How To Have Yourself An Eco-Friendly Christmas This Year – Forbes

Students at the University of the Philippines main campus in Manila’s suburban Quezon City apply … [+] finishing touches to their environmentally friendly Christmas tree, 11 December 2007, made of native materials and recycled junk. The idea was part of their effort to address climate change as they put their junk into a creative purpose. AFP PHOTO/ROMEO GACAD (Photo credit should read ROMEO GACAD/AFP via Getty Images)
The festive season is upon us.
Christmas is a time for family gatherings, gift exchanges, and indulging in food and drink. It is also a time when we tend to forget about negative impacts our celebrations can have on the environment.
Climate change is a global emergency, and the science supports it. As temperatures continue to rise endangering the future of the planet, adjusting traditional holiday practices can go a long way in reducing our individual carbon footprints.
Here are some simple ideas for having a sustainable Christmas while still enjoying the spirit of the occasion.
One of the biggest questions asked around this time of year is about the Christmas tree. Whether to buy a fake or real one?
According to Carbon Trust, an organization that gives advice on decarbonization, the choice of sustainable trees depends on your reuse and disposal plans.
A fake tree contributes less to emissions than a real one if it is made from recyclable material and is used for a minimum of ten years, experts said.
With a real tree, Carbon Trust suggest buying ones that are locally grown to avoid the extra transportation emissions. Trees that don’t use fertilizers and are grown slowly are also preferred.
To dispose of it, chipping your tree and spreading it on to the garden is an option that lowers the carbon footprint by 80%.
As for the decorations, studies show that using light emitting diode or LED lights is the environmentally friendly way to go. LEDs use less energy and last longer.
If you are dressing up your tree with plastic ornaments, keep using the same ones forever.
Don’t want to end up on Santa’s naughty list? Fear not, there is still time to get on his good side and make it on to the nice column.
All you have to do is ask for an eco-friendly present this year.
Climate experts suggest choosing gifts that last a long time and are made from material that can be recycled properly. They also suggest avoiding wrappings made of foil, glitter, and plastic ribbons.
Alternatively, you can go really green and buy a carbon offset gift card. These vouchers are investments in projects that reduce climate emissions in your chosen area. The activity can range from planting trees to removing waste to the financing of a solar or wind power plant.
Plenty of choices are available online.
Collection of Christmas gift boxes in eco-friendly craft paper decorated by natural nuts and … [+] cinnamon sticks over beige paper background with fir tree branches, Eco xmas gift concept, Flat lay. (Photo by: Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
How we grow, transport, cook, eat, and dispose of food matters a lot when it comes to the health of the environment. Studies show that food systems are responsible for a third of the greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.
To help reduce your own carbon footprint this Christmas, a few tweaks can be made to the food and drink selection.
UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization reckons that the livestock industry largely contributes to human induced climate change. So, how about making your dinner plant based instead of putting a lot of meat and poultry on the table.
If this is too drastic a change and you must have your Turkey, then you can reduce waste by eating the leftovers instead of throwing food away into the garbage bin.
For instance, the Soil Association has a number of zero-waste recipes that make a great meal for Boxing Day.
As for the wine, beer, or champagne, it is mostly about the glass bottle. Sustainable wine producers agree that lighter bottles are better for the environment.
When choosing a bottle, look for one that weighs less.
It’s no secret that flying is bad for the environment.
According to the International Energy Agency, aviation accounted for 2% of energy related Carbon Dioxide emissions globally in 2022. Though this may seem like a relatively small percentage, flying often makes up a significant portion of personal carbon footprints.
When wondering how to fly yourself from where you are to where you need to be, there are a few options you can think about before booking tickets.
Environmental group Atmosfair has a list of airlines that are better at keeping their CO2 emissions as low as possible. You can pick your flight from there.
Also, go economy. This is because there’s more space per seat in business class and each person accounts for a larger amount of the whole plane’s carbon emissions.
In the end, with a few basic swaps, a merry and sustainable Christmas awaits.


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