What Difference Can One Person Make?


By Glynn Burrows


ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Glynn Burrows shares how supporting small and local businesses can help protect the environment, build sustainable communities, and benefit the tourism industry. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean or SoundCloud.


That is a question heard all over the globe. Supporting your local independent businesses doesn’t immediately spring to mind, as a way to save the planet, but if we all made a few changes to our shopping habits and thought a little more about who we used to provide services for our homes and businesses, it could actually make a massive difference.

A couple of examples for you to think about:


  1. We need a new kitchen and we go to our local massive retail park to buy flat-pack units. Those units have made a journey of thousands of miles to arrive at your door. The units are all made from processed “wood” and covered in plastic laminate. The worktops are made from yet more processed wood and again covered in plastic. They are wrapped in plastic and packed in plastic foam and cardboard boxes.
  2. We go to a local carpenter who buys wood from a local woodyard and constructs the units to fit your kitchen perfectly. The worktops and doors are all made from solid, locally grown wood and you have a unique kitchen.

In scenario 1, number 1, all the money goes to a national or international company that employs a few local people in-store and buys in bulk from abroad which means that over 90% of your cash has gone out of the local economy and much of it will not even stay in your country.

In number 2, apart from the cost of fittings, most of the money will stay within your local economy and even the profit will stay locally because the carpenter is living locally. Most of the new kitchen will have travelled a few miles, not thousands and that fact alone will make a massive difference to our planet.



  1. We go to buy our groceries from the local supermarket and, as we love to have the types of food which we want to have, we buy imported fruit and vegetables. As we are really busy people, we buy pre-prepared food so we don’t have to do anything apart from throw it in the oven. Everything is wrapped in plastic wrap, or foil trays, (covered in plastic inside a cardboard box).
  2. We go to the local market and buy fresh fruit and vegetables which are in season. The local butcher and fishmonger sell fresh, local produce and we use the local bakery for fresh bread.

Again, in scenario 2, number 1, all of the money goes to a national, or multi-national company, employing fewer and fewer people because we are stupid enough to be their checkout assistants, for no pay, doing local people out of jobs. Again, over 90% of the money we spend leaves the local economy. We are not supporting our own farmers and growers. Often the money goes to other countries which are using slave labour to pick our favourite fruit and vegetables. The cost of buying processed food is not counted in dollars, it is counted in plastic, foil trays, and cardboard. It is counted in the chemicals and medications used to produce high quantities of poor quality goods.

In number 2, we are again supporting our neighbours. We are eating food that is fresh and which is grown on our doorstep. We know the people growing and producing the food we are eating. We are not adding to the millions of tons of food flown all over the planet and we are not putting chemicals and who knows what into our bodies.

In the UK a few years ago, there was a big story in the press and on the tv, about processed lasagna sold in supermarkets. It turned out that, even though they were being sold as beef, after testing, many of them were found to contain horse meat, and some contained donkey meat.


If you buy from a local independent business, you will be able to talk to the person producing the things you are buying and, if you ask, I am sure they will be happy to tell you all about their supply chain, often being able to take you to the field where food was grown or where the animals grazed. Try asking a supermarket manager to tell you where their carrots or potatoes came from. They will have to look at the plastic pack and then just tell you the country of origin.


Glynn provides customized, private tours and also helps his clients trace their English family history. Past guests have visited and experienced stately houses and gardens, castles and churches, ruins and villages, birding and wildlife, World War II airfields, and general area taster tours too. Accommodations can be in all types of establishment, from character buildings such as windmills, thatched cottages and castles, self-catering or five star luxury –  just say what you want and it can be arranged. Nothing is too much trouble for Glynn! Visit www.Norfolk-Tours.co.uk.



About the Author:

Glynn provides customized, private tours and also helps his clients trace their English family history.

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