With Global warming becoming more prominent, what with the artic ice caps melting and all that other stuff Rush Limbaugh says isn’t happening, why not do something about it when buying gifts?
The following are “green” ideas to give for gifts. Please expand this list with lots and lots of links to green, environmentally friendly retailers.
13 Green Gifts for Home Renovator. - http://www.re-nest.com/re-nest/by-type/green-gift-guide-for-the-home-renovator-2011-green-gift-guide-161050
Another great green gift is LivClean Carbon Offsets. By visiting livclean.ca you can purchase carbon offset plans that make the perfect green gift for family and friends, helping them become carbon neutral. Each plan comes with a certificate and cool promo items that let them show their new carbon neutral status.
Mr. Ellie Pooh – A favorite at the “Greenfest” this year, this company sells recycled elephant “Poo Paper” products. Visit their online store atwww.mrelliepooh.com to purchase some great paper products and save elephants in Sri Lanka. Basically, by buying this paper you create a market for “elephant dung” which elephants produce while alive (this is key). The idea is that people in Sri Lanka can make a living off of elephant pooh rather than killing the elephants for their hide, tusks or meat.
Seed Embedded Paper - This paper has seeds in it that will actually grow! Done reading the note, just bury it under some dirt and have flowers! They have both paper and greeting cards for any occasion.
Donation Type Stuff
Tree Seedlings. What can be better than planting a tree for someone that will be there for their entire lifetime and maybe more? Not only will it last generations, but there’s that whole photosynthesis thing! If one tree is not enough, try going to www.plant-trees.org “where $45 will get 400 trees planted. There are dozens of websites like this and they are mostly non-profit which gives you a tax write off as well.
Donation – Before you buy that gift, think about it. Do they really need more stuff? Is this something that a few weeks, months or years from now the person will really remember? Don’t buy gifts for the sake of buying gifts. Put some meaning behind it. How about certificates to a night out? Free babysitting? Dinner and dancing? How about donations to your favorite charity. You can ask for the same. The donation can buy food, water, trees,healthcare for pets, shelter for the homeless and much, much more. Make a difference with your money and put some thought behind your gift. Not sure who to give to or if the charity is legit? Check out this site call Charity Navigator.
Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFL’s) – These are those “curly q” bulbs that maybe you have seen and hopefully own. These bulbs have come a long way in shape (they are much smaller now), efficiency, style, colors and light type. What used to be a “hospital white” has turned into a nice soft white just like the incandescent bulbs you have been using all those years. An added bonus is that they are cheaper now, under $2, and will save you about $50 in energy costs. How? The “60 watt” CFL only uses 13 watts of energy. Plus, they last as long as ten years!
LED Lights - Costco has double and triple packs, both regular bulb and candelabra.
Clothing & Accessories
Eco-Clothes – You have a lot of choices. You can buy clothes made from Hemp, from recycled plastic, from other recycled clothes, from “fair trade” materials and the list goes on and on. You may want to try www.ecolution.com, a company with a very wide variety of Hemp clothing. Another great site is www.clothesmadefromscrap.com.
Speaking of clothes, why not pick up a nice sweater to wear around the house. For each degree you lower your thermostat, you save about 3% in energy costs. Using less energy is a GOOD THING. Want to go a step further? Replace that ridiculous thermostat that came with the house with a programmable thermostat. These are cheap and can be picked up at Target, Home Depot and just about any other hardware type store and are a piece of cake to install.
Eco-Backpacks and Computer Bags - full line of backpacks, computer bags, baby bags and lots more. All made from 98% recycled material.
Solar Powered Backpack? - Check out this line! A little on the high side price wise but really cool. Charge up your cell phone, PDA, Gameboy and more while you walk/bike to school/work.
Books, DVD’s - Heres some “green” suggestions:
Blessed Unrest - environmentalist Paul Hawken (Natural Capitalism) reveals an encouraging worldwide movement for change ($25).
Worldchanging - a big, fat, full-color reference book with reviews of environmental resources and tons of eco-ideas ($38).
A Slice of Organic Life - how to live an organic lifestyle, with an emphasis on food preparation; foreword by famed veggie chef Alice Waters ($25).
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - bestseller Barbara Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible, The Bean Trees) goes local, moving her family to a farm and producing most of her own food ($19).
Plenty - a memoir about what happens when two people decide to eat only food produced within a 100-mile radius for a year ($17).
Ignition - a collection of personal essays by writers, scholars, and activists who have worked to stop global warming ($15)
Hemp Music and Books on Hemp - hemp music contains relaxation music from a 100% didgeridoo with harp, flute and angelic voices suitable for massage or meditation. Produced on a hemp plastic CD tray with hemp paper insert.
Bicycle with Helmet and lock – In case you have not been following the news, there are too many cars on the road and they are not good for the environment. Why not buy your sweet heart a new bike (with helmet and lock!) so that they can ride their bike to the metro and/or for recreation. It’s great exercise and makes a difference.
Wrapping it up!
How do you present your present? Wrapping paper sure does look pretty, but what happens to it after the holidays? Thrown away hopefully in the paper recycling, but most likely in the trash. Why not use a bag that can be used over (and over) again? How about newspaper? Just take out a couple magic markers and draw some funky designs on it and voila! I can tell you from experience that kids don’t care about wrapping paper. Be creative, have fun, use less!
Other Green Gift Idea Websites:
Co-op America has a list of ten ways to help reduce waste and green gift giving:http://www.coopamerica.org/programs/shopunshop/buyinggreen/HolidayTips.cfm
Two good resources for buying green gifts on Co-op America's site are:
The Holiday Green Gift Catalog: http://www.coopamerica.org/pubs/greengifts/
The National Green Pages: http://www.coopamerica.org/pubs/greenpages/index.cfm
The Center for a New American Dream has a Holiday Gift Guide:
And they also have a Conscious Consumer Holiday Shopping Guide with tips and info on alternative gift fairs:
The Environmental Defense has a Green Gift-Giving full of tips and eco-friendly products:
The Sierra Club has a great list updated every year - be sure to read the comments section:http://sierraclub.typepad.com/greenlife/2007/11/your-gifts-are.html
The 2011 Green Gift Guide is here!
You could always join Ad Busters Buy Nothing Day Campaign:
10 Things You Should Never Buy New:
This is just a small sample of some “green” ideas. Try them out. Sure, you may be scorned at first from those who are used to getting “stuff”. Try starting with your own holiday list. Do you really need more stuff? If you ask for less stuff, maybe you will set an example for everyone else. You don’t have to become a minimalist living in the mountains to make a difference in the world today. There are plenty of opportunities to save the world while not changing yours. Have some other ideas? What are you waiting for? Add them to the list!