The Holiday season has arrived and thoughts have turned to parties and gift-giving. But for the eco-conscious people in your life there is the wonderment of how they can party and keep their carbon footprint low. The drama continues because people already feel pressure during the Holidays. The roads are more crowded causing more air pollution, the malls are crowded and there is the expectation to be nice to people you don’t necessarily like or agree with. (Green is seen as the new Grinch).
One of the first rules of environmentalism is to reduce consumption and buy less. However, to some ears, the call for less excessive consumption during the holidays sounds almost un-human. Here is a good Green thought - If you are going to buy gifts – Buy Local.
Canadians create up to 60,000 tons of packaging waste during the holidays so it is wise to do what you can to avoid extra packaging. You can try making homemade gifts. Even if you're not a crafty person, you could make coupons that promise friends and family the gift of your time — like a dinner, a massage or something that reflects your skills.
You could also buy as many organic, local ingredients for your holiday feast as you can afford. As we plan to sit down with family and friends to give thanks for all that we have, perhaps the biggest “Thank you” should go to Mother Earth for putting up with our blunders. Earth really has taken a lot of abuse from us humans and yet keeps providing for us and all the other species. It’s not an easy task and it keeps getting harder.
Other environmentally conscious ideas could include: wrapping your gifts in reusable bags, recycled magazines, fabric, newspaper, or turning paper bags into wrapping paper. Get even more creative by using old maps, posters, kids' coloring book pages, or sheet music to wrap gifts. Canadians go through 40 square kilometres of forest in wrapping paper each year!
As a final suggestion you can buy cards printed on recycled paper, handmade papers, or paper made from materials like hemp. Three of Hallmark’s lines have recycled content: Shoebox Greetings, My Thoughts Exactly, and Comedy Club. If you have a computer you can send e-cards instead of paper cards. By the way, Hallmark has e-cards as well. You can buy cards that donate a portion of proceeds to a good cause. At the end of the day you can reuse any paper cards you received by cutting them up to make gift tags for next year.
We live in a world where climate change, deforestation, holes in the ozone layer, water scarcity and air pollution are growing sources of concern. Finding a solution as individuals and as nations against the environmental crisis, even at this time of the year, has never been greater.
I am wishing the best for all of your Holiday celebrations. Therefore, those of you that celebrate Christmas have a happy, healthy and very Merry Green Christmas and for those of you that celebrate a holiday of a different name – Happy Green Holidays and health and happiness to all. For this is the season to celebrate that which you cherish the most: your faith in that which is greater than you, including Mother Earth.