Ideas for Happier, Healthier Holiday Gift Giving
Stumped for ideas for holiday gifts for people who have everything? The “coolest” present this year just might be an eco-friendly gift. Reduce the stuff, avoid the mall, solve your gift list problems, and enjoy the holidays! Here are some ideas from Lexington’s Global Warming Action Coalition to get you started.
Give the gift of clean, renewable wind energy. Through the New England Wind Fund, a program of Mass Energy Consumers Alliance, you can make gift donations to build wind turbines in New England, in the names of your loved ones, friends, or business colleagues on your gift list. A gift card will be mailed to you. (Go to http://www.newenglandwind.org.) Best of all, the value of your tax-deductible gift is tripled. The Commonwealth’s Mass Technology Collaborative matches your gift in a fund for the town of Lexington to use for energy efficient programs, and in addition matches it again in a fund for low-income area energy efficiency programs. (If enough Lexington residents sign up before March 31st, Lexington will earn a free solar panel installation for the high school.) Find more information on New England Wind on the GWAC website. (www.lexwac.org.)
Consider these environmentally friendly stocking stuffers. Compact Fluorescent bulbs: if every household in Lexington replaced just one incandescent bulb, our community would reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by N.E. power plants by a half million pounds annually. CFL’s are available locally or, for a wider selection, go to www.estarlights.com. Reliable tire-pressure gauge: keeping tires at the manufacturer’s recommended pressure improves mileage, and increases the life of your tires. GWAC’s colorful string bags to replace resource-consuming paper or plastic bags: email info@ lexgwac.org to purchase. The just-released DVD of Al Gore’s movie The Inconvenient Truth. Your own gift coupons: give the gift of help, such as babysitting, raking, weeding, cooking, and on and on.
Keep your gifts local: support Lexington events and drive less. (Every gallon of gasoline consumed emits twenty-four pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere!) Consider a subscription to the Lexington Sinfonietta, or Winsor Music concerts at Follen Church, gift certificates for the Lexington Flick, donations to the Lexington Tree Fund, and more.
Check out environmental organizations. NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) has a thoughtful and useful article with many eco-friendly suggestions on their website. (www.nrdc,org). A quote: “No one wants to give up on the holidays or the sense of abundance that the season bestows. The only question is how to be generous without bankrupting the earth.” Adopt an animal on the World Wildlife Fund website (www.worldwildlife.org) There are forty animals to choose from; with a donation of $50 or more you get a small plush version of your adoptee. National Wildlife Federation (www.nwf.org) sells Christmas ornaments and plants a tree for every ornament you buy. Environmental Defense (www.environmentaldefense.org) has lots of suggestions for green gifts.
A gift that keeps on giving is a membership in one of the following environmental organizations: NRDC, World Wildlife Fund, Union of Concerned Scientists, National Wildlife Federation, Mass Audubon. They all have excellent newsletters or magazines.
For the readers on your gift list, GWAC members highly recommend these books:
Divine Wind, the History and Science of Hurricanes – a beautiful book by Lexington’s Kerry Emanuel, world expert on hurricanes.
Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature and Climate Change -by New Yorker staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert.
An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It - by Al Gore (in paperback).
PLAN B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble - Lester Brown’s influential and practical guide to saving the planet from climate change.
Collapse – Jared Diamond’s masterful recounting of the collapse of several historic civilizations due largely to environmental causes.
The Weather Makers – How Man is Changing the Climate and What it Means for Life on Earth – by Tim Flannery, a compelling and comprehensive narrative of why the climate is changing.
Best of all: make a gift to future generations. Start a meaningful annual tradition for your family this holiday. Join The Lexington Challenge: a Call to Action to Lexington residents to reduce your household’s greenhouse gas emissions. Go to www.lexgwac.org and follow our user-friendly action plan. Start with our carbon calculator to determine your household’s annual carbon emissions footprint. Then plan together as a family how to reduce and offset your carbon footprint, using our comprehensive website. Make this a landmark holiday season that your family will remember with pride.
Brought to you by Lexington Global Warming Action Coalition. Check our website www.lexgwac.org for upcoming talks and our film series. For a brochure on The Lexington Challenge and our handy 20 Easy Steps to Take guide, email info @lexgwac.org