GREEN Gifts

By Donohue, Meg | Vegetarian Times, November/December 2005 | Go to article overview

GREEN Gifts


Donohue, Meg, Vegetarian Times


Tired of searching for holiday presents? Give eco-conscious gifts this winterand add them to your own wish list.

It's open season in malls across America, a time when even normally eco-conscious shoppers can find themselves sucked into the vortex of mindless consumerism. Not surprisingly, all of those holiday shopping bags, useless knickknacks and excessively packaged electronics have a major impact on the planet: According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the amount of household trash increases 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.

This year, make the season a little greener with gifts that actually give back. We've come up with a slew of fresh, Earth-friendly ideas for every budget that will help ensure holiday cheer not only for the recipient, but for future generations too. Consider it our gift to you-and the planet we call home!

PACKAGE SOME ENERGY

You might not be able to de a ribbon around the wind, rain or sun, but that doesn't mean they won't make excellent presents. With conservation more important every year, it's no wonder that gifts that utilize natural resources are on our wish list this holiday season.

* Give that special someone a WindBuilders gift certificate, and support a turbine on a Native American wind farm. Each level-1 certificate will prevent one ton of carbon dioxide emissions from entering the air by replacing it with clean, renewable wind energy. $15; 800.924.6826; nativeenergy.com

* Grow green gardens with a rain barrel made from recycled materials; the barrel collects and stores 60 gallons of rainwater for future gardening use. $95; 800.940.0187; sprucecreekrainsaver.com/recycledrainbarrel.html

* Embrace the sun with Voltaic's solar-paneled backpack. It converts the sun's rays into energy that can be used to charge cell phones, cameras, PDAs and iPods when you're on the go. $229; 212.627.5012; voltaicsystems.com

ADOPT A CRITTER

What do you get that certain person who has everything? How about a family of gorillas? Or an acre of rain forest? Adopting endangered wildlife and eco-systems may help save some species from extinction and the planet from deforestation.

* Delight animal lovers by sponsoring a furry friend in their honor. Defenders of Wildlife has a wide range of critters-from cottontail bunnies to polar bears-up for adoption. These "adoption" programs protect the lives and habitats of the animal of your choice. For example, Defenders of Wildlife as been working hard to prevent Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from being opened to oil drilling; adopting a snowy owl will aid these efforts ($25; 800.385.9712; defenders.org). For a gift that can be shared by a whole family, splurge and adopt a family of gorillas from The World Wildlife Fund ($100; 202.293.4800; worldwildlife.org). Adoptions at both organizations include a certificate of adoption and a plush toy replica of your new family member.

* The Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving animals and natural habitats, operates a "Rescue the Reef" adoption program that works to save Indonesia's 33,000 square miles of coral reefs from threats such as destructive fishing and coastal development. Remarkably, Indonesia's reef is home to a quarter of the world's fish species and a third of the world's corals. In addition to the pleasure of helping to protect this irreplaceable reef, your gift recipient will enjoy a certificate of adoption and a yearlong subscription to Nature Conservancy magazine. …

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