The holiday shopping season officially kicked off last week with the ominous “Black Friday” followed by today’s “Cyber Monday,” the online version of a deluge of short-lived deals and steals. There are several ways you can participate in the holiday season without skyrocketing your carbon footprint in a single trip to the mall (or to your computer screen).
Here are a few tips to keep your giving green this year:
5. Shop small and local: Heading to homegrown local stores can keep your carbon footprint low and helps stimulate your neighborhood’s economy.
4. Purchase long-lasting items: Don’t get sucked into the idea that your friends and family need the new version of everything every two years. Give gifts that last, and they’ll be grateful for a long time.
3. Make your own gifts or buy vintage: Get your craft on! Making your own gift is a great way to give green, and buying vintage or second-hand items means you’re skipping all the carbon pollution in making something new.
2. Give experiences, not stuff: The best, most memorable gifts are often experiences. Try making a delicious homemade dinner, or taking your friend on a trip to somewhere great nearby. They’ll probably appreciate it more than another sweater or gadget, and you’ll get to feel great knowing that you gave an environmentally friendly gift.
1. If you are shopping online today, steer clear of fossil fuel-powered commerce: Okay, okay, sometimes you just have to give a friend that latest… something, and the easiest place for you to find it is online. Don’t beat yourself up over it. But try to avoid buying from companies that are powered by the dirty energy that is causing climate change. Amazon scored the worst of 20 technology companies Greenpeace evaluated in our 2012 report “How Clean is Your Cloud?” Amazon’s data centers, large buildings that store information, photos and videos for companies like Yelp and Netflix in addition to Amazon’s own e-shopping web site, are powered by coal. That’s something Amazon could easily fix by switching to clean energy, like its competitors Apple and Google have done.
If you absolutely have to shop with Amazon today, make sure you send them a message to switch to clean, modern energy, so you can feel good about being their customer the next time you need to shop online!