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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Green Gifts For The Holiday Season

Air Date: Week of

Newspaper can be a great alternative to wrapping paper. (Photo: underthesun, Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0)

Some holiday gifts can create needless consumption. But there are greener ways to show care to loved ones, from books that inspire stewardship, to sponsorships for animals in need. The Living on Earth team is here to share our “green gifts” in hopes of inspiring gifts that are ever-green.



CURWOOD: Are you rolling?

REGO: I’m rolling.

CURWOOD: We're at three two. And then there's one.

[MUSIC: E’s Jammy Jams, “Jingle Bells (Instrumental Jazz)”, Youtube Audio Library, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62HJXjDxL_Q]

CURWOOD: This is Steve Curwood, host and executive producer of Living on Earth and my initials are the same as Santa Claus. So, that means I love giving gifts. And this year my green gifts are two books. One is Sy Montgomery's memoir “How to be a Good Creature”. That's a book you're going to love. And the other is by Gary Paul Nabhan. It’s called “Food From the Radical Center: Healing our Land and Communities”. And really the subtitle should be the title. That is “Healing our Land and Communities”, provocative. And very green! Both of these you will love and be inspired by.

DOERING: My name is Jenni Doering and I'm a producer with Living on Earth. And I recently came across this company called Conscious Step, and what they do is they partner with organizations like Oceana and Conservation International to sell socks that will actually do good. So, they've got socks that plant trees, socks that conserve rainforests, or give books, or protect oceans. The ones that protect oceans have these cool blue waves on them. They've got socks, of course, with little trees on them. And Conscious Step says that the socks that conserve rainforests will actually save 20 rainforest trees from being cut down.

LYMAN: Hi I'm Don Lyman. I do Science Note segments with Living on Earth and so I thought it fitting to suggest science ties for my green gift idea. I've got several science ties: a periodic table of the elements tie, a scientific glassware tie, and my favorite – a herpetology tie with pictures of various reptiles and amphibians on it. People often compliment me on my science ties and ask me where I bought them because they'd like to buy them for people they know who work in science-related fields. I buy my science ties at Harvard University, but you can buy similar ties at various online outlets as well.

O'NEILL: My name is Aynsley O'Neill and I'm a producer here at Living on Earth. My younger brother has always wanted a lion cub. He saw the Lion King when he was a kid and it has been his dream ever since. But he's a high schooler in suburban New Jersey, so it's a bit of an inappropriate gift for him. Instead, what I'll be giving him is a symbolic adoption of a lion cub. I donate money to a conservation fund, they put that money towards protecting animals, and in return, we get a certificate of adoption, we get information about what animal we adopted, and we even get a small stuffed toy.

Although they are cute, lion cubs are not the ideal green gift. But, donating to a fund that protects them might be! (Photo: Tambako the Jaguar, Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0)

KAISER: Hi, my name is Jamie Kaiser. I'm a producer here. So, I was out shopping for a gift for my mom a couple weeks ago, and I was at her favorite store, and I came across a reusable bag. It's called the Stasher bag. It's billed as an eco-conscious alternative to one-use plastic bags and it's made of a food grade silicone that's free of petroleum, PVC, and latex.

BASCOMB: I'm Bobby Bascomb, Managing Producer here at LOE. Almost everyone I know already has enough stuff. So, I try to give experiences instead. In the past, I've given concert and theater tickets, and tickets for sporting events. One year, I got my parents a weekend at a bed-and-breakfast. Now I have kids and for them I like the idea of an annual museum pass or a membership at a play center. But my favorite green gift experience might be a membership to a state or local national park.

REGO: Hi, I'm Jake Rego, Technical Director at Living on Earth. This year I will be giving bamboo smartphone passive amplifiers. These amplifiers require no battery or power supply. Just simply place your smartphone in the box and it naturally amplifies the sound.

MALLOY: Hi, my name is Liz Malloy, and I'm a Producer at Living on Earth. I recently found these cards made by a local artist that feature species native to New England on them. The best part, though, is that instead of throwing them away or storing them in a box forever, you can plant the card in your garden and native wild flowers will grow.

ARENBERG: I'm Naomi Arenberg. I choose the music for each week's show and do the music reporting. When the holidays come, I think about wrapping paper and how the whole concept of gift giving goes back to the origin of the December holidays all around the world. There's a problem though. Wrapping paper, at least in my neck of the woods is not recyclable. And you can see in the week after Christmas or Hanukkah, or any other celebration where you're giving gifts, you can see bins full of paper being thrown away and going to landfills. So, wrap your gift in a sock, maybe one of the socks that Jenni mentioned. Wrap your gift in a beautiful kitchen towel. If one kitchen towel isn't big enough, tie some interesting knots, tie a few together. You’re creative, I know you can do this! Happy holidays.

CURWOOD: Happy holidays.

DOERING: Happy holidays.

LYMAN: Happy holidays.

O'NEILL: Happy holidays.

BASCOMB: Happy holidays.

REGO: Happy holidays.

MALLOY: Happy holidays.



More green gifts ideas

And, for even more eco-friendly gift inspiration

Living on Earth archives: “Shopping for eco-gifts”


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