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Do you need an idea for an ecological gift? We have many. For when you love giving gifts, but hate Earth-destroying consumerism.
I love gifts. But I also know that purposeless consumerism is at the heart of so much climate crisis. And the December holidays are the great championship of consumer culture; Everyone spends the whole year preparing to make their most intense and insane shopping for many unnecessary items, just to show their appreciation for their loved ones.
That desire to show appreciation for loved ones is a wonderful and beautiful thing, and gifts are a great way to do it! If you can't figure out how to make an environmental awareness present, worry no more. We have put together many ideas, at a wide variety of price points. Grouped in thematic categories. Each of these gifts is intended to make a more climate-conscious life easier and more enjoyable, because isn't that the true holiday dream?
Consider this collection of ideas that I hope will be useful, my gift to you.
FOR THE UNSTABLE
- Look, I love my electric bike. If you love someone who has wanted to ride a bike more (and if you're prepared to throw away a few bucks), an electric bike makes a great gift. ...
- Or, you can pay to have your regular bike turned into an electric bike. OK OK there are a lot of folks who aren't as averse to sweating as I am who would be very happy with a good old fashioned analog bike.
- If your friend's city has an electric bike or scooter program, get a shared micromobility credit that they can put up to explore their city on two wheels.
- If money is not a problem for you, you could also give away an electric car (which you will also use later :-). Perhaps your spouse or your mother, or someone you have hurt enormously and who needs to make up, and who has a lot of extra money to spend this year. The Verge has a helpful guide to buying electric cars.
FOR THE PRIVATE OF NATURE
- City dwellers regularly feel isolated from nature, which can lead to tangible mental health problems. Antidote? A local flora and fauna guide that can be used to explore all the underground nature cities have to offer.
- Many cities have urban walking or cycling tours that offer a zero-carbon way to explore and meet people.
- Pay for a native plant horticulture class
- Do you know a recent owner? Offer yourself as free labor to help them and plant native species there. Or buy a native plant from them. Plant them and make the birds and insects happy.
FOR THE WASTE CONSCIOUS
- How many times have I been to a coffee shop and realized that I don't have my travel mug with me because, well, it's annoying to carry around? One of my colleagues brought a collapsible cup to work and friends, my jaw dropped to the ground. Did you know that there are also collapsible food storage containers?
- For anyone in your life who has been protesting plastic straws, a metal straw or perhaps a bag of biodegradable straws would make a great gift.
- Exclusive water bottles are a cool teen trend right now and they will definitely make a great gift.
- Sometimes the town or city you live in takes time to develop a municipal composting system. For the friend who always sighs about food waste, consider a homemade composter.
- Many communities have developed tool libraries, which are exactly what they sound like and avoid the unnecessary purchase of expensive tools for some jobs around the house. If there's someone on your gift list who's been itching to try a lot of DIY or home repair projects, but just doesn't have the necessary kit, buy them for a year as a member of a tool library.
- Isn't everyone fed up with Apple's toxic cycle of planned obsolescence? A DIY iPhone repair kit is the way to freedom. At least in this very specific case.
- His householder brother always complains about heating bills, because he is becoming his father. Introduce him to a smart thermostat.
- Anyone trying to limit their home's carbon footprint should own a super comfortable robe and slippers that will keep you warm in the winter. It is life changing.
- Foldable and reusable shopping bags. This sounds deeply unappealing, I know, but you will find some nice version.
- A good set of tablecloths and napkins reduces dependency on deforestation-dependent disposables and creates a warmer environment.
- The same goes for a kitchen towel set, for the person who is trying to cut down their paper towel habit.
- If you're talented in the sewing department, bless you, you could even make the last three items yourself.
FOR WHEN LIFE IS HARD
- I know kids are faced with advertising a million silly toys and gadgets a day, and that makes Christmas shopping for them really difficult. I dare you to try putting together a gift bag with the weirdest things you can find at thrift stores, because kids love weird things too!
- Do you know someone who intends to restore his grandfather's vintage record player from 2005? Offer to take care of the repair or restoration yourself (even if that just means taking it to the repair shop).
- Endless household chores and responsibilities keep many people from getting involved in causes they want to be involved in! Offer to take on some of the cleaning load for a friend. Pay for a regular cleaning service for several months, or commit to cleaning your home yourself!
- Similarly: make dinner for your friend's family several times.
- Do you have a parent or friend who wants to get involved in a local organization but hasn't had the time to take care of children? Your gift to them: a series of babysitting sessions.
- If you're around someone who's always wanted to learn more about some kind of ecology or climate science, pay for them to take a local adult learning course.
- Books make great gifts, especially when shopping at local bookstores! And there are so many weather-focused or adjacent books that are both thought-provoking and beautifully written. Even second-hand books can be read just like new ones and are a more sustainable option.
- Did you know that even Googling things has a carbon impact? I know, everything is impossible. Anything low-tech you can give that promotes off-screen hobbies will be good.
- Win win. A donation to a climate-focused nonprofit in someone's name - the most anti-climate change gift of all!
FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN CLOTHING
- The second-hand clothing market is an easy and crazy alternative to fast fashion, and it also makes wardrobes that much more interesting.
- Get a gift certificate at a vintage store.
- I don't like to repair my clothes, even though I (sort of) know how, because my sewing kit is downright garbage. But there are so many cute, well-designed sewing kits that people with the best intentions of repairing their clothes would love to have.
- Let's say your friend is not as fond of a seamstress as I am, but wants to take her skills to the next level. A sewing machine makes a great gift to repair or make your own clothes.
- Or, if you are an experienced repairman and a little low on cash, give your friends the gift of a repair group where you teach them how to repair their own clothes.
- Ask your friend what great-priced, durable, basic clothing item they've been waiting for and think they'll wear it and wear it for a long time, and buy it for them!
- Solution, in the form of a gift: nice shoelaces, a shoe polish kit and a gift certificate for a shoemaker, all wrapped in a nice box.
FOR THE FOOD
- How many times have you heard "I wish I cooked more at home"? How many times have you heard "I want to eat less meat, but I don't know what to do?" The breadth and quality of vegetarian or veggie cookbooks is astonishing, pick one and it's sure to make a great gift.
- For less money, a little more heart, and a lot more effort: put together your own cookbook, complete with index cards and a 5 × 7 photo album, of your favorite vegetarian recipes.
- Fair trade in chocolate, coffee or tea. Or all three, if you really like the person.
- Apparently all tea bags are filled with microplastics. Sorry. But a metal tea bag and a fancy loose leaf tea set are a) fancy and b) not very disposable.
- A programmable coffee maker (for added convenience) and high-quality products will change your life. Seriously, everything that comes out of those capsules tastes terrible, they are ultra polluting and the compostable ones only work in places with municipal composting facilities.
- You may be an expert on alternative proteins, but you have a friend who is still in the curious testing stage. Treat them to an alternate meat starter pack: some samples of your favorite non-animal proteins (tofu! Seitan! Beyond burgers!), With handwritten recipes that you love for each one.
- The best solution to eat locally when nothing is growing? Having preserved all that was ripe at the end of the summer. Get a canning kit so your friend can keep their own local produce in season and show it to everyone else next winter.
- If the tool library suggestion didn't work, buy some gardening essentials.
- If you want to go foraging, pay for a wild grocery identification class with a guide trained in the area. Or do it yourself and get a wild edibles guide. But be careful with the mushrooms.
- One of the reasons people don't cook at home is that they are intimidated by spices, an initial expense that feels extra annoying because only one teaspoon is used at a time. Buy your beginner-cook a complete spice kit.
- A knife sharpener can be another good idea, because all edges need maintenance. A sharpening stone (or an electric sharpener for the larger knife collection, perhaps) makes a great gift.
- Maybe you have a friend who wants to cook more, but doesn't know how or needs inspiration. Give them a cooking class. Make it plant-centric, for additional weather points.
- The uncomfortable truth about "eating for the planet" is that if you want organic or organic ingredients, they are more expensive. Buy your friend a gift certificate for that great grocery store they always say is too expensive.
Thanks to Clayton Aldern, Laura Anderson, Jesse Nichols, and Kate Yoder for their help in brainstorming gift ideas!
Written by Eve Andreus, article in English