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A dikdik, one of the smallest and most graceful antelopes.

Eco-communities

Many people think of being eco friendly as protecting the environment. While protecting Mother Nature is definitely a part of being eco friendly, there is also another important part of being eco friendly-the community!

Eco-resorts defines ECO as Environmentally and Community Orientated. No matter where you live, you will impact the environment and the people you meet. Being community orientated not only benefits you as you meet more people in your local area, but it also employs more people and contributes to a strong economy and local pride.

Here are some ideas for supporting the local communities in your home, office and neighborhood:

  • Donate old news magazines such as Time, Newsweek and National Geographic to your local school library.

  • Donate old magazines such as Cosmo, Hello! and Vanity Fair to local primary schools for their arts and crafts projects.

  • Support the Kenyan clothes and textile industry by purchasing locally produced clothes. One Way and Kiboko not only create locally made, uniquely African clothes but they have also started growing cotton without pesticides in Tanzania.

  • If you prefer to have a local tailor make your clothes instead of buying them, use locally produced fabrics. The Kenyan textile industry cannot compete with the imported "mitumba" clothes and is experiencing financial difficulties. Rivertext and Raymond's are both local textile companies that need your support!

  • When decorating your home or building a new house, use locally made materials such as galana stone, coral stone and makuti. For interior design, Arte offers fabulous, locally made materials for cushions, curtains and bedspreads. Their materials are created from local cotton (often Spinners and Spinners) and printed by their Kenyan team.

  • Buy Kenyan gifts from the local communities. Streetwise and Twendledee create wonderful gifts that are not only locally made, but support charities as well.

  • Offer to sell some locally made gifts in your shop, office or house once a year.

  • Purchase locally grown food instead of imported food. If Kenya's produce is good enough to export, it's good enough for us!

  • When printing brochures, calendars or diaries, choose a locally owned advertising company. Creative Business offers outstanding designs printed in Kenya. The Kenyan paper mill produces two types of paper, both of which Creative Business use. They also use other paper that is 70% recycled and chlorine free.

  • Get involved and volunteer an hour a month at a local organization of your choice, whether it be a school, church, Scouts, hospital, animal welfare or anything else.
  • Take some time to learn your local language whether it is KiSwahili, Masai or Kikuyu. Knowing a few words of a language, even spoken incorrectly, can break down the barriers between communities.

  • Treat yourself to a new cultural excursion once a month. Whether it is a new restaurant, festival, book or movie, make a point of learning something new about a different culture that you didn't know before.

Copyright Anne Loehr of Eco-resorts

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