Christmas is the season to be jolly but it can also be a season of excess. Here are a few simple tips to help you reduce your Christmas carbon footprint this year, so that you can enjoy a more eco-friendly and sustainable holiday season.
Keep it Real
The unmistakable smell of fresh pine trees always conjures up images of festive cheer. Real Christmas trees are more eco-friendly than artificial ones, providing you take into account where they come from. For example, in Britain many Christmas tree growers are registered with the British Christmas Tree Growers’ Association, which means their trees are grown according to strict regulations. When it comes to buying your tree, local and organic is generally best. It’s also important to make sure it is a native fir – for the UK this would be a Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris).
Another tip is to buy trees with roots – that way the tree can be replanted and even reused next year. If this is not possible then try to recycle your tree. Many local councils run Christmas tree recycling schemes – check out ones in your area.
Before turning up the thermostat try wearing an extra layer, or curling up with a blanket. Keeping the curtains closed also keeps the heat in and saves energy. Take a tip from the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) which tucks its nose under its tail to keep warm.
Shop Local, Shop Organic
Buying your Christmas food locally not only saves you time and money, it also helps the environment. Buying locally reduces your carbon footprint and saves on the costs of packaging and transport. An organic turkey will have been reared in more humane conditions and be chemical-free.
Instead of artificial Christmas decorations, take a walk in a nearby forest and look for fallen pine cones and sprigs of holly, ivy and evergreen branches. All these natural decorations will biodegrade, so when you’re finished with them pop them on the compost. Not to mention you’ll have all that free storage space that Christmas decorations usually fill! Common holly (Ilex aquifolium) is widespread throughout Britain.
It’s getting cold out there and Christmas traffic can be a nightmare: if you do have to leave the warmth of your home, taking public transport is one way you can be a little bit greener whilst avoiding the jams.
Giving gifts at Christmas is a way to bond with loved ones. Buying thoughtful gifts made from recycled materials like rubber and plastic bags shows you are also thinking about the environment. This belted kingfisher (Megaceryl alcyon) knows exactly what gift to give.
Have a very merry eco-friendly Christmas!
Kaz Armour, ARKive Text Author