Local resident Vince Straw made an impassioned plea to “go local” this Friday evening at Quencher’s Saloon and Grill. Channeling a growing national awareness about the importance of local consumption, Vince encouraged bar-goers to “consider the big picture” in their life choices.
“You gotta think about your carbon footprint, see?” Vince said, maneuvering his arm into position around local food-service employee Shelley Thompson’s waist. “Your boyfriend lives clear across town, almost outside the loop. In a city that had any kind of rational commitment to public transportation, that might not be a serious issue, but you’re gonna go the whole way out there just to drive back downtown again for work tomorrow. And what are you driving, a Subaru Baja? That can’t get more than 20 miles a gallon, max!”
While some might argue that Straw is simply another creep who hangs around the bar below his apartment looking for an easy score, Vince sees himself as part of a burgeoning national movement refocusing consumption at the local level.
Leaning back on his bar stool one recent night, Straw spoke earnestly about the goals of the movement. “People need to find a way to reconnect with their local communities. Together we can find a way to live more sustainably. There’s no reason we need to be driving all over the city, polluting the environment, when often you can find anything you need within walking distance. Yaknowhattimean?”
“What has two thumbs and believes in the power of communitas?” he asks loudly enough to turn the heads of two women sitting at the other end of the bar. “This guy!”
While Straw admits that he was initially frustrated by the recent loss of his automobile to the bank, he’s since come to see it as simply another opportunity to live more sustainably.
“I don’t drive a car – shoot, I don’t even have an elevator! This here’s a five-story walk-up,” he exclaimed, gesturing proudly towards his apartment above him. “Zero carbon emissions, baby.” Straw went on to emphasize to a nearby patron that the opportunities for healthy exercise would not end once they reached his fifth-floor apartment.
Typically discussed in the context of produce and household goods, the “Go Local” movement has expanded in recent years to including building supplies, energy production, and even banking and other services. Straw sees himself as pushing the cutting edge of local advocacy.
“Vince made a compelling case, ” said Dina Struthers, a resident of the building next to Straw’s. I forget his exact argument, but I think it was something like “Why buy a head of lettuce that’s been shipped on a refrigerated rail car all the way from California, when you could choose a perfectly good local lettuce from the building next door.” Struthers then conceded that sure, the “local lettuce” might not have the cleanest apartment, and it might kick you out at three in the morning with some lame excuse about having to rest up for a hard day of work.
“But hey, ” she shrugged, “at least I didn’t have to contribute to climate change by taking a long cab ride home. Thanks to Vince, that’s something I can feel good about.”
– Jake Reimer