Christmas Climate Steps

Christmas Climate Steps

I realize I am writing this a little late – how can Christmas be in four days??  Oh, I know how, I have been asleep for the past week getting over a flu/cold.  But I wanted to quickly dash off some Christmas climate steps, such as things that one can give others for Xmas and give yourself, that will help prevent our world from warming.  In other words, help keep that snow around for Xmas.

Of course, we are in the middle of the polar vortex, which happens to be right over N. America and which is probably making people wonder about climate change.  But what one forgets is that while the cold air is over us, what is over the Arctic?   Freaking warm air is what.  It has moved in behind those northern winds – melting all that ice that used to be permanent during the winter.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/21/science/arctic-global-warming.html?_r=0

During the polar vortex in 2014, friends of mine in Anchorage kept writing – “hey, can you send the snow back?”  I imagine that is what Diane is thinking right now, as their permafrost keeps melting.

So to help keep winters white, especially where they are supposed to be white, here are some potential Xmas steps you can take:

  1. Still having trouble deciding what to give someone?  Make a donation to a conservation/climate change charity – such as NRDC.  And see my previous post for others.
  2. Give a National Parks pass – to yourself if not others.  It will help support the National Parks, which are our American treasures, for future generations, plus gives the gift of adventure instead of plastic.  https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm.
  3. While shopping, go ahead buy those now discounted Xmas decorations – especially LED Xmas lights, which use 90% less electricity than conventional lights, and which come in all sorts of cool (and warm) varieties now. Not only will it save you money next year, but it will send a message to the stores about what to stock next year.
  4. Don’t buy heavy plastic things that need to travel long distances. Shop small and local if possible.
  5. Wrapping those presents:
    1. Go to a salvage yard (e.g., Community Forklift) and get old wallpaper to use as wrapping paper.
    2. Better yet, wrap in things more sustainable, like beautiful cloth/fabric. Velvet or felt shirts that have a tear, I save for wrapping paper.   Here’s how to use cloth to wrap: http://www.treehugger.com/culture/furoshiki-youll-never-need-wrapping-paper-again.html.  Pier 1 used to sell gorgeous cloth Xmas package wraps, but I can’t find them online any more – they do have festive cloth wine bags and beautiful fabric cloth bags.  https://www.pier1.com/plaid-fabric-bag/3114266.html?cgid=wrapping-paper#start=1.   Then there’s this, which is not my style, but may be others.  Depending on how far this needs to be shipped: http://www.rewrapables.com/gallery.shtml
    3. Old maps make for very cool wrapping paper!
    4. Brown paper bags are still classic.
    5. Many stores now carry wrapping paper made from recycled paper. At the least, look for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) mark on paper, which indicates paper made from forests sustainably managed.  Remember – forests create the oxygen we all breathe.
  6. Do you have a handyman? Buy him/her a book about green construction.  Any search in Amazon turns up quite a number.  Try to get a recent one, as green construction is evolving very rapidly. https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_18?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=green+construction&sprefix=Green+Construction%2Caps%2C285&crid=39C60P6R3QI5H
  7. Have a relative who doesn’t believe in climate change? Give him/her a subscription to a cool science news outlet – one that showcases bizarre, fun science, but which also talks about issues such as climate change.  New Scientist is one that comes to mind.  WIRED is a great magazine.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to read about how dogs orient north-to-south to do their business? https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23231040-200-how-animal-actions-are-steered-by-magnetism/.

8. Give a plant. There was a 1989 NASA study, still one of the best overarching ones so far, that shows some of the chemicals cleaned up by plants.  Plus indoor plants breathe the CO2 that you breathe out, and produce oxygen in turn.  Check out this scary chart: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_Clean_Air_Study, and then this useful graphic for what the best plants are and look like: http://lifehacker.com/this-graphic-shows-the-best-air-cleaning-plants-accord-1705307836.

9. Give a subscription of Ranger Rick to the kids!

For some other really great, offbeat (!) ideas, see:

http://www.treehugger.com/slideshows/culture/10-offbeat-charity-gifts-do-world-good/.  I really like #4 – become a Scottish Lord and Lady of Land Preservation – and wish I had heard of it sooner!   My mother, a librarian, would have loved the “adopt-a-book” option (#9).

Btw, Green Neighbors DC is doing a Polar Bear Plunge to help raise money for the Chesapeake’s Climate Action Network.  I did this two years ago, but am not risking it with this cold, but many of my friends are.  You can donate here or to other groups doing the Plunge, or join GNDC in the plunge itself!  https://greenneighborsdc.org/2016/12/12/join-us-for-the-polar-bear-plunge/.

And in my gift to you, here is a photograph of a climate march in Vienna, Austria, that I took that I think is great fun to use on websites.  Feel free to use it wherever you wish – though with attribution would preferable.  I am going to put more photos up that folks can use. 858908_4493892110046_811409539_o

And everyone, have a great holiday.  A new year is coming, where we can all pull together and do great things to help our planet.   Save a tree, a square foot of Scottish land, a patch of ice in the north for Santa’s reindeer.  Etc.

Annette

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