Thursday, November 26, 2009

Green Christmas


Following on from my post of trying to work out how to make Christmas less crazy, my friend (a playgroup/preschool/school mum - our kids do all the same things!) has written a post on her blog that I found quite inspiring.  I like the idea of making Christmas less wasteful and by doing so I think we're forced to be more thoughtful about what we give people and why.

Thought I'd share it with you (although we have already failed miserably by planning to drive and fly to visit the relatives over Christmas).

HAVE A BRIGHT GREEN CHRISTMAS
Celebrating Christmas need not cost the Earth. Here are some ideas for celebrating Christmas without damaging the environment.


* Make your own gifts.

* Give things that can be used up, like art and crafts supplies, or food.

* Ask for presents that are something to do rather than something that takes up space, like asking for tickets to a show or admission to the zoo or a museum, or to classes that you want to attend.

* Give gifts of your time, offering to do jobs to help people.

* Don't buy gifts that are over packaged and make a lot of rubbish just by being opened. Every square mile of the ocean currently contains around 46,000 pieces of plastic. About 50% of landfill consists of packaging, most of which is unnecessary.

* Every $100 spent on new clothing generates 70kg of greenhouse pollution. Everything you buy new uses resources (oil, coal, water etc) to be made, packaged and transported. Buy presents from op-shops instead. It is fun, and the goods are often high quality and you can find something individual. As a bonus, the money goes to charities that help people in need.

* Give donations to organisations that really help people in other countries. Charities such as TEAR Australiahttp://www.usefulgifts.org/viewall.php. World Vision Smileshttp://trans.worldvision.com.au/Smiles/GiftCatalogue/Default.aspx , Oxfam Unwrapped http://www.oxfamunwrapped.com.au/ will send you a gift card for your donation that will pay for something that can actually save someone's life. You can buy mosquito nets, a cow or goat, a well or a garden, a bridge, and literacy and health programs. To help women survivors of war rebuild their lives seehttp://www.womenforwomen.org/ , or to help women in the Asian Pacific region see http://www.womenforwomen.org.au/ . A perfect gift for the person who already has everything.

* Buy gifts from organisations that help people and animals, like Oxfam, The Wilderness Society, Australian Conservation Foundation, Landcare or Greenpeace. Better still, buy a gift membership to support these organisations.

* Buy a wormfarm or compost bin. About 37% of waste in landfill is food scraps, which, in landfill, creates methane, a greenhouse gas. Better to put your food scraps in a compost bin or wormfarm.

* Buy a tree to plant, or grow some herbs or vegetable plants and give them as gifts.

* Suggest some chickens for the backyard as a gift for your family, and have fresh eggs every day.

* Don't buy unnecessary electrical appliances, like electric photo frames or water features.

* Use rechargeable batteries. Buy a solar recharger.

* Check out these sites for funky, fairtrade, environmentally friendly gifts: www.biome.com.auwww.ecoshop.com.au,www.tribesandnations.com.auwww.todae.com.au,www.neco.com.auwww.globalconduct.com.au,http://www.thetradingcircle.com.au/ . You'll find solar and water powered gadgets, eco toiletries, Christmas hampers and very cute toys.

* If you don't have enough plates and cutlery for Christmas lunch, see if you can borrow some. Otherwise buy strong plastic ones you can wash and reuse.

* Don't buy wrapping paper. Wrap your gifts in artwork you have made, in fabric you can reuse, or don't wrap it at all. Just tie a bow around it, and reuse the ribbon. Or put it in a bag that can be reused.

* Have family holidays that are gentle on the earth. See if you can consider eco-holidays, like camping, and avoid flying in aeroplanes or driving long distances.

* If you have Christmas lights, make sure they are LED Christmas lights. Ask if your family uses a Green Energy Provider.

* Some families have set themselves the challenge of spending no more than $100 on Christmas. That would get the creativity flowing!

Have a bright green Christmas!

1 comment:

Sandra said...

we've been giving TEAR fund or CBMI gift cards to teachers for the last couple of years as most of our teacher friends don't find the innumberable boxes of chocolates that exciting. Some good responses, some ambivalent.
Also the fact you can do it all online in about 10 minutes, and then send them an ecard wins on your ecopoint scale