10 Tips on Celebrating an Eco-friendly Holiday Season

by December 23, 2013
filed under Activism, Life

Christmas tree with presents and fireplace with stockings

Over the years more and more information has been released by scientists, environmentalists and activists about the damage humans have done to the environment. Now more than ever it is important to critically look at our actions and the products we buy in order to do our part to help the planet. I know it can be overwhelming to know where to start, so here are 10 steps you can take this holiday season to start helping the planet into the new year.

1. Buy local/support small businesses
If possible, support local, small businesses during this holiday season. When you support a local business you support your community. A lot of the time small shops have products made by local artists and/or artisanal items. Supporting small businesses and local producers cuts down on your own carbon footprint because the products were not shipped or flown from hundreds to thousands of miles away.

2. Buy organic
Buying organic food and products is no longer a fad. Research complied over the years has shown organic food is better for you, animals and the planet. Organic food and products are produced to lessen the carbon footprint on our planet by limiting the amount of pesticides farmers use on the crops. We know high levels of pesticides harm the planet and our bodies, leading to nervous system damage and disruptions to the endocrine system (hormones). Buying organic when you can afford to do so and/or have access to it will help your health, animals and the planet.

3. Eat vegan
Eating a vegan diet is one of the most important things you can do to cut down on your impact on the planet. The devastation of the meat industry on our planet with runoff contaminating our oceans and drinking water is unsustainable. A vegan diet full of whole foods is sustainable and a healthy alternative to animal products. Think about this, one vegan meal saves around 3,000 gallons of water.

4. Carpool to holiday parties or take public transportation
If you have holiday parties to attend this season, offer to carpool with your friends or family. I remember going to family holiday parties as a kid and everyone brought their own cars. It’s a waste of money, and every time you don’t turn your engine on makes a difference. If you have access, public transportation is a great alternative because it’s cheaper and more eco-friendly.

5. Make your own gifts
This one may be difficult if you aren’t creative but this may be the year you hone in on your creativity. Food and baked goods are always a favorite – who doesn’t love getting yummy food? It shows you put the time and love into creating a one of a kind gift.

6. Limit plastic
It’s easy to slack off during the holiday season, but it’s important to keep an eco-friendly lifestyle during this time of year. It may be easier to grab plastic water bottles or use plastic products instead of reusable cups and plates. In the long run it does more destruction to our planet and health. Take the time to fill up your reusable water bottle and bring out the reusable plates for holiday dinners.

7. Invest in a fake Christmas tree
Investing in a fake Christmas tree is a better investment long term for your wallet and the planet. Cutting down trees every year to put up for a month, then throwing them away is unsustainable. Think about investing in a fake tree.

8. Recycle
The holidays are filled with gift bags, cardboard boxes and more paper products than we know what to do with. Online shopping makes it easier to purchase gifts that arrive at our front door but with online shopping comes tons and tons of cardboard boxes. Recycle these boxes with your recycle pick-ups if you have one or find the nearest local recycling center.

9. Upcycle
Use old products and materials you may have lying around your house to create something new. Use that old broken down basket you have and turn it into a new, fabulous basket you can fill with homemade goodies or a special gift for a friend or family member.

10. Love
You may not think this is an eco-friendly tip for the holidays, but I think love is super important. When we love we are better able to educate others about our lifestyle in a loving way. I know when I first went vegan I was angry about my family and friends not being vegan or wanting to become vegan. I questioned why others didn’t see the injustices I saw. Once I developed a loving relationship towards other people’s choices, I felt better about having conversations that weren’t rooted in anger. Remember most of us were not born fabulous eco-vegan experts but learned from someone else or self-educated.

Participating in a couple of these tips will greatly help the planet. I know not all of these tips are possible to accomplish this holiday season, but just doing little actions like recycling will make a difference. Here’s to a happy, healthy and eco-friendly holiday season!

Read more great posts on being eco-friendly at The Envigirls.

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