At this time of year the rate of consumption rises dramatically. Christmas is a good time to make a statement about the type of person we want to be, whether that’s charitable or just superficially stylish.
According to the Worldwatch Institute, we have used more goods and services since 1950 than in all the rest of human history. And yet, research shows that happiness levels in western society ‘peaked’ in the late 1950s.
Indeed, research has shown that after basic needs are met, there is little correlation between increased material comfort and people’s sense of well-being.
So, rather than trying to find happiness through over consumption, this year when considering Christmas presents, think of the broader impacts of our choices; the distance the item must travel, the amount of packaging, how long before it ends up in the landfill. While minimising the negative impacts of a gift we can also maximise the positive aspects of a gift.
Many charitable organisations offer gift giving services online which provide economic solutions to end poverty, illiteracy and hunger while supporting conservation.
How about sponsoring a beehive? http://www.itswild.org/sponsor-bee-hive
Or sponsor a poacher? In Zambia, COMACO trains ex-poachers in sustainable business practices where previously they were killing 1000s of animals per year and destroying forests through burning for charcoal.
From Oxfam New Zealand, https://www.oxfamunwrapped.org.nz/ you can sponsor anything from a hammer, to a goat to a pile of poo.
How about making seed balls as a personal gift? They can be made to include seeds to produce plants which support the bees, flowers, natives etc. The seed balls can be thrown into appropriate areas and will germinate when conditions are suitable. This method was used to reforest the Orokonui Ecosanctuary.
Basic Seed Ball Recipe
- 5 parts clay
- 3 parts compost
- 1 part seeds
- 1 – 2 parts water
Mix clay and compost together until free of lumps and then add seeds. Mix well. Add water slowly and mix until a slightly sticky consistency. Roll into small balls and dry in the sun.
Everything we buy has a broad impact for good or otherwise. If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a small room with one mosquito! Think before you buy this Christmas!