You definitely don’t want to find coal in your stocking. Here are some clean, environmentally-friendly holiday alternatives.
The “Santa Claus House” in North Pole, Alaska. Credit: Jason Rossiter
This year, it appears even Santa got coal in his stocking... or, to be more specific, according to a recently-filed lawsuit, North Pole, Alaska got polluted groundwater from a nearby oil refinery leak.
What does an economy that is beyond coal and oil look like? Obviously, it is powered directly from the clean power provided by Spaceship Earth’s power source, aka, the sun. Or indirectly, via sun, wind, waves, and geothermal energy. If you want to give a gift that keeps on giving, send someone to Ecotech Institute for renewable energy training!
It’s also important to use energy-efficient tools and appliances, for the cleanest watt of energy is the watt you never have to produce (i.e., the “negawatt”). This holiday season, colorful LED string lights not only look festive, they really reduce the coal in our stockings. Energy- and money-saving replacement LED light bulbs make great year-‘round gifts, too! Don’t forget to “gift yourself” with replacement LED bulbs: Did you know that old-fashioned incandescent bulbs waste 90% of their energy as heat? That’s a load of coal!
A simple Google search will yield very many guides to “green gifts” this holiday season. Some are meaningful, but unfortunately, many are simply “greenwashing.” Why not focus on gifts that matter? Some are expensive, but many are not. Here are a few ideas:
- Home/office energy audit
- A new electric or hybrid car
- Green certification class (e.g., LEED Green Associate)
- Gift membership in an environmental organization
Some of the best gifts don’t cost any direct money at all: Get out and experience nature this holiday season. You may only be able to visit a local park, but if you can hike, bike, or boat through actual wilderness areas, all the better. You will learn things you can’t get out of any textbook or TV show.
You can revisit some of Ecotext’s Christmases past here:
Kyle G. Crider (MPA, LEED AP ND) is a professional science and sustainability “story teller.” In his spare time he is pursuing his Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary (Environmental Health) Engineering and traveling the highways and by-ways of home state with his wife Beverly in search of fact, fiction, and folklore for Strange Alabama.