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Twelve Green Gifts to Give your True Love (and Everybody Else) this Holiday Season. Long Version.

1. A copy of Drawdown.

In case you can’t read it, the pink sticky note says

Dear True Love,

Happy Holidays!

Yours forever, on a sustainable planet.

Heart heart heart.

2. Membership or a donation to The Sierra Club, Moms Clean Air Force or Natural Resources Defense Council, among many others. Numerous organizations are committed to fighting climate change and protecting our natural resources.

3. Reusable mugs or containers to take home leftovers and reduce food waste. Throw in a set of reusable cutlery and cotton cloth napkins to make a zero waste lunch for the next day. (It has been illegal for restaurants to use containers brought in by the public. This is now legal in California, and may be voted on soon in New York. Technically, it is not illegal for customers to bring home leftovers in their own containers.)

4. A kitchen compost container, under sink or backyard compost system or a year’s subscription to a local compost service to reduce powerful methane emissions due to landfill of food waste.

5. A tree seed, seedling, or young tree to plant. Or purchase carbon offsets to fund projects to remove greenhouse gases; this could include developing renewable energy, capturing methane from landfills or livestock, or distributing cleaner cooking stoves. (To help ensure that your offsets are reputable look for certifications like The Gold Standard or Green-e.)

6. A vegetarian or vegan cookbook. More vegetarian or vegan meals can help the planet by reducing the impacts of livestock production including greenhouse gas emissions from cows or sheep. And you could save money—beans cost way less than beef. And you could enjoy health benefits.

7. Warm sweater, socks, vest or blanket to wear in a chilly house. (Not microfiber fleece that is made out of plastic and adds tiny bits to the laundry water.) Setting your thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer and only heating and cooling when home reduces energy, saves money and is actually better for your health. (A smart thermostat is also a great gift and takes advantage of the RG&E rebates.)

8. A produce share in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) to reduce food transportation miles. A famous study found that this is not as much of an impact on climate change as eating one vegetarian meal a week, but still, it’s a good idea and supports local agriculture, making you aware of where your food comes from and in touch with local farmers.

9. An electric car! Or a bike, electric bike, scooter, city bus passes, personal voucher for Uber/Lyft rides or reflective walking vest all of which could help reduce your consumption of fossil fuels for transportation.

10. Cotton string shopping bags.

This is not such a big impact on climate change but likely good for the environment, and very useful if you live in a state where plastic bags are banned.

11. An invitation to attend your city or town council meeting, to observe or to speak. Participating in our democracy is a great way to drive change and feel empowered.

12. A ride to your favorite climate action meeting (RAICA? RPCC? CCL? Pachamama?) along with lunch or dinner. It’s amazing how good it feels to be surrounded by good folk, working for a critically important good cause.

Thanks to collaboration from Jackie Ebner.

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