As commercial interests turn the holidays into a secular frenzy of unconscious consumerism, it becomes increasingly important for us to approach the holiday season with a more conscious lens.
While billions of human beings across the world lack adequate clean water, decent sanitation, food, shelter and clothing let alone access to formal education and health services, a minority – albeit a substantial one – is consuming gifts in completely unsustainable quantities at the cost of our environment (which we and our fellow creatures depend for our survival) and the lives of others.
Consumerism prioritizes quantity over quality and content. It drives short-termism and denies harmful long-term impacts. It commodifies everything. It objectifies animals, and uses, abuses and consumes them irresponsibly. One example is our mainstream consumption of animal products – meat, eggs and dairy products all sourced from from factory farms – which drives deforestation, climate change, habitat destruction, ocean dead zones and other forms of environmental degradation, biodiversity loss and more.
But conscious consumerism and thoughtful gifting-- well, that's a different story. I challenge you this year to empower yourself and BE the change you wish to see in the world by voting with your dollar for a more just and thriving planet.
Below are some of my favorite items to receive as well as gift to loved ones.
For a loved one, for a friend... Plants are arguably the most versatile gift on the planet! You can't go wrong with giving someone a cute little plant (unless they have a history of killing all of their plants). Take into account the type of climate your loved one/friend lives in. If they live in a dry, warm climate a succulent would make more sense to gift. If they live in a rainy climate with lots of shade, an English ivy would make more sense. Check out this Ted Talk and article which highlight common household plants that purify the air.
One of my many trusty sidekicks for living waste free! Four out of five grocery bags in the US are now plastic. In a landfill, single-use bags take up to 1,000 years to degrade. According to The UNRIC Brussels, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. An estimated 12 million barrels of oil is required to make that many plastic bags. WHAT.
I’ll admit, it took me some time to really adopt this new habit of using reusable produce bags to buy my items in bulk. In the beginning I would forget them in the car or at home. Or I would end up the packaged food isles and be like “what is life!” But as you transition you must be patient with yourself. Learning a new lifestyle is like learning a new language. It will not happen overnight.
Buying your loved one/friend a gift like this will provide them the tools to shop in bulk, waste free (yay!).
JARS & CONTAINERS
Say sayonara to plastic once and for ALL! To-go container, mason jar, reusable water bottle, and coffee mug… Yup, gangs all here. A look behind the scenes of my Eco Goddess lifestyle as I embrace zero waste tools to help me avoid plastic and single-use disposables at all times. Items like this are great stocking stuffers. As I've learned from experience, you can never have too many storage containers for your bulk items ;).
REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE
Klean Kanteen ensures that all of its products are made with eco- friendly materials. The company also contributes to many other organizations that are working to fight climate change. That means you can buy their high-quality, eco-friendly water bottles with confidence.
Klean Kanteen is a bottle you can feel good about.
DRIED HERBS & SPICES
This DIY project makes for the perfect, from-the-heart kind of gift. Enjoy spices while cooking up a storm in the kitchen! Make yourself a cup of tea (anytime of day) with fresh herbs for a reminder to relax and enjoy the moment.
Find your very own ecofriendly loose leaf tea strainer here.
ETHICAL & SUSTAINABLE JEWELRY
Do you know where your clothes and jewelry were made? And by whom? More often than not consumers are blind to the world behind closed doors of a clothing factory or jewelry making shop. Fear not, there's a way to still look ravishing less exploiting the environment and people who made your products. Support your local artisans while visiting the Farmer's Market. Ask them questions such as where they sourced their materials. Another option is to visit your local Ten Thousand Villages, a nonprofit fair trade organization that markets handcrafted products made by disadvantaged artisans from more than 120 artisan groups in more than 35 countries.
Here's a little fair trade jewelry inspiration for you.
ZERO WASTE VEGAN TRAVEL EBOOK
A better world begins with YOU. This ecofriendly gift is perfect for a person looking for inspiration to make a positive difference in the world! Zero Waste Vegan Travel is a practical, relatable guide based on my personal, walk-the-talk experience of living a zero waste vegan lifestyle.
This book presents the tried-and-true ways to a lifestyle filled with more compassionate, health-focused choices that are in alignment with Mother Earth. I share with you what has worked and what has not while navigating my travels and experience as a ZWV lifestylist. You will leave this book with more information on how to become a zero waste vegan (and travel the world!), as well as a downloadable checklist to be utilized every trip you take.
ZERO WASTE KIT
A kit to help you take on the world as a zero waste badass! This may include: a reusable set of utensils, a reusable napkin, a reusable glass/bamboo/metal straw, a cloth bag (for your muffin/croissant/sandwich/ etc.), and a reusable bag(s) (for grocery shopping). Of course, the kit would be incomplete without a jar which can be used for your beverage or a food container for your take out. I am thrilled to announce that I will be coming out with a zero waste kit to be released April of 2018!! If you'd like to pre-order your ZW kit, reach out to me by filling in the contact form below!
I invite you to watch my video below for an interactive experience of my ULTIMATE holiday gift guide for a sustainable, vegan, affordable and PRACTICAL holiday!