DURING THE SEASON OF CELEBRATION WE NEED TO SHOW EXTRA CARE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
HERE ARE SOME IDEAS TO HELP CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS WHILE CARING FOR THE EARTH…
A festival doesn’t have to be a burden on the environment. With a little effort and imagination, we can reduce the environmental impact of the holiday season.
BUY LESS : Some holiday gifts fill a practical need and need to be bought new. But many gifts are really gestures of thoughtfulness. You can give more while spending less.
NOT ALL GIFTS HAVE TO BE STORE-BOUGHT : You can give more while spending less by giving gifts that are personal and unique. While young children may favour the bright, shiny store-bought item, most adults appreciate anything that shows thoughtfulness.
THINK ‘GREEN’ – BUY SMART
GO FOR LOCALLY MADE GIFTS : Many gifts in today’s marketplace come from faraway places from around the world, and the impact of transportation contributes significantly to greenhouse emissions and global warming. Local craft fairs, artisan shops and handicrafts are a good source for a gift that come without the added costs of transportation and makes a minor impact on greenhouse emissions and global warming. And gifts made locally often have a story which goes with the gift, since the artisan and the origin of the gift are known.
GO FOR GIFTS MADE FROM RECYCLED SOURCES : People are promoting recycled products to save the environment. There are many individuals working from home and running cottage industries and also small businesses who develop great products using recycled materials. Supporting these businesses helps many people sustain their life cycles and also reduces the waste stream while promoting the concept of making best use of available materials.
GO FOR BATTERY-FREE GIFTS : Battery sales are at maximum during the festival season. Discarded batteries are an environmental hazard. Even rechargeable batteries finally find their way into the waste stream. Hence, avoid gifts which require batteries to operate; this will help in having less impact on the environment.
GO FOR VIOLENCE FREE CHILDREN’S TOYS : There is too much violence in the world, and the new wave of video games for children is disturbing. We should remember the theme of Festivals is “Peace on Earth”. There are many toys and games that are fun, and nurture children’s creativity and sense of active play.
RE-GIFTING IS OK : People discuss a lot about the etiquette behind the trend to ‘re-gift’, that is, to pass on a gift you received but do not need. Actually there requires being no discussion. Re-gifting makes perfect sense. If you receive something you really don’t need, look for ways you can reuse this gift by passing it on to someone who can use it. Of course, re-gifting needs to be done with care so as not to offend the original giver, but keeping a gift you don’t need is wasteful.
LOWER THE IMPACT OF HOLIDAY LIGHTING : Earlier, the house with the most decorative holiday lights used to be considered the ‘best’. Times have changed. The cost of electricity goes way beyond the utility bill. Moreover, electricity drains natural resources.
REDUCE THE SIZE OF OUTDOOR LIGHTING DISPLAYS : A smaller presentation of lights can still be attractive, and more appropriate in the ‘season of giving’. Saving electricity is also a way of giving, since conserving resources benefits everyone. Use LED lights for decoration. LED (Light Emitting Diode) holiday lights, use up to 95% less energy than larger, traditional decorative bulbs and last up to 100,000 hours when used indoors. LED decorative lights use 0.04 watts per bulb, 10 times less than mini bulbs and 100 times less than traditional decorative bulbs. As an added bonus, if one of the LED lights burns out the rest of the strand will stay lit. Turn tree lights and outdoor house decorative lighting at bedtime
It’s simply a waste of energy to leave the holiday lights on at night after everyone’s gone to sleep.
GO FOR HOMEMADE CARDS : Store-bought Festive Occasion Cards are Rich, Elegant AND expensive. They also consume a huge amount of natural resources for a throw-away item. The amount of cards sold in a country like the US during the holiday season would fill a football field 10 stories high, and requires the harvesting of nearly 300,000 trees, nearly the same or probably more natural resources would be used during festive seasons in India. Homemade cards may not be as professional, but they are more personal and just as appreciated. Making the cards is also a fun activity for the family during the weeks before a festival.
USE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY WRAPPING PAPER AND REUSE OR RECYCLE GIFT PACKING MATERIALS : Select wrapping paper that is made using fibres, or recycled paper. A beautiful wrapping job can be done without having to use metallic wrapping paper. This Metallic ‘Paper’ is difficult to recycle and it has no value for use as mulch since there are heavy metals used in the foil paper. Foil gift wrap is also harder to reuse, since it wrinkles and creases easily when the gift is being unwrapped. When you receive Large wrapped presents they usually have large enough uncreased sections so that can be be reused for wrapping smaller gifts. If you open large gift package with care, the paper can be set aside for re-use for other gift-giving occasions. Fancy ribbons and bows, of course, can be stored in a box till next time when you’ll appreciate having them around and not having to buy new ones. Try not to use tapes if you’re going to use ribbon to finish off your wrapping, so that the wrapping paper can be reclaimed, and it’s easier for the recipient to save the wrapping for reuse. There are many options like making Gift bags using fabric scraps, or wrapping can be done using comic strips from the paper, old calendars, maps, posters and more. Bubble wrap can be stored for reuse, or recycled. Foam packing chips are not easily recycled; hence, if you don’t want to store this material for reuse, take it to the nearest courier service who deal in online retail marketing, they will accept it for their own use. Cardboard boxes should be opened flat and set out for recycling; storing and reusing these boxes is even better as no additional energy is used in remanufacturing.
Much of the environmental costs associated with the holidays can be reduced by simple awareness and some pre-planning.
FOR CHRISTMAS CHOOSE A LIVE CHRISTMAS TREE : Although plastic Christmas trees are reusable from year to year, real trees are the more sustainable choice. Plastic trees are made of petroleum products (PVC), and use up resources in both the manufacture and shipping. While artificial trees theoretically last forever, research shows that they are typically discarded when repeated use makes them less attractive. Discarded artificial trees are then sent to landfills, where their plastic content makes them last forever. Live trees, on the other hand, are a renewable resource grown on tree farms, that are replanted regularly. They contribute to air quality while growing, and almost ninety percent are recycled into mulch. Live trees are usually locally grown and sold, saving both transportation costs and added air pollution. Live trees also smell like Christmas!
CONNECT WITH NATURE : Festivals are time for giving, and a time for family. All the festivals we have in India and globally, relate to this common chord of giving. What a great opportunity to start a family tradition of giving back to the earth and instilling the values of sustainable living to your children, friends and community. On any festival we can start an annual, earth-friendly family tradition! It will also get you outdoors for a few hours to build an appetite for the big dinner that always follows our festivities.
ANNUAL FESTIVAL DAY BIRD COUNT : Pickup your binoculars, to local birds, a small pad or journal for each participant and walk a course through your neighbourhood, local park or countryside. Try to identify and count every bird you see, and make a note of it in your journal. At the end of the hike, list the species seen and number of birds per species. There’s always a surprising discovery, and the activity highlights the presence and value of our feathered friends. Compare the results from former years and you’ll love doing this activity and learn fantastic details of local bird population and their migration habits. This is a great family activity because even the youngest eyes are just as good at spotting the birds and contributing to the event.
FAMILY NATURE HIKE : A peaceful walk through nature on the holiday will be remembered and valued more than the cricket match score. Plan your walk before the holiday meal while everyone still has lots of energy.
NATURE RESTORATION ACTIVITY : Planting a small tree together symbolizes the value of nature. An hour spent cleaning up or enhancing a natural area also enriches the giver and acknowledges nature as the source of our well-being.
DECORATE A TREE FOR THE BIRDS : Place seed bells, cones with peanut butter and seed trays on any tree in your yard, preferably a tree in the open. To attract a wide variety of birds, use varied seed types such as black oil sunflower seed, wild bird mixed seed and nyjer seed bells. This is a great activity for kids, and offers an important food source for birds during the winter.
“PLAN WITH YOUR FAMILY A “FESTIVE NATURE’S” DAY!
Thanks & Regards – Team ZENITEX