Students Leading the Way to Sustainability

Media  Contact:

Kimber Lanning
[email protected]
Danielle Smith[email protected]
Katie Larkin
[email protected]

Camelback High School organizing LOCO FOR LOCAL campaign to encourage sustainable local economy

Phoenix, Arizona  (March 5th, 2011) – As with environmental sustainability, the kids are leading the way with the economy, helping parents understand that spending at locally owned businesses keeps more money in the local economy and is better for all communities in the long run.

Danielle Smith, sponsor of Camelback High School’s environmental awareness club, the Eco-Spartans, says, “There are a myriad of good reasons why we are encouraging our students and community to shop and dine locally, but right now, the best reason is to stimulate our local economy.  We need to keep as much money in Arizona as possible to make it stronger and more sustainable.

Throughout the month of March, students and their families will collect receipts from locally owned businesses to be entered into a drawing to win several prizes being supplied by the members of Local First Arizona (, a non-profit coalition of over 1800 local businesses. Local First has done several economic studies demonstrating that up to three times more money stays in the local economy when consumers choose local over national businesses. “The local business owners will hire local attorneys, accountants, graphic designers, web developers, and more, while the national company will outsource those jobs to other parts of the country or sometimes even out of the country”, explains Kimber Lanning, Director of Local First Arizona. “If we want to grow our job base right here at home, the best thing we can do is buy locally.”

Smith points out the added benefit of the civics lesson in learning about the economy, while simultaneously helping students get to know their community and develop civic pride. “While many of them are not old enough to vote, they are learning to use their voices by choosing where to spend their dollars for the best community benefit, “she adds.

Camelback Principal, Dr. Chad Gestson, says building a sense of commitment to community through service and involvement is an important initiative at Camelback High School.  “Youth have access to a great deal of time, talent, and money.  We must do all we can to influence the way they spend their valuable resources in a way that will lead to stronger, more sustainable communities.”

The Eco-Spartans plan to hand out information at their Pride Night event on March 10th and have created an extensive list of locally owned businesses to teach others where to go to be sure the money stays here in Arizona. Local First plans to help them promote using their 16,000 social media followers. “This is a critical new development.” Lanning says, “The youth are the ones who taught us about recycling and new light bulbs. Once they catch on, household spending habits will start to shift toward locally owned businesses, which will be better for all of us in the future.”