We’re sure that you — like us — have been trying to Simplify your life. Perhaps you’re simplifying because of the economy. Perhaps you’re simplifying because you’ve become aware of the burden that excess consumption is placing on our planet, and on people in third world nations.
This holiday season, we invite you to join us in this different, more meaningful approach.
One of the most important green purchasing strategies actually costs you nothing:
Before buying anything, ask yourself …
Do I really need and want this? Can I get by without it?
Is it made from renewable or nonrenewable resources?
Is it made of recycled materials and is it recyclable?
How long will it last and how will I dispose of it?
Can it be maintained and repaired?
Could I borrow it, rent it, or buy it secondhand?
Is it overpackaged?
Is it worth the time I worked to pay for it and its cost to the environment?
The Tools of Transition
Make it easier for your recipient to join the path toward future lifestyles.
Give a garden: vegetable seeds or rooted clippings from your own garden. Garden tools. Food gardening books like John Jeavons’ How to Grow More Vegetables or Yana-Shapiro’s Gardening for the Sake of the Earth. Our gardening how-to guides.
For an apartment or condo dweller, make it Guerra’s Edible Container Garden and include a terracotta pot. Add an article about why local food is so important. Cloth napkins or canvas bags, to encourage Reuse. Include a printout of our article “Dispense with Disposables“.
Give a membership to a local community-supported farm, commonly known as a CSA. This one makes a long-lasting gift for the whole family.
Education: send your friend to a workshop to learn valuable skills for a survivable future. Many local gardens now offer sessions on how to grow food. Permaculture educators offer an integrated world view. Tai Chi and yoga instructors convey skills of balance and harmony which will last a lifetime.
Contributions in honor
Make a charitable donation in honor of the person, rather than giving physical gifts of consumer items. We like the following worthy causes:
Heifer International. Operating on the concept of “teach a man to fish,” your smallest donations give a flock of geese, or a share of a goat, together with training in animal husbandry, to a needy family in a third world country. www.heifer.org
Ecology Action. Your donation helps educate community organizers from least-developed nations in sustainable mini-farming – how to grow healthy food for their people while saving the world’s resources. www.growbiointensive.org
TreePeople. You can plant a tree in L.A.’s urban forest in honor of your loved one. As well as beautifying our environment, trees help counteract the effects of global warming. www.treepeople.org
Kiss the Ground. A newer organization that promotes healthy soil, and carbon sequestration (reversing global warming by capturing carbon in live soils) https://kisstheground.com/
Local causes. Perhaps there is a group in your local neighborhood that is trying to build a community garden, or trying to raise awareness of the need to transition our lifestyles.
Make your own wrapping paper – newspaper with painted or crayoned designs on it. Tie with natural jute twine or grasses you’ve collected and dried. Add a sprig of pine, rosemary, holly, toyon or holly berries. (idea thanks to Eco-Home Network)
Try Furoshiki … traditional Japanese package wrapping uses REUSEABLE cloth rather than single-use paper. Use a bandanna or a thrift store tablecloth. The secret: the wrap must be square; a rectangle won’t work. Here is how to fold and tie it.
Buy local for your holiday dinners. Get as much of your food as possible from farmer’s markets, community gardens, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA’s), and urban homegrown food. Fresh local food tastes better, field-ripened local food is usually more nutritious, plus it supports local farmers that we need for our future!