Christmas is a time for celebration, but all the excess that goes with it can also put a strain on the environment: tonnes of extra rubbish, surplus packaging and mega watts of flashing lights. It’s a busy time when Australians tend to travel, eat and drink more than usual.
With a little imagination and thought, we can all reduce the impact of the holiday season on the environment and have a happy green Christmas! Here’s how:
- Don’t Fake It
If a Christmas tree is a must for your family, make sure you get a real tree and not a plastic one. Although plastic trees can be reused many times they still ultimately end up in landfill. Real trees – they smell fresh, look more authentic and are biodegradable through your green waste. You could also look into investing in a tree or shrub which you could then plant in your garden.
Use LED lights for house and Christmas tree lighting. LED lights use about 80-90% less energy than old light bulbs. Make the effort to turn your lights off when out of the house or before bedtime.
- Plan Your Shopping
Last minute panic shopping often ends up in unsuitable purchases. It’s best to be organised and plan ahead what you need to buy for Christmas day – make a list and stick to it. Try and get it all done in one shop to avoid repeat journeys and the temptation of buying unnecessary extras.
- Useful Presents
Give original gifts that will be of real value to your friends and family. Steer away from material presents – gift them a service or experience. Maybe create vouchers for babysitting, cleaning, massage or gardening. Give them a ticket to an event, concert or a fun day out with you. Is there something your friends have always wanted to learn or try out, but never got around to doing? Perhaps they’d like a guitar, cooking or painting lesson?
- Help them to become more environmental and give a membership to a car sharing club or help them save energy by gifting low-flow shower heads and energy saving light bulbs.
- Use your culinary skills to make homemade food or drink gifts. Your time spent in the kitchen is probably no more than the time spent gift-hunting online or at the shops. Homemade presents are often more personal, better for the environment and not likely to go to waste.
- For those who have everything gifting a charity donation that helps others or the environment is often the best way to go. Carbon Neutral provides eCards which allow you to gift native trees or you could calculate you friends’ emissions and offset their vehicle or household emissions at cncf/offsets.
- Original Wrapping
Get creative with your wrapping – newspaper with a bright ribbon looks great or cut out colorful, patterned pages from old magazines to package up presents or use an attractive scarf and make it part of the present.
- Gadget Upgrades
If you receive a new mobile phone for Christmas make sure you recycle the old one – visit www.cleanup.org.au and click on ‘Clean Up Mobile Phones’. You can register to receive a free pre-paid postal satchel that you can use to send your phone to recyclers.
- Unwanted Presents
Been given something you don’t want from an estranged second aunt? Don’t just throw it away – take it to an op shop or sell it on eBay.
Store away wrapping paper and cards that you receive – you can recycle them next year for wrapping and you can cut up old Christmas cards to make unique gift tags.
For anything else check out www.recyclingnearyou.com.au which will help you find out the best way to recycle in your area.
- Fight the Christmas Bulge
Feeling a little heavy after all the Christmas excess? Why not get some free exercise and help the environment at the same time. Check out www.cleanup.org.au and find out how you can volunteer to pick up rubbish and enjoy the outdoors.
Send an electronic card which does not require physical resources to make or distribute. Click here to check out Carbon Neutral’s Christmas eCards. Every eCard sent will help revegetate rural Australia through the planting of biodiverse native trees. You can choose from a range of beautiful designs, include a personalised message, and from just $3.75 send a gift that will make a difference for future generations. Click here to order eCards.
Stock up on green rechargeable batteries for any gadgets you might need to use. If you do give a battery operated gift give a battery charger too.
Invest in good quality decorations that can be used again and again and passed on to future generations or be inventive and make your own from recycled materials.
- Portion Control
Plan ahead to prevent food wastage. To find out more about ideal serving sizes, storing and using up leftovers check out www.lovefoodhatewaste.nsw.gov.au. Compost any unusable leftover food to reduce the harmful methane
Opt for organic or carbon neutral beers and wines. Carbon Neutral supporter Taylors Wines has a great offer online which will save you 20% off their 100% carbon Neutral wine range based on the international standard for lifecycle assessment (ISO14044). Click here to find out more.
When choosing flowers for gifts or for decorating select ‘in season’ locally grown varieties.
- Party Time
Serve up locally produced food and drink and choose produce with less packaging. Set up clearly marked recycling bins before your party starts to make it easier for your guests and to make the clean up quicker. Deck out the tables with reusable plates and cutlery so they can be washed and used again.
DJ and music producer Havana Brown goes vegan and promotes green program Kids Teaching Kids
Back living in Melbourne after years in the US, global DJ and music star Havana Brown is the latest celebrity to go vegan in an effort to “help the environment”.
DJ Havana Brown is the latest celebrity to go vegan.
Brown, who is back living in Melbourne after several years working in the US, is “transitioning” to veganism.
“I’m pretty much vegan but once a week at the moment I’m having fish and that’s it,” she said.
“So I just allow myself a little bit of freedom until I’m able to completely eliminate any animal products from my diet.”
“What I’m trying to do is help the environment.”
Brown, 34, has bolstered her environmental credentials by being appointed ambassador for green education program Kids Teaching Kids.
The non-profit was founded by Melbourne Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood, whose wife Steph is a good mate of Brown’s.
“Kids Teaching Kids is a great way to have kids understand what they’re doing and sustain the environment, I’m really proud to be part of it,” said the music performer and producer.
The organisation is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and Brown will sing Happy Birthday at a special event to be held at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on Thursday.
Mr Wood said Kids Teaching Kids was working with new program partner MySolarDirect on a target to install 1000 solar systems in homes sourced from the organisation’s schools network.
“As part of the partnership, schools will receive $500 for every solar system installed, and they can use this money to pay for science equipment, create a veggie garden help with recycling or fund their environmental programs,” he said.
State Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio backed the initiative.
“It could not be more timely as we recently increased Victoria’s renewable energy target to 50 per cent by 2030 — putting more clean energy into the grid,” she said.
Meanwhile, Havana Brown, who grew up in Wantirna South, revealed she has bought a pad in Brighton.
“Ive been living in Los Angeles for the last seven years, but we’ve bought a place here and I’m loving it back in Australia,” she said.
“It’s one of my favourite spots in Melbourne — it’s always been my dream neighbourhood so I’m pretty happy.”
But Brown was coy about talk that she had secretly married her manager Vince Deltito.
“It’s not something I really want to talk about,” she said politely.
The DJ is returning to the US soon for a tour, and her next Australian gig will be in Sydney.
On Friday 26th July, MWPS celebrated its seventh annual Green Day. This was a day for celebrating all of our “green” achievements; recycling programs, gardening programs, animal adoptions and our 5 Star Resource Smart Sustainable School status. Students dressed in green, as their favourite animal or as something else inspired by nature. We were visited by Leigh’s Reptile Show and Ben’s Bees. The most popular animals were Snappy the crocodile and Ghost the dingo. Students also got to have a close encounter with lizards and snakes. Students participated in green themed activities within their classrooms. Each child received a special GREEN DAY SHOWBAG which had a fruit, a colouring sheet, a wooden bookmark, Ben’s Bees honey, beeswax, a beeswax wrap and a reusable produce bag. Thanks to the Senior Environment Team, Ms Prodanos, Ms tench, Ms Dynan, Mrs Woods, Ms Tsourlenes and Sue P for packing all of the show bags! Everyone had a great time and can’t wait for next year!
Congratulations to these students who were chosen as the winners for last term’s Tree Planting Day Colouring Competition. The winners were chosen by the Kids Teaching Kids Team.
All winners won a fabulous prize and their entry has been put up on display near the office.
The following adults also won so could their child please come and collect their prize.
Now for the teacher prizes:
Miss Bonacci and Miss T
All of the other adults who entered also won a prize.
On Friday July 26th a great day was had by all during our seventh annual GREEN DAY celebrations. This was a day for celebrating all of our “green” achievements; recycling programs, gardening programs, animal adoptions and our 5 Star Resource Smart Sustainable School status. Students dressed in green, as their favourite animal or as something else inspired by nature. We were visited by Leigh’s Reptile Show, Ben’s Bees. The most popular animals were Snappy the crocodile and Ghost the dingo. Students also got to have a close encounter with lizards and snakes. Students participated in green themed activities within their classrooms. Each child received a special GREEN DAY SHOWBAG which fruit, Ben’s Bees Honey, bees wax, a colouring sheet, a wooden bookmark, a beeswax wrap and a reusable produceo bag. Thanks to the Senior Environment Team, Ms Dynan, Ms Tsourlenes, Mrs Woods, Ms Prodanos, Sue P and Ms Tench for packing all of the show bags! Everyone had a great time and we can’t wait until next year!