-conditioning was on and the expensive cold-air was escaping.

I said it was adding to climate change and the consequences for his kids (he has young children) but he shrugged his shoulders and said there was nothing we could do about it.

Not only was the door open but it was freezing in there – my guess it was about 18C, when the minimum CIBSE recommended temperature shops should be cooled down to is 25C.  Every degree below 25C can waste about ten per cent of the electricity bill.

Many of these “local” shops are now almost wall to wall climate destroying door-less fridges for cooled wine and beer.

They should be banned as the expensive cold air is immediately lost.

But do we really need our wine and beer to be pre-cooled?

How much of it is warm again by the time it gets drunk and so the refrigeration is 100% wasted?!

But this shop is no different from most such “local” shops across Southwark. They have almost nothing that I would consider buying.

It has nothing organic, very few fruit or vegetables and almost everything is over-packaged.  They stock zero local products.

They sell poisonous chemical cleaners, cruel factory-farmed “meat”, no recycled paper bathroom tissue, no energy saving bulbs and lots of pointless disposable products such as non-biodegradable wet-wipes.

Thus, the vast majority of our local shops with the odd laudable exception are currently destructive environmental disasters, fuelling lethally unhealthy lifestyles and destroying the planet’s future for our kids.

I get almost all my food from Peckham and Oval Farmers Market, from the wonderful local community co-op Fareshares on Crampton Street and from Southwark’s own Baldwin’s Independent Health Food Store on the Walworth Road.

The question is what to do about this destructiveness, when all of us want to shop local and support local businesses?!

Maybe you could pop your suggestions in a letter to the News, email letters@www.newsatden.co.uk

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Donnachadh McCarthy
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