One Small Step: get local. No, really local.

One Small Step is our attempt to show you all how easy it can be to improve your health, and the health of the planet. Each week, we’ll take one more little step and encourage you to take it with us. This week, I’ve finally agreed to listen to my husband and:

Get ultra-local.

Yes, I love the concept of the Eat Local Challenge, but this isn’t just eating — it’s drinking coffee, and going to the dentist, and buying my favorite books. I guess you could call it “shop local.” So today, when I went to get my hair cut, I didn’t go downtown to the chic Aveda stylist where I got my hair done for my wedding (and the one who usually cuts my hair oh so well). Instead, I went to the corner barbershop — literally, on the corner two blocks from my house. No energy was expended in getting there, and Tammy (along with “Bip”, her partner) lives in the neighborhood. She gets her coffee at my favorite coffee shop — she’s about as local as you can get.

It was my husband’s idea. I’d been encouraging him to go to the dentist about a mile up the street, instead of the one several miles away we’d been seeing; we’ve heard such great things. He went even further.

“Why not go to the dentist on our corner?” he asked. Instead of traveling a mile, why not a block? Instead of buying books from, why not go to the bookstore in our neighborhood? Instead of meeting my friends across town for coffee, why not meet them at the shop next to Tammy & Bip’s?

This isn’t just about resources for me; if I was going across town, I’d likely bike or take the bus. It’s about time, and it’s about community. How can I create relationships with the people around me if we share no context? How can I interact with my neighborhood if I’m never in it — and my dollars are going where they’re less impactful?

We’ve made a commitment to stay as close as we can to home, whenever possible. Talk to our neighbors, build community where it will make our lives better (not to mention: improve our property value, even if just intangibly), help Tammy pay her water bill.

It’s a little thing, but it adds up. One small step at a time.

[And by the way: my hair looks awesome, and my husband’s teeth are so clean.]

Author by Sarah Gilbert