Fun festive tips on how to spread goodwill without costing the earth
With the dreaded 'Rona resurgent and hopes world leaders might finally get their acts together at the UNCOP dashed, most of us just want to hunker down and shower our loved ones with festive gifts and cheer this winter. Here’s our quick tips on how to spread goodwill without costing the earth.
There can be no better gift for an eco-conscious, anti-consumerist friend. Planting a tree removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, creates habitats for other species, binds the soil together and will grow for years - a gift that truly keeps on giving.
Donate a tree in someone's name via TreeSisters, give to the Woodland Trust and help plant lots of trees, or heck, you could even buy an actual tree, from an actual garden centre, and give it to your friend to plant.
The iconic Little Sun Original solar lamp, designed by Olafur Eliasson, is the perfect introduction to solar-powered light: it’s fun, tactile, easy-to-use and almost indestructible. It is super useful for bedtimes, as a night light, as well as out on adventures—coming with a handy carry strap. Little Sun strives to have a net positive impact in the world and each solar lamp sold helps to fund the roll out of solar power in Africa.
Despite our steadily increasing levels of wokeness, we still get through 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups in the UK each year. Both making and disposing of them has a big environmental impact. A Keepcup is a simple and elegant way of not contributing to that problem. Of all the Keepcups we have tested - these ones are the best. They’re weighty and well made, the rubber lid fits on tightly and won’t spill. They are a great size - comfortable to hold and fit well into cup holders.
These hand-made candles are so natural you can even use them as a soothing balm for your skin. Laden with essential oils, they come in 30cl glasses with a burning time of up to 30 hours. Candlemaker Victoria Ogilvy goes to great lengths to ensure all her products are made with immense care for the environment and people. They smell divine - transporting you to a sunlight-dappled forest floor.
The perfect gift for that activist in your life who signs every petition and goes to every demonstration but needs an extra vent for their outrage at ongoing corporate climate delays and greenwashing. The Ecohustler hazard stickers can be slapped on any retail item, or advert for a product or service, that is costing the earth.
They have been used on Marks & Sparks factory farmed salmon, which they’re absurdly labelling as ‘responsible’ even though it’s famed for its huge environmental impacts. Or, how about placing them on the bottles that make Coca Cola the single biggest producer of plastic waste?
A great present for the multitasker: who might want to share their ire, and educate their fellow consumers, while they’re doing their weekly shop.
Carrie Reichart is an acclaimed artist who has been gleefully offending Middle England since the 1990s. She is famous for her extraordinary mosaics which have been exhibited around the world and were a centerpiece of the V&A exhibition Disobedient Objects.
As well as mosaicing her house in Chiswick, London Carrie repurposes vintage crockery such as plates and Victorian pill pots. If a special person in your life keeps losing their gear - these humorous and fun art pieces are the perfect gift.
We all know that fast fashion is killing the planet. One of the brands demonstrating that it’s possible to be the height of fashion and support the shift to a circular economy is the aspirational upcycling company BOTTLETOP. This phone case, made, you guessed it, from bottletops is the ultimate gift for any phone addict who wants to divert waste from landfill and turn heads for their style savvy.
Years after we learned how damaging plastic was, and how silly the mark-ups were for bottled water – particularly when these super things called taps can be found literally everywhere – and supermarket shelves are still groaning with mile after mile of the stuff, bottled in wanton quantities of plastic. Here though, is just the thing to give to your friend who still needs convincing that it isn’t cool to be conned out of a few quid for something that is free and freely available.
Though newly available in the UK, Dr Bronners is already the largest seller of organic and fair trade soap in the USA and they are a brand on a mission: so their luscious products don’t just feel fab, and smell fantastic, they do good too. The company gives 8% of profits to activism causes and campaigns on issues ranging from ending factory farming through to legalising drugs. Cleanliness doesn’t get much closer to godliness.
With true wokeness comes the inescapable knowledge that, as an early industrial economy, our country has been one of the largest drivers of climate breakdown. Our nation must take responsibility for conflict and migrations in the Global South connected to our domestic and foreign policies. A particularly nasty brand of politics is making it nigh on impossible for any refugee or migrant to seek refuge on these shores whilst raising the probability that anyone who dares try drowns in the attempt.
One plucky organisation, the RNLI, is, thank heavens, still prepared to pluck non-swimming men, women and children out of the flimsy inflatables they have boarded to flee impossible circumstances in their home countries. Allellujah and Amen to them.