by Heather Kerrison
The holidays are my favourite time of year. The holidays fill people with joy, and deep down we all know that we love giving more than getting, and that is a wonderful thing!
Here are four things to consider when planning your holiday celebrations:
1. Buy Local: buying local spreads the seasonal joy to shop owners and helps them also have a happy holiday. Many local businesses source their materials locally, and you are entirely cutting out the process of shipping (and carbon emissions) associated with big brands. Choosing to shop local is a win for everyone, especially in a year that has brought financial hardship to many businesses. Even gift cards to local restaurants (hello, future date night!) is a great way to gift your time and support a local business.
3. Eat Mindfully: again, shopping local is always better. Sourcing as much as you can from local farms and markets greatly reduces the carbon footprint of the food you are buying. You are also supporting local farmers and families! Bring your own bags and grab some veggies that were grown locally. For alcohol, there is no shortage of local breweries and wineries to stock your fridges with! After the meal happens, it is also important to remember to reduce food waste. Food production can be a strain on our environment, and it makes a huge difference to plan appropriately and have all food be consumed or repurposed into leftover dishes. Get creative and make hearty soups that can be frozen and eaten over the winter.
4. Re-purpose your tree: If you typically get a real tree for the season, there are so many ways to re-purpose it after use, so avoid just dragging it out to the curb for pick up! You can easily turn a tree into an animal sanctuary by removing all decorations and placing it outside. You can then even make wildlife-friendly garland out of cranberries, dried cherries and apple slices. Alternatively, you can lay the tree down in the corner of your yard and you’ll notice that wildlife will use it as shelter. There is plenty of opportunity to get creative, such as making wreaths and garland for decorations, or even make a DIY bird feeder out of pinecones.
No one is perfect, but if all of us make an attempt to "green" our holidays, the impact will be grand. And after all, this time of year is about spreading cheer.
Blogs are written by ELB members who want to share their stories about Ontario's biodiversity.