9 Ways to Go Green This Holiday Season
As fun and as wonderful as they are, the holidays can be really hard on our planet. From the festive lights to excess consumption and travel, there’s no denying the added pressure on resources from Thanksgiving all the way to Valentine’s.
So how can we keep our commitment to nourishing and protecting the planet during the holiday season? Simple.
There are endless little (and big) things your household can do to reduce their environmental footprint this holiday season. Here are 9 of our communities’ favourite ways:
Skip the pumpkin carving, unless you plan to eat it afterwards
Eighty-thousand tonnes of pumpkins are grown in Canada each year, but the majority of them are never eaten. Rather, they become craft activities and temporary decor that are then tossed into landfills and sometimes composts.
The decomposition of all these pumpkins produces greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Plus, it’s food wasted. Pumpkins are excellent sources of vitamin A and antioxidants. Their seeds contain protein and are delicious when lightly roasted. So this year, why not go green by eating your pumpkin instead of just letting it rot?
Get a timer for your festive LED lights, or forgo them
Let’s be honest, sometimes we run these kinds of colourful lights when we really shouldn’t. I mean, do they really need to be on all night long, shining into the street at 4 in the morning? Probably not. Timers allow us to take control of our electricity usage in a convenient and practical way.
You can schedule them on when you come home from work or when you first wake up, then turn them off during the daytime and deep night hours.
Of course there’s always the other green option of just forgoing the festive lights altogether.
Consider serving less meat
We can lower our household’s environmental footprint by reducing total meat consumption. For families who are heavily reliant on meat, they can consider making it the centerpiece of the meal but excluding it from any sides. Others may find it more practical to do meatless nights a few times a week. This can prove a great way to get the family or friends together and cook some new plant-based recipes.
Shop local and support sustainable businesses
Whether it’s the food you’re potlucking or the gifts you’re packing to parties, we need to continue with conscious spending practices during this highly-commercialized time of year. Look to local businesses and eco-friendly brands to fill your shopping needs. If you need some assistance, check out the next point.
Mind your labels
Eco-friendly certification labels make finding green products easier than ever. Look for these labels like Organic, Fair Trade, and Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
Reduce your use of plastic food wraps
We know plastics are destroying the world’s oceans and leaching toxins into our food. As we learn more, we understand the ecological and health reasons in making sustainable switches to plastic-free options. For food wrapping, consider beeswax wraps or glass container options.
Donate to green causes
Helping others continue the green cause is an honourable way to celebrate the planet this holiday season. There are endless organizations conducting incredible research on climate change, species loss, and food security that depend on gracious giving.
Check your temperature
Before you turn up your heat this holiday season, see if a sweater and socks or slippers would do the trick for you instead. Oftentimes when we’re cold, we think we need to heat the whole house. This is costly and wasteful as well. Turning the temperature down a few notches makes a big difference on your overall impact.
Example: Decreasing your household temperature by just 1 degree can save 300kg of CO2 a year, not to mention save you money.
DIY or even upcycle your gifts
If you have some time and a creative side, you can do the planet a big favour by making your gifts. Your loved ones will be touched at the effort and you’ll feel good knowing your giving to others while honouring your commitment to the planet.
Some cute ideas we love include:
- DIY seed balls from water, seeds, and newspaper
- Home-sewn produce or book bags
- Knitted hats, scarves, and mitts
- Customized spice mixes in glass jars
Dry soup mix in mason jars with recipe labels