14 Eco-Savvy Ways to Gift Like an Environmentalist

14 Eco-Savvy Ways to Gift Like an Environmentalist

Protect the Earth, stay frugal, and never compromise on your eco-friendly gift ideas!

We all want to save the world, but sometimes the problems seem too big - and we feel way too small. The good news is, there are small things anyone can do to change the world's big problems in a big way! If you feel like channeling your inner superhero and making a difference when you stop to show someone you care, here's 14 tips from an environmentalist on saying 'congratulations!' or 'get well!', spread the love, partying like it's your birthday, decking the halls, reforming the New Year with resoluations, living for a better tomorrow, or simply celebrating the holiday season!

1. Mind your wrapping! Opt for reusable baskets or fashionable reusable shopping bags! It makes the present look Extra Special, you can probably spend less on what you put inside, you spend less time wrapping things, and you won't have to repair any broken paper if something tears.

2. Stop buying fast fashion! It goes back to exploitative labor overseas where workers operate in inhumane and underpaid sweat shop conditions, expends unnecessary fuel on shipping, and worst of all? So, so much of it ends up in landfills. If you can avoid shopping at (or gifting giftcards to) places like Forever 21, you making a difference with the environment, the economy, exploited workers, and the world.

3. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Religiously.

4. Especially avoid buying K-Cups and bottled water. Especially from companies that fill them by depleting already fragile aquifers in drought areas like Nestle. Carrying a water bottle also encourages you to drink water, and it makes you look healthier and like you have your stuff together!

5. Thrift your clothes and avoid shopping constantly, especially if it's something you intend to use once, throw out and replace soon, or comes in unnecessary plastic packaging.

Have you noticed those "mother's bath bomb baskets" or "grill kits for dad" that are 90% confetti and foam? The products inside don't tend to be cream of the crop either -- and your folks will probably throw them in a bathroom cabinet and toss the rest in a landfill.

They're worth more than $15 Walmart junk, yet it's both thriftier and infinitely more thoughtful to spend $4 on supplies to bake their fave dessert, or replace something they desperately need. (The older you get, the more you exponentially love a well-made pair of socks, or a cosy blanket for the guest room. Trust yourself. You know your loved ones!)

If you really think they need a bath or grill package, do a DIY kit using brands that display a socially conscious climate commitment. (If you're stumped on items you know don't belong in an environmentalist household, do some homework! There's almost always a great alternative just a search away.)

6. If you have to shop for new things, try not to order online. Buying from what's at the store already, or produced locally especially, saves a ton of gas and energy used in the shipping process. Not to mention, less boxes and plastic wrap!

7. Even if you don't live in a plastic-bag-ban region, you can live like you do! It's getting easier to carry reusable bags all the time, and they comes of tons of cute designs.

8.In your gift-giving, bake cookies that can easily be consumed (or at least biodegrade), or deliberately gift things that won't be tossed out or re-gifted!

9. Farmer's markets aren't just hipster-chic, they're economically awesome, have better food, and do wonders for the environment.

10. Donate cash, not items that may not be needed or require a lot of labor-energy-or-wrapping to ship, if you give you charities this year.

11. In fact, give to a charity as a gift on behalf of someone you know is impossible to buy for, especially if they're the type to refuse presents, instantly regift, or get awkward about opening things.

12. Avoid products with microbeads and/or glitter! They might not seem like significant pollutants, but they harm animals much smaller than you, which eventually does impact you in the dominoes of greater ecosystems. Plus, they end up in the water you drink -- and researchers are finding that they're not great for your skin, either. Definitely best to skip them entirely.

13. Go vegan. If you can't, go vegetarian. If you can't, go weekday-vegetarian. If you can't, stop eating red meat, avoid poultry, and favor sustainably produced fish. Yes, you can have a super yummy holiday without using animal products! Often, skipping the turkey is also cheaper, so that's two wins (and counting)! I highly recommend watching the Leonardo Dicaprio-produced documentary Cowspiracy (2014).

14. When in doubt, think carefully about conscious consumerism! All the marketing around you is saying "buy buy buy", and it's full of disposable seasonal-specific sales that aren't expected to last the year. Defy it! You don't have to line any pockets to be an amazing gifter! Remember, happiness studies consistently put experiences above possessions. Take someone to the movies, set them up to join you in a marathon next year, enjoy a local festival, plan to see a New Years celebration, or plan an eco-friendly picnic-and-hike at a national park for days of better-weather. If you have loved ones who will appreciate your time more than the clutter, embrace their mindful lifestyle and help the world while you do it.

Remember, gift-giving occasions are enriched by relationships, excitement, and the experience of enjoying other people and festivities. It doesn't have to be dominated by consumer culture and marketing with a little analysis, self-reflection, and critical thinking. Most importantly, we always have the opportunity to make opportunities to be a hero and do the conscious thing all-year round. There's no greater gift than sustainability for generations to come.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

Popular Right Now

15 Things You Should NOT Say To Pale Girls This Summer

From some of my most recent texts to what I have heard over the years.

1. "Wow, you're so pale."

Yes, yes, I know. You don't have to remind 365 days in a row.

2. "Don't forget your sunscreen."

Trust me, I won't...even my chapstick has SPF in it.

3. "C'mon, let's go outside and tan."

LOL. Me? Tan? Fake Bake doesn't even work on me. I'll burn after five minutes in the sun.

4. "Aren't you hot in those jeans?"

Very hot, but I’d rather be hot than sunburned.

SEE ALSO: 42 Poems Every Female College Student Needs To Read

5. "Wow, you have so many freckles."

It's the only color I get..

6. "You remind me of Casper."

Unless you're a part of my family or have known me my whole life, please refrain from calling me Casper. It is very rude and you're acting like I can help being this pale.

7. "You are blinding me, cover those up!!"

Seriously?! Do I even have to explain this one?

8. "Why don't you go to a tanning bed?"

Um, still can get burnt in a tanning bed and I'm not putting myself through that WILLINGLY.

9. "How about a spray tan?"

Hahahahahaha, only Oompa Loompa's and our president can pull off that kind of color.

10. "No one needs a flashlight to see you in the dark."

I really had someone tell me this the other day....but I don't understand how that is possible. SO, just don't say it.

11. "Is everyone in your family this pale?"

Kinda, sorta. BUT I am by far the palest and darn proud too.

12. "All white girls ever do is tan, drink Starbucks, and complain."

HA HA, not this white girl. Must be nice though.

13. "You're not only pale because you're a redhead. So why not dye your hair?"

Yeah, that's what they say but the whole dying my hair? I do not believe that is how it works, but A for effort?

14. *takes off makeup* "OMG, are you OK? Are you sick?"

No, I'm okay. I am not sick, just extremely pale.

15. "I feel like pale skin looks good on you but you should really go to the tanning bed because you are just too pale and it's kind of unattractive."

Do you really want to know what is unattractive? When we are 35 years old and your skin is already wrinkling because of how many times you have been to the tanning bed or have slathered yourself with tanning lotion to get this “perfect” skin color, yet my skin will still be tight and in place. I will be the grandmother who looks 30 at 50 and you will look 70 at 50. (I mean my mom looks 21 still, so I have some good genes.)

Yes, I did take some of these from my most recent texts, so they are accurate and yeah, a few of my friends are pretty rude.

Please think of how you are going to compliment me, and other fair skinned people, this summer. We're not lucky; we burn easily then go right back to being pale. When in a group of people, everyone always says "Just look for the pale one" to describe where we are. I like being pale with my red hair and blue eyes.

Cover Image Credit: Jayden Trotter

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Keep Your Wellbeing On Track This Summer With These 5 Health Hacks

Don't waste your time off, use it!


Summertime is here, and for many of us, these three months of vacation mean more room for slacking off with our usual health routines. Between sleeping in through the morning gym alarm, and consuming too many tempting party foods and drinks, it is easy to fall into a euphoria of laziness and lose health as a top priority.

Here's the good news — believe it or not, summer is actually the easiest time of the year to get and stay in killer shape because of all of the extra time you have!

Here are some tips and tricks to get you started.

1. Try using the five-to-two rule.

It's easy to forget the difference between weekdays and weekends during summer when every day feels the same. But sometimes it is actually helpful to be aware of what day of the week it is. Just like you would do in school, try to stay on track during weekdays. Wake up at a reasonable time, exercise, find ways to be productive throughout the day, and be conscious of eating healthy. This way when the weekend rolls around, if you choose to indulge in sleeping in, or going out and having a few extra drinks, it's more acceptable than choosing to do so every single night. You will feel more in control, and trust me, your body will thank you for the moderation.

2. Skip the junk food and embrace the fresh seasonal produce.

Summer is the season where all of the nutrient-dense fruits and veggies are in their prime season. Take advantage of this! Skip the fast food, and try cooking since you now cannot use the excuse that you don't have time! Go to the grocery to stock up on fresh produce. There is nothing better than homemade, healthy food, and with so much time on your hands why not try some fun new recipes? Cooking is actually really enjoyable and rewarding. Here are some of my favorite healthy summertime recipes that keep my body feeling fresh and energized.

Healthy green smoothie

Quinoa Salad

Chia Pudding

Salmon and Apple Kale Salad

3. If you're tired of the gym, try alternative forms of exercise. 

Whether it is hiking, kayaking, swimming, or playing a family game of kickball, summer presents you with many more fun active opportunities than the colder, rainier months of the year. Take advantage of that if you are getting bored or unmotivated sitting in a stuffy gym.

4. Build a new routine.

During the school year, we all fall into a fairly consistent routine. We have classes at the same time every week, we have responsibilities, deadlines, and all of those other things that may seem pesky but actually, serve in giving our lives some major structure. For many of us, that structure is much needed. When summer arrives and suddenly we don't have those obligations calling us to get up and be productive, we fall into a slump of doing nothing. That's when it is helpful to set a new routine. Our bodies like routine and regularity and the best part about a summer routine is that you set it how you like it.

How do I build a new routine? Decide on a general bed and wake up time, at least for weekdays. Choose which days of the week you will exercise and stick to them! Plan out your week at the beginning of the week. I like to keep a weekly calendar. Before the week begins I write down all of the things I would like to get done that week and place them on the days I plan to do them. You can even write down your plans with friends or social events.

5.. In general, spend time outside.

Did you know that spending time in the sunshine and fresh air actually has an impact on your health? Nature can boost our moods, make us feel more energized and productive. And everyone knows that a healthy mindset leads to a healthier life. The great thing about summer is that we have endless opportunities to be outside because of the close weather. You can really take almost any activity you want and move it outside. Even as I sit here writing this blog I am sitting outside on our beautiful porch looking out over a lake.

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