The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes a wave of consumption. We’re surrounded by food, drinks, gifts, travel - things that can add up to an increased carbon footprint. So, what can we do to be more sustainable during the holidays and even to use our purchasing power for good?
Here are some tips to help us be conscious consumers during this busy holiday season:
Shake up your usual patterns or traditions:
- Bring reusable bags when shopping.
- Wrap gifts with recycled paper or gently used paper.
Look for fair trade, organic, and/or local options when possible.
- Shop for gifts at local holiday markets or craft fairs to support local vendors.
- Shop for Equal Exchange gift boxes or get creative and make your own.
- Browse recipes with fair trade ingredients for your holiday cooking.
Instead of buying things, look for experiences to share together, or give your time:
- Concert or movie tickets.
- Yoga or fitness classes.
- A subscription for a local farm share.
- Make a donation to a favorite charity or organization.
- Volunteer together in your community.
Do your research and ask questions:
- Find out who owns the companies you support with your dollars. Here are some great ownership charts for various industries.
- Ask where things come from - where was it grown or produced? Who benefits?
Working together we can pressure companies through our purchasing power, but to really create change we need to actively engage around these issues. If you're interested in connecting with others on these topics, consider becoming a member of the Equal Exchange Action Forum.
This is just a start. What are your tips for being a mindful consumer during the holidays? Let us know in the comments.