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WNY GOING GREEN: BUFFALO FIRST

Wednesday, 01.20.2010 / 1:13 PM / Blue & Gold Make Green
By Jackie Lewandowski  - Graduate Assistant (2009)
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WNY GOING GREEN: BUFFALO FIRST
The Buffalo Sabres Blue & Gold Make Green initiative has worked to improve sustainability and recycling within the organization over the last year. Now, the Sabres are asking the fans to reduce their environmental footprint.

Throughout the year, sabres.com will feature a local cause dedicated to making Western New York a “greener” place, and showing fans in the area how to incorporate conservation in their daily lives.

Take a look at this week’s profile on Buffalo First.


Buffalo First (www.buffalofirst.org)
The recent recession has caused many people in our country to take a second look at their spending habits, and a local organization is asking consumers to put ‘Buffalo First’.

Founded by Amy Kedron, Buffalo First was the product of a study group of graduate students, who wanted to empower the city of Buffalo and keep money here to build a better place for generations to come.

“We wanted Buffalo to be a greener and healthier place” Kedron said. “It just so happened that a lot of other people in cities all over the country were asking the same question.”

After joining forces with 70 other cities across America, Buffalo First became a federally recognized non-profit organization, and the first in our area to formally encourage the idea of buying locally.

According to Kedron, there are five major criteria for what constitutes a local business. First, the business must be headquartered in New York State with at least half of its owners living in Western New York. The business must also control all of its own finances, make all of its own independent business decisions, and cannot be traded on the stock market.

“When it comes to the environment, the small businesses are so much more nimble and are better able to make green business decisions because they don’t have shareholders” Kedron said. “They can put things like the health of the people and the planet ahead of profits, which are demanded by shareholders.”

There are also additional benefits to purchasing from locally owned and operated businesses which include the reduction of carbon emissions from the transfer of products.

“There is typically 1,500 miles spent before food gets to your fork, which is essentially the distance between Buffalo and Southern Florida” Kedron said. “It’s just not necessary to buy that way in Buffalo because we have so many great local farms surrounding our city that can provide us the very same things.”

Local businesses also tend to generate less sprawl, congestion, habitat loss, and pollution, and often embrace the uniqueness of the communities in which they are located. Economically, local businesses work to keep every dollar earned within the community. According to Kedron, for every dollar spent at a local business, three dollars are re-spent in the community. This works to keep jobs here in Buffalo - especially during recessions.

To keep even more money within our community, Buffalo First created and published the city’s first all-local coupon book. The book features over $4,000 in discounts to over 200 local businesses and organizations, as well as tips on how to stay green at home.

“Our primary goal is education” Kedron said. “Through this book we are giving people the materials that they need to understand how to be green, as well as the importance and incentive to buy locally.”

Coupon books are available for purchase all across the city in local businesses and schools, and can also be purchased on the organization’s website.

The organization has also recently joined forces with the Partnership for the Public Good, a new organization that works with local and state politicians to ensure that Western New York supports local and green businesses.

“We are looking at where to take the city in the future” Kedron said. “Therefore we put together studies to back the work we are doing, which aids in getting policies going in the city to aid our cause.

“The best thing people can do is to vote with their dollars. Think about the greener and local choices first before you make that purchase.”

To purchase coupon books or to support Buffalo First by becoming a member, visit the organization’s website at www.buffalofirst.org. Membership to the organization offers monthly newsletters announcing upcoming events and offers for free t-shirts.

For healthy and easy tips for going green at home, or to become a Green Team member, click here.

Author: Jackie Lewandowski | Sabres.com

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