Have A Green, Green Christmas

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By BETTY BENTLEY WATSON for the Glenn Environmental Committee

Making those Lists…..

‘Tis the season of Lists! List-making begins for me at Thanksgiving, with a mental tally of what I’ll say as we each share what we are especially thankful for this year, my favorite ritual of the family Thanksgiving table. Every year, the seasons surprise me, and I marvel at nature’s colors – and this year, breathe an earnest thanks that global warming has not (yet?) destroyed the seasons.

So, as a member of the Glenn Environmental Committee, my next list must be “How to Have a Green Christmas!” Here’s a start:

• Swap out old Christmas tree lights for LED light strings, use candles or solar powered decorations where possible

• Feast on a more plant-based diet and eat less meat (especially, cut out or cut down on beef consumption)

• Compost food waste through Compost Now or otherwise

• Consider electronic holiday cards instead of paper; make sure that actual cards are from recycled paper and are further recyclable

• Use natural decorations indoors and out (less electricity, more recyclables)

• Decorate a living Christmas tree – and then plant it

• When giving lotions and potions, go organic and natural, avoid troublesome ingredients (Here's a list)

• Buy the most earth-friendly version of gifts available – consider materials, ingredients, packaging, whether it can be re-used or recycled, whether it’s made locally

• Give presents in reusable fabric bags instead of using wrapping paper or paper bags

• Recycle all shipping boxes, packaging materials, and gift wrap

• Recycle the Christmas tree AND wreath! Florists love to get used wire wreath frames!

And what about those gifts?? Here’s a list of Green gift ideas:

• A month ($29 to $35) or more of composting service from Compost Now

• Vegetarian or vegan cookbooks

• Vegetarian restaurant gift cards

• Snazzy stainless steel or glass water bottles and food containers (avoid plastic!)

• Sheets, towels, wooden products - anything made with bamboo (it gobbles carbon!)

• Organic and unbleached cotton products

• A gift that takes the lucky recipient outdoors

• A clothes drying rack

• Home Depot/Lowe’s gift card for LED light bulbs (not just for the holidays)

• Plant a tree! Check out the options at Trees Atlanta

• A home energy audit

• A selection from the Glenn Alternative Giving Catalog

• Mechanical or other timers for lights; motion-based light switches or controls

• An experience, adventure, or class, instead of more “stuff”

• Stainless steel or glass straws

• Low-flow showerheads or faucets

• The gift of time – pledge to do errands, cook meals, or just spend time with your friend or loved one

• A rain barrel

• “Upcycled” clothing, jewelry, etc., made from re-purposed materials

• Reusable and washable fabric tote bags/grocery bags (Trader Joe’s has great prices)

• A smart thermostat for your home or office

• An electric or regular bicycle or scooter

• A vacation by train or boat (instead of by plane)

• An electric plug-in vehicle or a hybrid electric/gas car (give this one to yourself!)

• Something made by YOU!

The ultimate gift of love in the person and the life of Jesus was the simplest and most powerful gift. As we love God and our neighbors, friends, and family this season, we remember that giving of ourselves is the most treasured and needed gift of all.

So what’s the point of a Green Christmas? The Earth is here for all of us, and when we reduce our carbon footprint on Earth, we share its bounties with others in a more fair and equitable way. The news tells us that climate change is coming on stronger and sooner, with disastrous consequences for many, many people. We can love all people by being kinder to the Earth. Even small efforts and practices add up to reverse global warming, by your actions and your example to others. Check out www.drawdown.org and see.

Now for that New Year’s Resolution List. Why not join the Glenn Environmental Committee for a greener 2019? We have a lot of fun and we are broadening our creation care impact considerably - join us, for your own sake and for others’! Contact Lynn Speno and we’ll see you in January.