All i Want for Christmas is Climate Action
Christmas is just around the corner and while this is a time for relaxation, quality time with friends and family, and lazy days at home, it’s also a time that has significant environmental costs
According to a study by Biffa (1), 227,000 miles of wrapping paper are thrown away and 6 million Christmas trees are discarded every year. A U.S study (2) found that each person produces an additional 1,400 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions which is the equivalent to approximately 3 weeks of driving. Furthermore, consumption levels are at an all time high during the festive season and relentless marketing ploys convince us that we must excessively buy in order to enjoy ourselves.
We all deserve to have fun this Christmas, especially given the amount of stress and uncertainty that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought into our lives. Fortunately, we’re not going to go into full Grinch mode and cancel Christmas, but we have put together 14 simple tips and tricks that will help you have a greener Christmas.
- Opt for a live potted Christmas tree over an artificial tree or buying a live tree that will have to be thrown out in January.
- Ditch traditional wrapping paper and try reusing gift bags and boxes, wrapping gifts in fabric, or using brown paper/old newspapers to wrap gifts.
- Gift experiences over physical presents (for example: cinema passes, restaurant vouchers, airbnb vouchers, or tickets to a gig or sporting event).
- Opt for a plant-based Christmas dinner. A traditional Christmas dinner with turkey has more than double the carbon emissions compared to a vegan nut roast.
- Minimise food waste by using your leftovers in new recipes, planning out your christmas menu and sticking to it, and sharing what you make with friends and neighbours.
- Reduce your plastic consumption and say no to Christmas crackers this year.
- There are countless health benefits of green spaces so make sure you go out and enjoy nature this holiday season.
- Register to vote! Without political action, we will not be able to mitigate climate change so make sure you’re registered to vote and support those who are pushing for climate action.
- Be energy smart and opt for LED light bulbs (which are more energy efficient) and use timers on your lights to cut down your electricity bill and your carbon footprint.
- Rewear your Christmas jumper from last year, swap jumpers with friends if you want a ‘new’ one, and shop your wardrobe to find a sustainable Christmas outfit.
- Instead of buying new decorations, try your hand at upcycling old decorations you already have, or crafting your very own ornaments from scratch.
- Avoid unnecessary air miles and buy locally grown and produced food.
- Eating with the seasons will make your food shop a lot more sustainable while supporting local growers and your local economy.
Last, lobby your politicians! The power of individual sustainable actions should not be understated. However, if we want to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we need change on all levels. Lobby your politicians to take immediate and radical action to combat the ongoing climate crisis. System change not climate change.
Christmas doesn’t have to cost the earth. Strive to take these small steps to minimise your environmental impact this festive season.