Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas

Christmas does not have to be a burden on the environment. With a little effort and imagination, we can reduce the environmental impact of the holiday season. Here are some ideas to help celebrate the season while caring for the earth:

Food & drink at Christmas
1. Buy local, seasonal, winter vegetables (these include sprouts, carrots, cabbage, leeks, onions, parsnips, and potatoes).
2. Support your local farmers' market (visit Local Harvest to find out your nearest farmers' market )
3. Look for meat from traditional breeds of sheep, beef or poultry, raised naturally and locally. Ask your butcher about the history of the animal. If you choose a bird opt for free-range organic or even try an alternative like goose.
4. If you can't buy local, buy fair trade products such as fruit, nuts and chocolate
5. Buy wine with real corks - not a single tree is cut down in their production and it is one of the most environmentally-friendly industries possible. The
Natural Cork Quality Standard website has more information and guidance.
6. Try to buy food and drink packaged in materials that can be recycled in your area, such as paper and glass and avoid disposable items on the Christmas table such as paper serviettes.
7. Compost vegetable leftovers – try vermiculture
8. Use 100% recycled aluminum foil or baking paper for Christmas cakes

Christmas Trees, decorations, cards & wrapping paper
1. If you buy a real Christmas tree, check that it has the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) logo, which guarantees it has been sustainably farmed.
2. Buy a small pot grown tree and plant it out after Christmas.
3. Buy LED Christmas lights which, as well as lasting longer than conventional lights, use can 80% less energy.
4. Solar powered Christmas lights are also a great alternative - they can be bought in a number of online shops now, just search for them in Google.
5. Use old cards to make gift tags.
6. Send an E-card.
7. Wrapping paper is often treated, colored and sometimes covered in glitter which isn't easy to recycle - choose cards and wrapping which contain recycled paper.
8. Check to see if your community recycles real trees.
9. Recycle cards and wrapping paper.

May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,

The gladness of Christmas give you hope,

The warmth of Christmas grant you love.

Until next time...become the change you imagine.