Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Green Tip: Winter Holidays

Multicultural Winter Holiday Celebration Tree (http://www.mnn.com/)
Winter has arrived! For many people, December is a time of holiday and celebration. To find out more about cultural and religious holidays that are celebrated during wintertime, check out with Jenn Savedge's article Mulitcultural Winter Holiday Celebration.

Looking to reduce your holiday season carbon footprint? Let's start with the basics, many of which apply to our lives regardless of how we celebrate this time of year. Here are some general tips to keep your holiday season low carbon:
1. Buy local! Make an effort to get your holiday foods at health food stores and farmer's markets
2. Carpool! When you're whole family is coming together from different areas, think about the best way to minimize the amount of car trips taken. 
3. Buy environmentally friendly presents or even better, up-cycle and make homemade presents! 
4. Recycle, reduce and reuse gift wrap! If you avoid tearing your gift wrap, you can save money and resources by reusing it.
5. Don't buy a holiday tree this year! There are plenty of other ways to decorate your home.
Want to find more green holiday tips? Check out the article that these tips were drawn from. 

If you celebrate Yule, Christmas, or a holiday that includes bringing nature into your home, here's a tip. Many people believe that buying a plastic tree instead of buying a freshly-cut tree is environmentally beneficial because one more tree can stay in the ground, but it's actually the opposite! Check out this NY Times article, How Green is Your Artificial Christmas Tree? The author breaks down why plastic trees are no good from an environmental standpoint--and this can extend to other kinds of natural objects that we bring into our homes during the holidays.

Want to know what to do with your holiday trees once January rolls through? Here is a useful article about eco-friendly tree disposal that walks you through the steps to recycle your tree. At a more local level, the city of Santa Cruz has programs to facilitate the ethical disposal of your holiday trees! Learn about the options they offer on their website
Opt for vegan or vegetarian holiday meals to spare
UCSC's beloved 
Hank the Turkey and his friends.

When brainstorming ways to make your holiday season more sustainable, meat consumption is another big consideration. If your holiday celebrations this season include meats like turkey and ham, consider challenging that tradition by either replacing the meat with vegan and vegetarian meat alternatives or purchase from a sustainable meat vendor like the ones below:

Fowler Family Farm is a small 35 acre farm in Grass Valley, California. They currently offer grass fed & finished beef, lamb and goat, as well as pasture raised pork, chicken, turkey, goose,and eggs.

el Salchichero is a sustainable butchers is dedicated to pasture raised animals at 402 Ingalls Street, Suite 5 in Santa Cruz. They also have a presence at the Scotts Valley (Saturdays), Live Oak (Sundays) and Downtown (Wednesday) Farmer's Markets.

Eat Wild Products Directory has a wide range of Sustainable CA Farms and Ranches

Deisel Turkey Ranch is a family-owned farm based in Sonora, CA that sells Organic, Non-GMO and Pasture Raised Turkeys. The Shopper's Corner, New Leaf, Whole Foods and Staff of Life all carry Deisel Turkey Ranch products.

How do you celebrate holiday seasons sustainably? Post in the comments below!

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