We’re right in the throes of the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go green or stay green. Use this complete guide to discover how you can continue to practice green living during the busy and chaotic holiday season.
Traveling is a major part of the holiday season, and one of the most important ways we can practice our green living prowess. From more eco-friendly flying to simply adjusting your travel times, here are a few great ways to travel green this winter.
Do you really need both of those massive wool coats for your 1 week trip to your mother-in-laws? (You might. I won’t judge you.) No matter how you’re traveling, packing more items means more weight, which translates into a higher fuel bill and bigger carbon footprint. Try packing only what you need and being realistic about your packing needs and journey.
Carrying a lot of presents for the family with you? Don’t. Mail the packages ahead. If you don’t have a residential address and are staying somewhere like a local hotel, send less expensive gifts ahead and mark the package “Hold For: (Your Name)” with a date. Then call ahead and make sure you let the front desk know that you will soon have packages arriving for your stay.
Pick the Greenest Method
In most cases, you have the power to choose how you travel. Trains, buses and carpools use less fuel than air trips and single-occupancy vehicles. Cut down on the emissions by picking the greenest way to get from point A to point B.
Maintain Your Vehicle
Make sure your car is getting regular attention and make sure to take it in for a complete tune-up before any long distance traveling. Just making sure your car has regular oil changes and inflated tires could improve the fuel efficiency of your vehicle by as much as 8%.
Avoid Peak Travel Times
Not only will avoiding peak travel times cut your stress down this holiday season, it also helps save the planet. Avoiding high traffic times cuts down on the amount of time you spend idling, therefore reducing the amount of fuel you use and your carbon footprint.
Along the same lines as using less fuel in traffic, driving defensively instead of offensively can help cut down on fuel use and reduce your impact on the planet. Aggressive driving can cut down your fuel efficiency by as much as 33% highway and 5% city.
No Layovers or Redeyes
Frequent take-offs and landings use more fuel, and pollutant emitted during night flights are even more corrosive to the environment. Try booking your flights earlier and going for direct flights (where possible). Earlier flights are more likely to be on time and bear less of an impact on the Earth.
You don’t have to sacrifice your green living commitment just because of your holiday social engagements. Shopping locally, baking from scratch and adding a few more veggies (and a bit less meat) are only a few ways you can live green this holiday time.
Shop the Winter Farmer’s Market
Winter farmer’s markets are growing in popularity and allow you to support local farms and procure healthier, cleaner, safer produce. Shopping with local farmers not only stimulates your local economy, but it also reduces your carbon footprint. Veggies having a shorter distance to travel means less emissions getting them to your dinner table. Everybody wins.
Sadly, almost all turkeys in America are raised on factory farms under crowded conditions that involve overfeeding with the aim of producing larger birds, faster. By contrast, an organic turkey is one that is raised humanely without antibiotics. Check out LocalHarvest to find an organic turkey farm near you or consider purchasing a heritage breed.
More and more spirit companies are choosing to go green with their brewing and distilling processes. Local wineries are a great place to discover new and flavorful wines made with small-batch, sustainable processes. If local varieties aren’t available to you, check out this green wine guide to help you make some tasty, healthy picks.
Bake it Up…From Scratch!
Start an all-season garden in your yard. Produce like sweet potatoes, rhubarb, and pumpkins are in season from late-fall to early-winter in most of the country. Check out these organic pumpkin pie and rhubarb pie recipes. They’re tasty, healthy and fun for the whole family to prep and bake.
Read Your Labels
If you’re shopping at a regular grocery store, look for stickers and signage that tell you where your produce is from – and if it’s organic – before you buy.
In our ultra-modern, capitalist society, it’s easy to get caught up in gifting the newest and latest trends and fashions. But holiday shopping doesn’t have to punch a hole in the ozone or your wallet. Try these incredibly simple tips to give a little green to your family and friends this winter.
Shop Local (Surprise!)
Shopping local stimulates your local economy, reduces your carbon impact and helps keep your money in the hands of the people and businesses that mean the most to you and your family. Visit local farmer’s markets and purchase local crafts and supplies from artisans local crafters. If you can, travel by bike, bus or on foot to even further reduce your environmental footprint.
Give Vintage Chic
Remember to check out your local thrift stores and secondhand shops for great and unusual finds. Bring along your gently used clothing and goods to make a donation too.
Santa Always Checks His List Twice…
Good research will help you buy products that will last longer and help you stick to your budget. Look for Energy Star, USDA Organic, Forest Stewardship Council, and Fair Trade certified items – these labels are monitored by trusted organizations.
Bring a Bag From Home
Bring reusable bags and totes while holiday shopping. While you’re at it, tell your cashier to hold off on the excess tissue paper and free boxes.
Give Back to the Environment
Shopanthropy makes it easy to give to EarthShare and your other favorite charities while shopping online, and with no added cost at checkout. Just choose EarthShare from their charity list and a percentage of your purchases will automatically go to support our work.