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Your Surefire Guide To Buying Smart and Local

This week’s special issue, Bay Weekly’s annual Home and Garden Guide, is full of good ideas and good reading.

Buying smart and local is part of a bigger message, one we’ve been spreading for 15 years and has never been more to the point: Our Chesapeake economy thrives in a healthy environment.

2008 is bringing that message home with a double whammy. Global climate change and recession are eroding the quality of life we’ve felt was ours to keep, certainly here in bounteous Chesapeake Country.

Yet it’s not despair we’re feeling; rather, it’s challenge. So now, when we’re paying over $3.25 a gallon for gas and hundreds of dollars a month to heat our homes, our great ingenuity is rising, too. Finally, we’ve taken sustainability to heart.

Sustainability is what this year’s Home and Garden Guide is all about.

Our home places and spaces are dearer than ever to us this year, when so many of our neighbors are losing their homes in the burst bubble of creative financing and expanding debt. That, and the dearness of gas, make it likely more of us will be spending more time and money at home this year.

What may be different this year is that we’re thinking freshly about investments that last, investments that sustain our quality of life.

Revising our ethic of waste is one way of making sustainable investments. Cheap goods carry a big price tag: they rob American workers of wages, cost fortunes to transport from around the world — and, sooner rather than later, trash our Earth. Buy close to home, use local products and services, and you invest in your own wealth and Earth’s health.

To help you make sustainable investments of that sort, this issue includes two special features: One is Margaret Tearman’s story explaining how reuse can benefit you and your neighbors. The other is our guide to local businesses to depend on to improve your home and garden.

A second way of making sustainable investments is learning how to factor environmental health into your buying decisions. That philosophy is explained by Green Coach Sandy Neville, who talks to writer Tearman about what you can do to improve your home environment — which spills over into benefits for the world environment.

Putting that philosophy into practice is what you’ll learn in Carrie Madren’s story, “Home, Green Sweet Home: Ways to make your abode a more eco-friendly place.”

Ideas that are good for you, good for the environment and good for the economy: That’s what you’ll read in this week’s Home and Garden Guide.

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