Alternatives to Gift Wrapping

As Christmas approaches, I’m beginning to get the image in my mind of the mountains of wrapping paper that my family throws out every year. (Ok, we’re not that close to Christmas yet!, still…..) Yeah, it was great to hear the rip of paper as you opened up your new G.I. Joe toy. It’s still pretty great to tear into those presents, but “White, Eco-Guilt” has gotten the better of me this year. I started looking for an alternative to the wasteful practice of using wrapping paper. Here it is, folks! TaDa! EarthEasy’s Gift Wrapping Alternative Guide. Yep, do it yourself instructions on making reusable cloth wrappers, recycled wrapping materials, etc. Good stuff!

Help Preserve Native American Gardening with Native Seeds/SEARCH

Native Seeds/SEARCH is a non-profit organization based in Arizona that works to collect and preserve seeds from Native America communities in the American West. They in turn sell many of these unusual seeds, which include heirloom squash, colorful corn varieties, amaranth, and hot peppers.

They also sell books, videos, gift cards, prepared food products, and arts and crafts. You’re sure to find an excellent gift for the serious gardener on their webiste, and by purchasing their products, you’ll also be helping to preserve Native American cultures!

Ecotourism in Australia

We like the idea of “ecotourism,” even though it’s a flawed concept. At its best, you get a community-based tourism project that is actually run by the community, benefits the community, and helps the environment. Unfortunately, you see a lot of big companies or people who aren’t locals who slap on the name of “ecotourism” when they really don’t benefit anybody but themselves, and their services are hardly environmental.

And so, that brings us to the topic of Australia! Yep, Australia! We love Australia, and we like the idea of ecotourism, so we wanted to find a way to promote real community-based ecotourism in this amazing country. Ecotourism Australia runs the Eco Certification Program, which is a great way to check to see if your destination is really going to benefit the environment and the local economy. While their published mission statement doesn’t say much about “community-based” tourism, they seem to have the right idea.

Kids in Action for Nature

My unofficial motto for this group would be: “Start ’em young. That way they’ll actually give a damn!” So many adults in our world get to the point where they say “yeah, but there’s no point, what can I do about it?!” Action for Nature (AFN) is an organization that gives out “International Young Eco-Hero Awards” to girls and boys around the world, 8 to 16 years of age. Celebrating youth and eco-heroes is where to look for more info.

Energy Star, A Government Program That Works

Sure, our government has a reputation of coming up with lots of inefficient ideas, but occasionally something beautiful pops up out of all that messy bureaucracy. ENERGY STAR is one of those things of beauty. This is a government-sponsored program that works to improve energy efficiency and protect the environment at the local level. They work with businesses and individuals and have a certification program that selects household products for high energy efficiency standards and then recommends them on their site. They also certify new homes if you’re looking to purchase a home. They even help with advice on home improvements.