Mireya Navarro

New York Times Writer

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Go Local! (Or Maybe Not?)

One of the things couples are learning in trying to build green principles into their wedding plans is that there are often complex trade offs to be made, not black and white decisions. Take the question of sourcing. We often hear that buying local is best when deciding on food, flowers and other elements of a wedding, but the truth is that this may not always be the case. A fruit or a flower from a local farm means fewer travel-related carbon emissions, but some studies suggest that when emissions associated with production are also considered, a product traveling from afar may not necessarily be worse than the local alternative. The local farm may have consumed so much energy heating its greenhouse in the winter, for instance, that it counters the benefits from the close proximity to the buyer.

Many environmentalists I’ve interviewed say that, when in doubt, we should avoid the transportation emissions first. In other words, go local unless your own research tells you otherwise. Even if you err when trying to figure out the emissions math, going local at least means you are supporting your local economy.

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