Making a positive contribution to the world we live in is an amazing feeling all year round, but over Christmas, it really allows us to get into the spirit of the season.
Over the Christmas season, wastage figures rise dramatically. Over these few months, over-indulgence on all fronts is often simply a habit.
We’ve rounded up a few ways to offset the problem and help conserve our beautiful world for future generations.
Incorporate more vegan options
Did you know that the meat industry is one of the most impactful contributors to climate change? Roughly 60% of our land is used to feed livestock for meat production, which often means cutting down large areas of forest, and a pound of meat emits roughly 15 times the CO2 used to farm a pound of peas, corn, or wheat – making meat production contribute around 14% of man-made greenhouse gases.
Here are a few ideas on how to reduce waste this Christmas:
- Try to borrow or hire party or event items that you won’t use again soon
- Consider gifting experiences, donations, or services rather than items with lots of packaging
- Find stores that make items using recycled materials for interesting gifts
- Send e-cards rather than paper ones, and wrap gifts in reusable cloths rather than paper
- Try to estimate food amounts correctly to reduce the amount left over
- Share leftovers with friends or local charities
- Find out about e-waste and other recycling services in your area
- Ask friends and family to only give you an experience, pre-loved or homemade item as a gift
- Try your hand at baking and cooking, to decrease the amount of packaging you’re using
Shop locally and use seasonal ingredients
The carbon emissions caused by trucks and other transport vehicles for food and other items are more significant than we’d like to think about. Find stores that distribute and sell local items for Christmas presents, snacks, food, and decor.
Using seasonal ingredients in your Christmas menu instead of imported fruits and veggies means you automatically cut down on transportation emissions. Building a menu around seasonal and local ingredients can be quite fun, and is sure to impress your guests.
Shop from responsible outlets
Finding stores and services that share the same concerns for the environment that you do, is now easier than ever. Establishments that have responsible waste solutions, use recycled ingredients or products and have made an effort to incorporate local produce often make a good effort to advertise this. Check local Facebook groups, ask neighbors and friends who live nearby, or simply Google search for what you need within a radius that’s convenient for you.
Encourage younger members of the family to be conscious
Lead by example
Christmas provides the perfect time to connect with the younger members of the wider family and lead by example. Showing them what you’ve done and how easy it can be to incorporate environmentally conscious behavior will rub off, especially if you are someone they love, respect, or admire.
Explain – BRIEFLY and without being condescending – what you’re doing and why
Understanding is an important first step for children. Choose your moment wisely – perhaps between activities or in passing over dinner between courses, showing a finite example in front of you on the table as an example.
Try some fun activities that can involve the whole family
Another way to spread these kinds of initiatives is by creating fun activities around them. Get the kids involved in crafty upcycling projects for Christmas decor, or come up with snack ideas and recipes around a seasonal fruit or vegetable.
Cut down on flights and car travel
While this is a tough one, it can often have the biggest impact on the environment. We all feel the need to get away a bit over the festive season and going on holiday to an exotic destination is enticing. However, if you can find a destination within driving or train distance that can provide a similar holiday experience, you’d be doing the ozone layer a favor.
Another way to cut down on travel is by doing a family Christmas event at the location where the majority of the family lives so that fewer people are needing to travel long distances.
Conserve energy where you can
Whether skipping the Christmas lights, insulating your home before the worst of the cold arrives, or getting children involved in more power-free activities instead of hours of Xbox, there are numerous ways to cut back your electricity usage over the festive season.
The spirit of Christmas – doing good for the world
Making even small changes to your Christmas season that cut down emissions will make you feel like you’re truly within the spirit of the season, and help inspire those around you to do the same.