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Supporting local businesses instead of corporations can make a difference

Peter Goodman is a commentator based in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Courtesy photo.
Peter Goodman is a commentator based in Las Cruces, New Mexico.


We’re in a battle with ourselves to minimize for our kids the damage we’ve done to our environment.

So I was startled to read a recent op-ed chortling with delight over the wonders of petroleum and plastics.

The writer looked like a nice young person, but willfully ignorant. What would she say if her great grandson could speak back through time to her, from his climate-change ravaged world of 2094, and ask how she could have written such things? Sure, our state does currently depend financially on oil and gas; but that’s like taking some dangerous medicine, with serious known side effects, to recover from something worse. (Chemotherapy saves lives, but we don’t rush back for more once the cancer is gone!) Petroleum is a known poison to us and our world, but essential to our civilization. Working to kick that addiction is just as urgent as with fentanyl. In 2094, our descendants will be struggling as desperately to get to Canada, just as some folks now risk everything to get here. Let’s hope they’re treated decently.

I’m told that an indigenous elder, long ago, seeing the influx of white people, said that there would come a day when you could no longer dip your cup in the river and drink. That sounded crazy. Now we take for granted a highly unnatural world in which dipping our cup into almost any river would be unwise. A world where sometimes the air is too thick to breathe. A world in which most people mostly eat “food” full of chemicals bearing little relationship to nutrients.

Gretchen Morgenson’s book, These Are the Plunderers, brilliantly describes how private equity is savaging health care. Barons may do the same for the plunderers of our farmland. Walmart has a share of the grocery market equal to the combined shares of corporations standing 2nd through 8th on that list. The “system” is cheating and poisoning us in a variety of ways.

We try to participate as little as possible. We buy much of our food at the Farmers’ Market. We patronize Toucan as much as we can. We struggled to support the Mountain View Co-Op and mourn its passing. Eat what huge trucks needn’t bring here.

With so many wonderful local restaurants, it’s no sacrifice to avoid not only fast food joints but all the chain restaurants. Coffee at Milagro, Nessa’s, Grounded, and the Bean. Except when traveling, I haven’t set foot in Starbucks for years,.

I prefer the quirky diversity of local places to bland rooms that are identical to thousands around the country; economically, we keep our money here, where local restaurant owners will spend much of their profit, rather than sending it to some coastal corporate headquarters; monopolies, if we let them, monopolies will jack up prices out of sight; and I can ask a local grower how s/he grew what I’m buying, and if something’s wrong my complaint will be heard.

While we carefully watched for Communists, corporations robbed us daily and changed our world. We let it happen. But even now we can resist, and look out for ourselves, by generally favoring what’s local, what’s smaller, and what’s simpler, with a smaller carbon footprint. If feasible, by walking and bicycling, by composting, by limiting water use, by spending a moment reading food ingredients.

By recognizing that all those Super Bowl advertisers aren’t our friends, necessitating a certain alertness, and independent thought.

Peter Goodman's opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of KRWG Public Media or NMSU.