Have an eco-friendly, climate conscious Christmas

This year the news about climate change has really ramped up.  They say things are progressing faster than we thought.  And that is not good news.  However, we can take the challenge of climate change and turn it into something positive.  To overcome this potential disaster means learning to live in harmony with our planet and stop seeing our planet as an unlimited resource from which we can take, take and take without consequence.

So how does this relate to your Christmas this year?  Well we can’t keep going on with business as usual.  If we do so it will kill not our planet but us.  The time has come that we all need to make some changes and what better time to start than the season of goodwill.  Let’s make it a season of goodwill not only to mankind but also to our planet.

Here are somethings you can do to have a Merry Christmas without harming our world.

If you can have a vegan main meal. 
There are some amazing recipes for things like lentil loaf and nutloaf.  These are really good and a great substitution to your roast ham or turkey or whatever your meat of choice is.  You can find some recipes on line if you want to make it yourself or you can buy one.  Just google vegan Christmas meal and see the amazing things that show up.

Eating Vegan is also a lighter way to eat so you will feel lighter and healthier after the meal instead of that feeling that you have eaten too much and just need to have a sleep.

Here is a great article to get you started.  https://www.veganfoodandliving.com/features/17-vegan-roast-dinner-recipes-ready-for-christmas/

No one has ever died from missing a meal that has meat in it.  However, you don’t want to cause yourself too many problems if you have some die-hard meat eaters coming to your table.  If you really feel you need to have meat please make it a small part of the meal with loads of vegetable options so your meat loving friends can at least try something new and it will reduce your carbon footprint for the meal.

There are some amazing fake meat products available now.  There are specialty stores that you can purchase them in, or online and even your local supermarket will probably  have something

If you feel like it you could include a bit of education into way you have changed your Christmas menu.  One of the greatest contributors to greenhouse gases is animal agriculture.  So be reducing or better still replacing the meat you are doing great things for our planet.  We are also moving into a more human and compassionate society and not killing animals needlessly is a far more compassionate way to eat.

Don’t buy cheap plastic junk for kids.
Cheap plastic toys may bring a few minutes of pleasure before they break or are lost and forgotten, but they will be around as toxic waste for hundreds of years. They could also end up in the oceans killing of our marine wildlife.  The final reason for avoid them is the they are made from petrol chemicals and use energy to make them.  Instead of dozens of cheap toys find a few quality ones that your kids will love and appreciate.  And an even better present for your kids costs nothing – your love and time.  Spend quality time with your kids and you are building precious memories of a lifetime for both you and them.

The Great Christmas tree debate.
Which is better an artificial tree or a live tree?  Whenever you are trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle there are always so many questions, compromises and conflicts.  To keep this brief, I will just say neither of them are very eco-friendly.  Better options are building your own from recycled materials or have a small potted pine or fur that you can bring inside and decorate each year.  When I was growing up, we had a blue spruce in a large pot and each year it would come inside and celebrate Christmas with us.

Natural Compostable Decorations.
Nature provides us with such an array of beauty that are energy free and compostable. And it can be fun taking the kids out to collect these natural items and them take them home and find ways to decorate with them.  Then after Christmas they can go straight into the compost bin.

Don’t use throw away items.
I know that it is so much more convenient to be able to scoop everything and throw it in the trash at the end of the meal.  But this convivence is killing us.  Not only is it a waste of our precious resources that end up in landfill but again it takes energy to produce all those plastic or paper plates, napkins, cutlery etc.  So try it the old fashioned way.  Washing and drying dishes can be a great way to catch up with family and friends.  Or as the case maybe these days – stacking and unstacking the dishwasher.

Wrapping presents.
Another major waste of resources is present wrapping.  Look for alternatives – like wrapping in newspaper, or reusable bags or boxes.  My sister has a huge pile of scarves she wraps presents in.  We all know we have to return them to her at the end of the day.  Again this can be a good time of a little education on why you have forgone the typical Christmas wrapping: letting your guest know that you are starting to do your part to reduce climate change and that we all need to work together and make changes.  But the changes don’t have to mean we are missing out.  In fact, it can mean we gain more by living more compassionate, mindful and connected lives.  We can rediscover what is really important in life and get away from our meaningless, shallow, self-centered, lonely lives that so many of u our suffering through today.

Here is a video on how to wrap your presents using cloth.  It is called Furoshiki and comes from Japan

Presence instead of presents.
This Christmas take some time to really connect with your family and friends. Precious moments shared can mean so much more than some cheap gifted grabbed on the way because you know you have to get Aunt Mable something.  If you really listen and care about the people you are with you can make them feel special – this is a gift that they will carry with them forever.  By the way I am not saying don’t give presents but know they are many things more valuable than a material thing.

Have fun and play games with the kids.  They will enjoy this much more than some junky plastic toy that they sit and play with by themselves.  Try to have some games that the whole family can get involved with.  In my family on Christmas afternoon we play board games, card games, table tennis, billiards and bocce.  If you are really stuck google some family games on google.  Your kids will adore spending some quality fun time with you and other adults.  They need to see that even as an adult you can be fun and silly at times.

To survive through climate change we are going to need a strong bond with our local community. We will only survive if we all pull together.  And you can begin this Christmas.  If you have a neighbor who you know will be alone why not invite them to join in your festivities?  Christmas can be the worst time of year for some people and you have the power to reach out to someone and turn it from the worst to the best.  You could make a fab new friend.  Of course, you do need to use common sense and good judgment when inviting people you don’t know very well into your home.

Most people don’t like change and may feel threatened by your new Christmas outlook.  So, you may have some resistance.  Try to let them know that your new way of doing things is not just good for the planet but can result in a much happier Christmas for all.  Try not to be preachy about what you are doing and try to be inclusive.  Maybe let them know beforehand you a planning to have a climate conscious Christmas and ask them for advice and input on ways you can do so.  This could be the start of something great in your family.

Sacred Dawn – making the climate change challenge an opportunity to make a better world for all

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