If you’re reading this you might be as last-minute with your holiday shopping as I tend to be. Admittedly my post itself is last-minute. I’ve done half my shopping and, this year, with each item I’ve put more thought than ever into what effect each will have on this finite planet. If you’re the kind of giver that prefers to give an item rather than an experience, make it meaningful not just as a useful object but as one with the smallest environmental impact possible.
Before I tell you how easy it is to be eco-conscious at Christmas, you might want to know why you should:
* according to Statistics Canada, 900,000 tonnes of garbage is produced between Thanksgiving and Christmas each year
* transportion of gifts that are produced a great distance away, whether it’s Califonia or China, emits greenhouse gases that pollute our air and contribute to climate change
* logging of old-growth forests to produce “virgin” paper products releases CO2 into the atmosphere and threatens animal habitat (think of the caribou and the owls!)
* conventional plastic is a petroleum-based product, which carries a triple-threat carbon footprint
* it takes resources and produces waste to make something new and to recycle or dispose of it at the end of its life cycle (which, these days, is often pretty short!)
* that regiftable stuff is better off loved by someone else than being a guilt trip in your closet for you or your kids!
* buying local supports the local economy and friends of your friends
* and more environmental, ethical and health-related reasons…
h3. Ok, I get it. I’ll be good this year. How easy is it?
Got a bookstore nearby? A Choices/Capers/Whole Foods? MEC? Independent coffee shop? Granville Island? Main St or Commercial Drive? You can make smart choices anywhere — that includes IKEA. I did not have to go out of my way to get smart gifts for my family. A bit of thoughtfulness and planning is all it takes. And do I ever feel good about it!
Here are some suggestions and tips!