December 16, 2008
Most of us associate the holiday season with winter and all things white – but this year, we here at Greenpeace also want to make it green.
Over the years, other Greenpeace staff members and I have found ways to show our commitment to green principles during the holidays – a season known for contributing the most waste to landfills than any other time of the year. The other day, I asked my colleagues to share their ideas on creating new holiday memories with loved ones while keeping the environment in mind. From our family to yours, here is what we’ve come up with.
“Recycle your gift bags! You can always reuse them for something else… Or even when you give another gift.” – Kala Sharp, Human Resources Associate
“Give gifts of Greenpeace membership!” – Sebastian Jannelli, Direct Marketing Production Coordinator
“Last year, I told my family that instead of gifts, I would appreciate it if they just incorporated something “environmental” into their lives. That Christmas, my aunt and uncle gifted me by deciding to cut down on paper-towel use, while my mother and stepfather said that they would save energy by plastic-sealing the windows of their house and turn off the hot tub for the winter. Others did other things.” – Ben Bliumis, Toxics Campaign Fellow
“Most people don’t need more stuff – so ask your family and friends to contribute to the cause of your choice or theirs – it’s a great feeling and you don’t have to worry about what you are going to do with that weird gift from your Aunt Sally.” – Lisa Finaldi, Campaigns Director
“Support Greenpeace’s efforts to fight global warming so that Santa won’t be homeless when the ice at the North Pole melts. If we are successful, we can turn things around and eventually it will re-freeze!” – John Hocevar, Oceans campaigner
“I use the comics section of the newspaper to wrap my gifts!” – Sandeep Singh, IT Project Manager
“This year, my family has decided not to buy gifts for each other and instead, we are all using the money we would have spent on gifts and sponsoring a local family. We are not doing this to be "green" per se—though it might help to offset my flight home to visit!” – Andrea Carlson, Forests Campaign Assistant
“Gift an experience, rather than a product. A day at a spa or a climbing lesson is much better for the planet.” – Amanda Starbuck, Student Organizing Manager
“Never underestimate the power of a handmade present!” – Sarah Vito, Development Assistant
“You want a greener holiday? Instead of lumps of coal for bad children, give them seven days of hard labor building the clean energy infrastructure of windmills and solar farms… A clean energy revolution built on the backs of bad little kids everywhere. Santa is watching and he likes the environment.” – Nate Stellhorn, Frontline Senior City Coordinator
“Use potted Christmas trees instead of chopping one down… You can even keep the tree year-round.” – John Baker, IT Solutions Specialist
“Holiday greeting cards can be recycled in grade school art projects, but one idea is to start mailing them back with new greetings inside. It’s a fun way to rekindle old memories.” – Bob Meyers, Senior Photo Editor
“Solar-powered LED lights are a far better option than traditional holiday lights.” – Carroll Muffett, Deputy Campaigns Director
“Candles are a beautiful, inexpensive, and lower-carbon alternative to illuminating your home for the holidays.” – Marina Djernaes, Finance Director
“I buy my Christmas ornaments at thrift stores; it’s cheaper, and you get cool vintage decorations.” – Elise Nabors, Regional Canvass Campaign Coordinator
“Put your holiday lights INSIDE the house so they annoy you enough to turn them off and save energy!” – Candace Crespi, Frontline Senior City Coordinator
“A great and green way to engage children young and old – while creating holiday memories – is to have everyone get together to make homemade holiday decorations like popcorn strings, glittered pine cones, and gingerbread houses.” – Josef Palermo, Web Editor
“Instead of buying Christmas stockings, make them out of old, worn-out T-shirts. I made one for each of my roommates, and they love them! It’s even easy for a novice to sew.” – Meg Imholt, Communications intern
“Bake cookies or brownies out of organically grown ingredients and give them as gifts.” – Melanie Duchin, Oceans campaigner
“Why support the meat industry – which contributes more to global warming than the auto industry – this holiday season when you can eat endless organic vegetables and grains?” – Ashley Schaeffer, Greenpeace Organizing Term (GOT) Coordinator
“Source your Christmas dinner with local food and beverages. Not only does it taste better because it’s fresh, but it is packed with more nutrients which are otherwise lost in preservation techniques used to transport foods. You’ll also be helping reduce the carbon emissions associated with trucking food across the country.” – Kate Rooth, Researcher
“Get a keg instead of beer cans for your drunken family Christmas bash.” – Ryan Patterson, Global Warming Campaign Assistant
“You know the food your mom makes that you don’t like? Put it in compost.” – Phil Radford, Grassroots Director
So, you’ve heard from us, but what kinds of things do you do – or what tips/suggestions do you have – for people to observe a more environmentally friendly holiday season this year? Create your own Greenpeace member blog, and share your ideas with us!
I’m really excited to hear what you come up with! Enjoy your holidays this year, and let me be the first to wish you "Season’s Greenings."
Your fellow activist,