An Ethical Christmas Guide
Re-consider all the wrapping paper. Okay, so the act of unwrapping that gift you’ve always wanted (or maybe secretly hate) is totally gratifying. Wrapping paper, along with cards and gift boxes are recyclable yet the 8,000 tons of paper covering the abundance of gifts requires a whopping FIFTY THOUSAND TREES. Be environmentally conscious when it comes to giving, try to use recycled materials and don’t go overboard with ribbons and bows. Have fun and get creative; pages from old books can be re-purposed to make great Christmas cards and cereal boxes can be cut into adorable gift packages. I’ve even discovered a perfect use for old research journal articles!
Don’t get caught up in the Christmas shopping frenzy. Black Friday and Cyber Monday events may offer great deals, but in most cases just encourage consumers to erratically (and sometimes quite barbarically) purchase stupid stuff that no one really needs. From mid-November to the last-minute gift search on Christmas Eve, Australians are projected to spend $48.1 billion this year. Give graciously, but also conscientiously. Embrace your crafty side and make something, scour Salvos or local OP shops to find that perfect recycled item, or give a non-material gift like a donation to the recipients favourite charity (Less Meat Less Heat, perhaps? Click here to donate now!). If you do feel the need to purchase something new, buy fairtrade, support a local artisan, or consider eco-friendly gifts such as a kitchen composter or solar charger. Your consideration and preparation of a truly meaningful gift is far more likely to make an impact on your loved one than the energy and resource-intensive plastic junk you found in the clearance section.
Fill your plate with ethical deliciousness. Trade your centrepiece of Christmas roast beef or lamb shanks for a lower-carbon alternative. Turkey, ham and chicken will be sure to satisfy the hunger of your guests with less of a heating effect on the Earth. If you want to be a total do-gooder this holiday season, consider not only the type of meat but also the conditions in which the animals were raised. Look for 100% Australian meat and try to purchase organic, free-range, pasture-raised or outdoor bred. Better yet, consider December 25th as a perfect time to try out a vegetarian or vegan meal! The internet is full of plant-based main dishes that can be served to even the most carnivorous of family members. If you’re feeling really confident with your culinary skills, try veganizing your favourite Christmas cookies by substituting eggs and butter with flax seeds, bananas and coconut oil.
Reducing your meat and dairy consumption this holiday season is one of the most effective ways to reduce your environmental impact. Discussing the consequences of the typical Western diet with your relatives may encourage some climate-friendly New Year’s Resolutions. The best gift you can give yourself, your friends and family, and the planet is a 2017 with more Climatarians!