With the holidays approaching, I thought it would be appropriate to take a look at what is available today for someone wanting to stay green for the holidays.
Help Someone Else
My first thought every holiday season is to give a gift that honors the recipient but is actually a contribution that helps someone else in the world.
My first choice for this year is an organization with a unique program for making the world a little closer through classroom art projects. Class Act (www.classactarts.org) has been in existence for 11 years, and in 2008 started a global outreach program which is designed to support arts education for adopted classrooms (and general education of girls) in developing countries. Their local school art programs link the local classroom of children with those in adopted classrooms in a developing country where they fund school supplies, school art projects and other educational needs. It's an incredible concept – create connections between elementary school level kids in different countries through cooperative arts programs – teach US-based kids about helping others in need – and have a fun time making a difference in the world. So far, there are program links between the US and Cambodia. If you have an idea for a new program, or have contacts in the developing world, please contact me. Or just go to the web site and make a donation: www.classactarts.org
Another favorite of mine is Heifer (www.heifer.org), which helps people in need around the world with obtaining a sustainable source of food and income through gifts of animals and education. Their focus is on long-term solutions, not quick-fixes.
Your gift through Heifer might be a goat: The gift of a dairy goat can supply a family with up to several quarts of nutritious milk a day – a ton of milk a year. Extra milk can be sold or used to make cheese, butter or yogurt. Families learn to use goat manure to fertilize gardens. And because goats often have two or three kids a year, Heifer partners can lift themselves out of poverty by starting small dairies that earn money for food, health care and education.
Another choice could be a flock of chicks which can help families from Cameroon to the Caribbean add nourishing, life-sustaining eggs to their inadequate diets. The protein in just one egg is a nutritious gift for a hungry child. Protein-packed eggs from even a single chicken can make a life-saving difference. Heifer helps many hungry families with a starter flock of 10 to 50 chicks. A good hen can lay up to 200 eggs a year – plenty to eat, share or sell. Because chickens require little space and can thrive on readily available food scraps, families can make money from the birds without spending much. And chickens help control insects and fertilize gardens.
Create Some Energy
Did you know you can go Solar without outfitting your house with a rooftop solar system? There are products I refer to as "Personal Solar Products" that will quickly allow you to get off the grid with at least some of the products you use every day. Here is one:
Solio Magnesium Edition Advanced Hybrid Charger – On a full charge from the sun, this device can charge a cell phone up to two times or provide up to 20 hours of charge to an MP3 player. It's a great addition to a camping kit or simply for anyone who is on the go and away from an electric outlet. Instead, you can plug into the sun!
President-elect Barack Obama presented with his Solio Classic.
Take your first step toward renewable energy!