Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Day 36 of our Green Year: Green Birthdays

Today we hit Day 36of Our Green Year and there is a birthday in the Baird household. I won't tell you who it is, but there are only two of us here and it is not Layla's birthday.
So, the point of this blog is to focus on going green for birthdays. Too often during someone's birthday we will try and buy them as much as we can to show how much we care, and this is a nice gesture, but it feeds into the consumerism and unsustainable mentality too many have about our world.
Instead of buying things that are not 'green' or 'environmentally friendly', why not go green for a birthday. There are a number of ways that this can be done, and all it takes is thinking green.
  1. Why not plant a tree for someone on their birthday? You are adding another oxygen producer to the world, and you are also putting down a living symbol of this person that will grow for decades and decades.
  2. You can do what Layla did and paint a flower pot, which she planted a Marigold in. For me, this gift will last longer, and mean more, than any other gift she could have given.
  3. Donate to a green charity in someone's name. This is a great gift but some do not like it because it seems like you gave their gift to someone else.
  4. Buy the person something that is consumable, like organic tea, fair trade coffee, dried fruits, or fresh flowers. This is a great gift that will bio-degrade and not sit in a closet.
  5. Give the gift of yourself. Sometimes a coupon (on recycled paper) for a free hug can mean a lot, or simply a cozy date in front of the fireplace.
  6. Buy a gift that is made locally or grown locally. This will support your local economy and you won't be spending money on clothes or products that are made in Third World Countries in sweat shops.
  7. Think about the packaging of the gifts. Too many people buy wrapping paper that is used for a moment and then ripped apart. Instead, why not use cloth bags to hold the gift? Why not use some of the scrap paper, newspaper or even subway sandwich wrappers as something to cover the gift? You can buy gift bags that will last for years instead of buying wrapping paper that will last for two minutes.
  8. Buy fair-trade, eco-cotton shirts that are made with green screen printing processes and that use natural dyes. This will allow you to get them some nice clothes, without having to think about where they come from.
Personally, getting the gift of a flower pot that I can use over and over again is a great gift for me that I will cherish for a long time, just like the pen monster Layla made for me last year out of cardboard, yarn and an old jar. Sometimes the greatest gifts are creative, personal and green.

Here are a few stats on gifts to get you thinking about going a bit more green for gifts this year:

  • There is a 25 increase in the trash generated during the holiday season.
  • Most people feel their kids have too many things, but they continue to buy them more things during birthdays and holidays.
  • About 97 percent of restaurant gift certificate receives say they would like to receive that type of gift again. This is a great green gift because it supports a local restaurant (make it a local one, not a chain one), and it is a consumable.
  • About 83,000,000 square meters of gift wrap ends up in United Kingdom garbage dumps after the holiday season.
Thank you to Treehugger for those stats.

Also, thank you to our good friend Min in Hanover who submitted our name to her local radio station, 101.7 The One for the Website of the Day. We won today and are listed on the radio station's website.

Also, don't forget to send us your own stories of going green so we can put them on our bandwagon page (link is on the right hand side), as well as pictures of you using green solutions outlined here for our photo gallery!