Living local is an important part of sustainability. Living local means basing your sustenance on your immediate geographic location. In living locally, ideally your food, work, entertainment, and yes, money will all be derived from and revolve around where you live, within certain limits (5, 10, 100 miles, depending on your philosophy).
This post was inspired by my recent thoughts on credit unions and talks with my father. I was thinking about all the benefits of being a member of a credit union. Credit unions are financial alternatives to regular banks. For one, they aren’t taxed on income. Second, they are usually for members of a particular community, be it people of a specific area, profession, or company. They can provide rates that are equal to, often better than, “normal” banks.
Another benefit of supporting a credit union is that the money will stay in the community. The money that the CU makes is reciprocated to its members in the form of dividends or returned in other ways. This is an example of local money. Let’s use an example.
You are located in beautiful Maui. Your bank is located in far-off New York. The money you have sitting in your account benefits the big bank in NY. The interest you pay on loans fattens the pockets no where near yours. Credit unions, on the other hand, keep the money local. If you keep your money in a credit union, the money is used to benefit others around your community. Likewise with loan interest you may pay. It circulates within your community.
This is one way we can use money in the context of living local and sustainability. I’d like to know more ways. Let’s see what we can come up with…