Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day 232 of our Green Year: Local Gifts

A few days ago, one of our Christmas pledges was to buy very few gifts instead of going hog-wild with shopping. Then, three days after that we pledged to buy green gifts that had little packaging, could be recycled and more. Well, today we are making another Christmas gift pledge to help the environment, and this one is to buy locally. Rather than go to Wal-Mart (which we have banned) or some other big department store, Layla and I are choosing to instead buy from local retailers. We are also going to go to the local Farmer's Market this weekend to buy some local gifts from local producers and suppliers.

When you buy a gift locally, you are helping your local economy as well as helping the environment because you do not need to have the gift transported from far away. We had originally thought of ordering gifts online, but the distance required to bring us the gifts would generate too much CO2 to ignore.

So, the main street retailers, Mom and Pop stores and Farmer's Market will be our shopping locations this year. At these locations, we will be buying green gifts and only a few gifts at that, to make this a green Christmas.

I read some sad news on CNN today. It was about the drastic reduction in shark populations around the world. While the shark is seen as an unrelenting killer that hunts humans, this is far from the truth. While only a handful of people are killed or even attacked by sharks each year, millions of sharks are slaughtered by humans. The exact numbers are 10 people dying each year on average in a shark attack and 100,000,000 sharks dying at the hands of humans (according to CNN). Many sharks die so that people can pay as much as $100 for shark fin soup. This fashionable Chinese dish is becoming incredibly popular and that means bad news for the shark, which is a vital part of the ocean eco-system.
This is just wrong. Shark teeth have been dated to 400,000,000 years ago. Sharks were roaming oceans before plants were even colonizing land. The species survived the Dinosaur era, and even the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs. It survived ice ages and more, but it may not survive humans.