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Your greener Christmas ‘all the secrets’

Your greener Christmas ‘all the secrets’


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Throughout the year, and especially on special dates such as the Christmas holidays, citizens take to the streets to buy, attending to the messages launched by advertising campaigns that begin more than a month before the start of the holidays. .

But this mindless consumerism promotes an environmentally and socially unsustainable model. Environmentally, because if the consumption model of the northern countries were to spread throughout the world, 3 planets would be necessary (with their raw materials, energy sources ...) to meet the demand. And socially because only 12% of the people who live in North America and Western Europe are responsible for 60% of this consumption, while those who live in Southeast Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa represent only 3.2%.

That is why Ecologistas en Acción wants to propose a series of alternatives to celebrate these holidays in a more sustainable way, without forgetting that the main message that the ecologist association wants to express is that a reduction in consumption is essential if you want to stop the environmental and social deterioration.

Tips before buying a gift

Before buying a gift, reflect ...

  • The first thing to do before buying something is to think about whether it is really needed.
  • Once it has been decided to purchase the product, it is very important to try to find out how it was manufactured, if the environment or a human being has been harmed in its production process.
  • You also have to think about how its use affects the environment.
  • It is important to bear in mind that it will always be more sustainable to buy what has been produced as locally as possible.

Energy saving

No one doubts that energy use is causing serious environmental problems. You can save energy by practicing the following tips:

  • Minimize the use of the car and use public transport (the car is used, in most cases, for journeys that could be made on foot in less than three quarters of an hour).
  • Reduce the purchase of superfluous and unnecessary products, since they require energy to manufacture them.
  • Connect the devices to the network instead of using batteries.
  • Unplug electrical appliances when they are not working.
  • Use efficient appliances and do without those that are unnecessary (to open a can or brush your teeth you do not need an electrical appliance).
  • The temperature of the house must be kept according to the time of year (it is not necessary to wear a sweater in summer and short sleeves in winter).
  • Use energy saving light bulbs.
  • Consuming local products is another way to save energy, all that used in moving it.

Reduction of waste

Containers and packaging are a serious problem for the environment. 40% of household waste is organic waste, of the rest, 80% is made up of packaging. This percentage is constantly growing and skyrockets at Christmas.

To make them, natural resources are destroyed, the water and the atmosphere are polluted. Both in their manufacture and in their recycling, large amounts of energy are consumed and when they become waste they have a significant environmental impact, whether they are deposited in landfills or, above all, if they are incinerated.

While the rest of the year each person generates a kilo and a half of garbage a day (30 years ago it was not even half a kilo), at this time it is two kilos; and half are wrappers and packaging.

You can reduce the amount of waste generated by putting the following tips into practice:

  • Every time something is bought, it is important to think about how much waste what we consume generates.
  • Avoid “throwaway” products.
  • Refuse the plastic bags that are given in stores and take cloth bags or the classic shopping cart.
  • Do an exercise in imagination, many of the things that are thrown away can be repaired, reused or recycled.
  • Avoid cans, and reject foods with many containers.
  • Lunch boxes or glass jars are a much healthier and more ecological alternative for storing food than covering them with plastic or aluminum.
  • Buy the content and not the packaging.
  • Many times you pay more for the packaging that is thrown in the trash than for the content.
  • Choose products with returnable or reusable packaging.
  • Avoid using cleaning products that have been used traditionally, such as bleach or ammonia, which apart from producing toxic residues are harmful to health.
  • Soap, vinegar or lemon are greener alternatives and just as effective in cleaning.
  • When receiving gifts, do not throw away the paper, it can be saved for other occasions.
  • At Christmas many greeting cards are received, instead of throwing them away they can be reused.
  • Recycle a gift that you already have at home.

Saving water

  • Clean water is an increasingly scarce resource and, although it is essential for life, it is wasted, wasted and polluted at a dizzying rate. Here are some tips to save water:
  • Put water saving devices on the taps.
  • Put bottles in the cisterns so that when you flush the chain the volume of water that comes out is less.
  • Reduce consumption as much as possible (shower instead of bathing, turn off the tap when not necessary, collect the cold water that comes out of the shower until it gets hot ...)
  • Do not play sports that contribute to water waste, such as golf.

Greener and healthier food

When each year the number of undernourished people increases by four million (according to FAO), on these dates up to 40% of the food produced is thrown away, due to discards due to aesthetic market demands, failures in the distribution of such large volumes, etc. That is why it is important to keep the following tips in mind:

  • Prepare the food that is going to be consumed, and save the rest for another time.
  • Recover traditional cuisine, and take care of food by avoiding junk or precooked food, which implies more packaging and energy consumption.
  • Consume fresh and seasonal or less elaborate products.
  • They are more ecological, tastier and healthier.
  • Consume products that have been produced as locally as possible.
  • Do not consume some foods intrinsically linked to Christmas, such as prawns, because in many cases they are being raised in tropical coastal wetlands, causing serious damage to local economies and biodiversity.

A few different Christmas gifts

At Christmas, the advertising messages are drenched with endearing feelings in defense of family values ​​and praise of solidarity. However, channeling all these feelings is always aimed at achieving a clear objective: to increase sales under an assumed Christmas waste, without taking into account its social and environmental repercussions.

For this reason, we propose that instead of spending time in endless queues in shopping centers, you spend that time thinking about different gifts. And to be critical of advertising and not blindly believe the dreams that it sells us.

Looking back to see that, not so long ago, we were happy celebrating Christmas in another way, it can help to see that there are other models than unbridled consumption.

In toys

The advertising bombardment that begins more than a month before Christmas arrives does not forget the smallest of the house, and creates a lot of toy ads for them. According to the Spanish Association of Toy Manufacturers (AEFJ), 75% of the toys sold each year are bought on these dates. Many fathers and mothers, subjected to pressure from their sons and daughters, end up being convinced that to show how much they love them they have to buy them more gifts, and they end up submitting to the dictatorship of advertising, forgetting more socially just consumption alternatives and environmentally. Here we show some of them:

  • Find locally crafted toys.
  • Do not buy overpacked toys.
  • Ensure that they are non-sexist or warlike toys.
  • Find those that stimulate creativity.
  • Do not buy toys that use batteries.
  • Ensure that they are suitable for each type of age.
  • See that they are made of natural and biodegradable materials.
  • Ensure that the product is being paid, and not its advertising.
  • Also, the most important thing is that it is possible to play without toys.

Christmas trees and other decorations

Fir trees and other pine trees have become a disposable consumer object, which goes from the forest or the nursery to the landfill after spending Christmas in a house. It is striking that there are nurseries dedicated exclusively to the production of trees that go to waste (around 2,000,000 a year), in an eroded country with serious risks of desertification.

Other Christmas decorations also have huge impacts. The ornamental use of holly trees at Christmas has led to them being in serious danger of disappearing, with the serious damage that this entails for the ecosystem in which they develop. The same happens with mosses, which are used as decoration in nativity scenes.

Finally, consumer fever has reached other plant species, such as ruscos or mistletoe, which are being harvested in an unsustainable way.

Where to buy

Sometimes we think that the only places where you can buy are large supermarkets, however this model is very expensive environmentally and socially (to deepen) .That is why we propose a series of alternatives:

  • Buy in neighborhood stores and traditional markets.
  • Buy organic farming products. These products, in addition to being healthier, are environmentally sustainable, since no artificial pesticides or fertilizers are used in their production.
  • Buy in fair trade stores. In them you can obtain products with guarantees that they have been produced in an ecological way and that a decent salary has been paid to the producers.
  • Become part of consumer cooperatives. In them, consumers get in direct contact with producers, thus eliminating intermediaries. Everything that is consumed is from organic farming.
  • Participate in barter cooperatives. Ecologists in Action wants to make a call to recover creativity when celebrating these holidays, a creativity that helps us, in short, not to spend Christmas chasing the unattainable dreams that the advertisements propose, but to show us a more certain path to achieve our wishes, and that it has as its starting point a more socially and environmentally just form of celebration.

Ecotices


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