(This article was sent to me by a reader of SAMPAH. Thanks Joan)
Going green is much easier than most people think plus is has enormous benefits for us personally as well as environmentally. Each one of us can make a difference this Christmas festive season if you commit to not contributing to un-earth-friendly acts such as excessive energy consumption and waste generation. According to the eco friendly experts Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson, co-authors of ‘Celebrate Green’, we all have a responsibility to go green which includes at holiday celebrations. You can even save time and money while contributing to saving mother earth.
The December holiday period sees a landfill increase of 25% more litter which furthers global warming through off-gassing. You can enjoy Christmas and holiday celebrations while being good to the planet with just a few changes. With the tips below you can start an earth-friendly Christmas that will reduce your carbon foot print, create minimum impact on the earth and the good news is that it is easy, affordable, fun and rewarding.
1. Buy local and buy fresh – you will contribute to reducing long transportation use of resources. Also jet-setting food and other goods create tons of carbon dioxide emissions that could be avoided by buying locally produced items.
2. Trim your food shopping. The amount of food waste at Christmas is excessive. Start by trimming 20% off your list. Your guests won’t notice 20% and you’ll be contributing to less wastage. Use a shopping list and do not impulse buy and commit that you will not purchase anything outside your list no matter how enticing it looks.
3. Say no to wrapping paper. Try wrapping gifts in other gifts or hiding gifts in a sock, a bag or pot for extra fun. Engage your creativity. Make a Santa bag for each child that is re-used each year. Cut up old clothes and use the material to wrap your gifts.
4. Go for quality not quantity. Purchase long lasting gifts rather than breakables and consider making your own gifts. You can save money, gifts will have more meaning and are more likely to be cherished. If you have to buy gifts buy those made locally and choose ones that will last like wooden gifts rather than the latest gadgets that will be obsolete tomorrow and end up in land fill.
5. Re-use the same Christmas decorations, tableware and games/activities each year. Children love predictability and you create traditions with greater meaning when using the same soon to be treasured items each year. Remember if you need to purchase new items ensure they are a good quality that can be re-used year after year.
6. Recycle – this helps divert unnecessary waste from landfill. Ensure you separate your rubbish for recycling. Don’t fall in to the ‘lazy’ or ‘I’m too busy’ trap at Christmas. Remember your choices make a difference.
7. Time your lighting. Get yourself a timer and set it to turn your Christmas lights off after a maximum of 5 hours each night. Leaving them on for hours on end is excessive and unnecessary. The best option for outdoors is to get solar powered Christmas lights which are now available in all sorts of shapes and colors.
Making your own gifts, buying locally, buying less, re-using what you already have are all great ways you can start contributing to a eco friendly Christmas that will help preserve resources and reduce waste. Plus adults will become good role models for the benefits of getting back to basics with moderation and thinking of and contributing to the greater good! Merry Christmas!
(Last night after our family dinner, Kevin surprised us all with his gift paper. It was ordinary newsprint paper with personalised sketchings of the receiver. Mine of course had a mask and moustache, drawn by my daughter-in-law MaryAnne.)