Saving the planet by shopping locally

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Town of Hempstead Councilman Gary Hudes, a Republican from Levittown, is perhaps the South Shore’s greatest advocate for downtown businesses. Hudes oversaw the transformation of Bellmore’s nearly defunct downtown in the 1990s to the thriving village that it is today, with a host of shops and restaurants, two movie theaters and the Rock Underground music school. He argued forcefully, but always with a smile, that a healthy downtown is a necessary ingredient of a healthy community, and the argument clearly resonated.

A healthy downtown, though, is so much more than that, according to Lappé. It is a necessary ingredient of a healthy planet. According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, once we surpass 450 parts per million of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, global warming will be irreversible. We recently exceeded 400 ppm. Every mile driven contributes to the steady stream of carbon flowing into the skies. Global warming is bad, we know, because it melts Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, raising sea levels and making hurricanes and typhoons stronger.

So, before you shop, consider first whether you can buy what you need locally. Your community –– and your planet –– will thank you for it.

Scott Brinton is senior editor of the Bellmore and Merrick Heralds and an adjunct professor at the Hofstra University Graduate Journalism Program. Comments? or (516) 569-4000 ext. 203. Brinton’s profile and posts can be found at

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