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How to Eco-Give and Eco-Receive in 2018

By Larraine Roulston:

On your 2018 calendar, you’ll be penning in family birthdays and anniversaries. Also, there may be graduations and weddings as well as baby and bridal showers. For such occasions, environmental advocates for a healthy planet promote choosing gifts that are organic, fair trade, durable, repairable, recyclable, and in need of little or no packaging. The giving of a memorable experience or a subscription to an environmental magazine are included on their list. Simple DIY gifts from upcycling usually top the list.

When in line to receive gifts, that is an opportunity to put forth eco-friendly suggestions. If you are downsizing, request a donation to a selection of charities. Another thought is to make it well known that you love receiving homemade baked goods. You also can rave about your favorite restaurant. If you are a first time home buyer, you might request an energy efficient or water saving device. My niece, who is expecting their first child this year, has asked family and friends wishing to select a baby outfit to choose organic cotton products. For one of my birthdays, my good friend wrapped up a book from her bookshelf. This Christmas, our daughter and her husband gave us a tin of fair trade cocoa and attached a donation to Environmental Defense on our behalf. A neighbor, after seeing me struggle with my boots, surprised me with a “Santa” gift of  one of her spare long handled shoehorns. The bookshelf novel had been read and recommended; the hot chocolate was delicious; the donation was much appreciated; and the shoehorn has been well tested. Environmental-wise, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Two years ago, when my daughter’s friend learned about her upcoming baby shower, she took eco-receiving to the next level by insisting that all gifts come from either thrift stores or baby hand-me-down stores. Since it’s common to receive several outfits of the same size, and with growing kids, it’s difficult to make good use of them all; therefore, the only new gifts she wanted to open were ones that had been set aside to be “regifted” — adding the joy of regifting without the guilt. All the guests were delighted and the new mom was showered with a much larger array of toys, outfits and even some big items that she otherwise would not have received. A bride-to-be can also think Reuse and Upcycle.

Celebrate locally. It’s indeed an adventure to get away with friends to a different city or beach; however, it can be just as much fun to adventure locally rather than take a short flight that has a large carbon footprint. When it comes to spreading the word that these are the types of gifts and celebrations you favor, it’s a sure bet that all your relatives and friends will happily comply once they shift their thinking to an eco-mindset.

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Larraine writes the illustrated Meet Pee Wee at Castle Compost series. Visit www.castlecompost.com

About Larraine Roulston

A mother of 4 with 6 wonderful grandchildren, Larraine has been active in the environmental movement since the early l970s. When the first blue boxes for recycling were launched in her region, she began writing a local weekly newspaper column to promote the 3Rs. Since that time, she has been a freelance writer for several publications, including BioCycle magazine. As a composting advocate, Larraine authors children's adventure stories that combine composting facts with literature. Currently she is working on the 6th book of her Pee Wee at Castle Compost series, which can be viewed at www.castlecompost.com. As well, Larraine and her husband Pete have built a straw bale home and live in Ontario.

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