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Celebrating a Green Christmas

Introduction

Consumption always increases during festivals, and in India given the religious diversities, these patterns upsurge on several occasions all year through. Some of the key areas of consumption revolve around food, clothing, decorations and lighting, fire crackers and gifts etc. Voracious shopping is regarded to be unsustainable on account of several reasons, such as resource depletion, adoption of production practices that are harmful to the environment, huge carbon footprints on account of transport of raw materials and finished products.

Celebrating a Green Christmas


Here are some suggestions that will help reduce the environmental impact during this festive season.

Gift smartly
  • Why gift stuff that only addresses materialism? You could invest in gifting your loved ones an experience that stays fora lifetime rather than material items that end up in the landfills. Examples are; paying for a paragliding experience, water sports, trekking, bungee jumping, nature trails, spa & wellness, beauty & personal care, movie/musical/drama tickets etc. Alternatively, you can make your own gifts that will also be family time activity, promote local culture and traditions and simultaneously be eco-friendly.
  • We should constantly tell ourselves that're-gifting is perfectly fine'. If you receive something you don't really need, look for opportunities where you can pass it on to someone who can use and value it.
  • Buy local, organic and ethically made products/services, which in most cases are unique, come with less packaging and shipping costs, thus helping us produce less waste.
Get 'Earthy' this Christmas!
  • Connect with nature by planning family time in the outdoors, such as planting trees together and would help negate the impacts of cutting down Casuarina tress. Relaxing in local landscapes or cleaning up public/natural spaces helps us in connecting to nature.
  • Create a small Christmas corner in your garden/balcony for birds and other animals by placing seeds/food trays, water bowls, old rugs etc.
Be cool, think green!
  • Avoid cutting Casuarina trees for Christmas and instead use a live potted tree that can be used for several years. You could replant it when it becomes too large to handle.
  • Save electricity to share it with those who have no access to electricity. Use energy efficient lighting such as LED lamps, where possible. Power down the decorative lighting during bedtime.
  • Why not wrap your gifts with newspaper. Be creative and craft your own gift wrappers using discarded material such as old calendars, posters, colourful fabric scraps and decorate the same with natural materials such as strings, dried flowers and leaves, etc. As a standard practice, avoid materials like shiny or glossy paper that is difficult to recycle.

So let's gift wisely and ensure that we celebrate nature through Christmas, and thus strive to give a better planet as a Christmas gift to our future generation.

Tips to be a Sustainable Consumer

  • Need and want - We need to distinguish between what we need and what we want. What we need is something that we cannot do without, and so those products should not be compromised.
  • Buy local - Reduce the carbon foot print of transport by buying local products, as well as contributing to the livelihood of local producers.
  • Buy products with less packaging - Packaging is essential as it provides details about the product, its usage and also serves to protect and preserve the product. However, packages do result into waste, and hence opt for products that have less packaging or are made up of recyclable material.
  • Buy products with longer shelf life - Raw materials, production and distribution process all entail the use of natural resources. Hence, there is a need to optimise the use of materials by buying products with longer shelf life.
  • Purchase in bulk - When products are bought in small quantities it results in creation of waste post consumption, hence it is more 'eco'- nomical to buy products in bulk.

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