Thursday December 26th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉
Topic: Consumerism & the Holidays…Guidelines to Protect the Climate
Dear Diary. We should all want to decrease our collective carbon footprint as much possible, but do have traditions which make this difficult. Should we go to lengths, cancelling Christmas giving just to lower that footprint? I’m not a Scrooge having loved the holidays, experiencing joy from both giving and receiving gifts over a full lifetime. Yet, I know that getting items that need to initially be constructed then shipped in various forms of packaging, then wrapped takes a lot of energy and resources, which does put additional strain on the environment.
This is a particularly sticky issue since many small businesses rely on Christmas giving for the bulk of their sales. Also, holiday parties can be relied upon to keep grocery stores busy selling delicious if not fattening food. Now, much more than at the start of this decade, we have companies like Amazon, which can deliver many gifts, but in enviromentally unfriendly wrappings and containers. In truth, our lives would be very grey and dull without holiday traditions, not to mention life lessons and delight giving imparts to our children and grandchildren. What can we do to keep traditions alive but at the same time keep the environment and climate in tact?
I’m going to list some things we all can do, some which are obvious, and one listed at the top that I have never heard anyone else utter that might be to our benefit:
- Use gift cards that are included in well written, loving notes. Using gift cards will prevent many returns, which are carbon intensive. Your loved ones will appreciate the notes, maybe even more than the gift card itself, and be able to get merchandise they truly like.
- Go light on decorations, especially lights. Some decorations are a must, but don’t you snicker when some make their houses just plain gaudy?
- Explain to friends why you aren’t buying too many gifts, making fighting the climate crisis a teachable moment. Rampant consumerism may be the last straw that drives our climate over a cliff. True friends will understand.
- Teach children not to be such heavy duty consumers. Buying everything they want may make for spoiled brats. Get them what is truly top on their lists, though, if the request to Santa is reasonable.
- Recycle, recycle, recycle. Also, insist from merchants that gifts come in recyclable packaging. Think about how much packaging, including plastics made from fossil fuels, may end up in landfills, and how much energy it takes to make that packaging and wrap goods.
- If you can, give your relatives a nice talk over the phone instead of flying or driving for a holiday visit . This is a tough point because most of us want human contact. Limiting flying will certainly help the environment. If you must visit and the trip is less than about 500 miles, driving should be a better environmental option unless huge SUV’s or, God forbid, Hummers are the vehicles you own.
- As an aside that probably won’t affect carbon footprints too much, if you know exactly what your friend or loved one will appreciate, try purchasing the item from a local proprietor. Usually local merchants will try to match priced coming from the big boys like Wal-Mart to get your business. By doing so small businesses, and thus the economy as a whole through competition, can get support. Too, if goods and of course that holiday food are made or grown locally, this cuts down on the burning of fossil fuels.
Please let me know if I have been remiss with this list. I’ll add anything constructive that comes to my attention. Hopefully, I’m not being too much of a Scrooge here. Just think, though, how much money you can save for yourself, spending it on a brand new Tesla, perhaps. Heck, tell your friends that you are saving up so that you can give them a more expensive, environmentally friendly item. That’s something we all can appreciate and value. If we speak with our pocketbooks in mass good change will come.
Now, here is more warm weather news from the Midwest. I’ll include any “ET’s” that cross my radar here today for a change, since this heat episode has made some national news.
Here is more climate and weather news from Thursday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article.)
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Guy Walton- “The Climate Guy”