Downtown. Small, owner-managed shops. Friendly, safe places with people on foot who have time for each other. A nostalgic glimpse of the past or a whimsical wish for the future? Warren Snow of Envision New Zealand would like to see it as an enduring icon of the present.

 I first met Warren when he helped bring Micha Peled and his award-winning documentary to Kaitaia. You can read more on that here.  It was my pleasure to interview him on Voices from the North.

 Warren is passionate about waste reduction and sustainability and retaining and restoring vibrancy and resiliency to downtowns and small towns. He has worked with Stephen Tindall of the Warehouse and sees that model of retailing (based on the Walmart-model) as counterproductive to local foot-based retailing. Have you seen the revealing documentary, Store Wars: When Walmart Comes to Town? We discussed the detrimental impact megastores can have on small local manufacturing  as well as retailing. I See Red is a book describing one instance where The Warehouse spelled the demise of a local business that supplied quality products and created many jobs.

 Perhaps Warren’s easiest suggestion to improve our local communities is for each of us to spend just $5 a week more locally—at farmers markets or local shops. This single act can make a significant difference.

The music is We Are One by Dan Seals with vocals by Dan Seaforth. 

Here’s the interview:

Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.