NewEnergyNews: BRIT GREEN LEADER’S YULETIDE TIPS

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    Sunday, November 25, 2007

    BRIT GREEN LEADER’S YULETIDE TIPS

    “Believe it or not, I do love Christmas. It’s the only time of the year where my voicemail and inbox calm down and I can spend a few days eating, drinking and playing board games with my sisters and family without a bulging ‘to do’ list nagging at the back of my mind. At its simplest as a family get-together, Christmas is a joy, but it’s so easy to let things get out of hand during the run-in and be swept away in a consumer frenzy that – needless to say – can have a terrible effect on the planet.” ...Sian Berry, British Green Party

    Christmas Prawns? No thanks
    Sian Berry, 17 November 2007 (New Statesman)

    WHO
    Sian Berry, Green Party candidate for Mayor of London

    Berry is dreaming of a Green Christmas. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    A Green Brit offers tips for a sustainable holiday: “What started out as a simple trip to church and a big meal now lasts about nine weeks and involves buying more and more every year… Each of us receives around £90 worth of unwanted presents each year, and over a third of the food we buy is thrown away uneaten by twelfth night.”

    WHEN
    “It’s far too early to start talking about Christmas, but I’m afraid I have no choice. Improbably snow-bound English villages, 'seasonal' recipes for prawns and this year’s must-have gadgets, are cluttering up every advert break. So, as I too have already been out recording ‘Green Christmas’ specials for the TV, and have been doing my research, I thought I would strike back early too.”

    WHERE
    A Londoner offers tips to Londoners the world over: “A typical Christmas dinner these days can contain ingredients that have been transported over 30,000 miles, but it’s really easy to cut this down simply by picking local products off the shelf instead of far-flung alternatives: hazels rather than brazil nuts, English beer rather than Australian wine, local ham instead of Indonesian prawns…The original midwinter festival involved a feast of seasonal produce, embellished with preserved items from earlier in the year, so root vegetables, cabbages, sprouts, dried fruit, nuts, local cheeses and chutneys are all real traditional low-carbon fare… Visit your local market for a real bargain on the rest of the meal, compared with overpriced supermarket vegetables. You’ll be supporting your local economy, plus, if it’s unpackaged, you can buy just the amount you need and won’t end up throwing half of it away.”

    WHY
    - “Moving on to presents, as we must. Let’s start by ruling out pointless gadgets…No golf ball polishers, no coffee machines that need an endless supply of little plastic cartridges, no choppers, heaters or mixers…no attic fodder at all…get non-material gifts: something useful like tickets to an event, vouchers for meals, downloads or books, or membership of an organisation such as the National Trust or the RSPB.”
    - “If you feel obliged to get something that won’t fit in an envelope, use gift-giving as an excuse to introduce your friends and family to green stuff. Basics that everyone needs are best. Get bamboo t-shirts, hemp socks, quality recycled notebooks, local organic foodstuffs or non-polluting shower gel, and make sure they know where to buy replacements when they find they love them…”
    - “At the end of the season, make sure everything is recycled. We create three million tonnes of extra waste over the Christmas period and use over 250,000 trees’ worth of wrapping paper, so buying recycled and putting everything from the Christmas tree to your sprout peelings in the recycling box or the compost bin is essential.”

    Are abundance and sustainability mutually exclusive?

    QUOTES
    Berry: “…for twenty-four hours [on the first shopping day] take a break from shopping, put that Christmas list aside, take your life back and buy nothing at all in a celebration of non-consumerism…having a ‘perfect’ Christmas doesn’t involve going crazy and consuming everything in sight…having a ‘green’ Christmas doesn’t involve shivering around a candle in fingerless gloves for a fortnight. Just don’t forget to shun those prawns!”

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