MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE GLOBAL HEALING GROUP!
The bishops of England and Wales, following the Pope’s lead, are encouraging us to change our lifestyles so as to help reverse climate change. See the short films on the Global Healing website – www.ourcommonhome.co.uk Here are some suggestions for Christmas from the Milton Keynes Cluster Global Healing Group.
Remember that although re-cycling is important, it does take up a lot of resources. Whenever possible we could choose to refuse to buy in the first place, or re-use. For example, you can reduce plastic use in toiletries by buying bars of soap and bars of shampoo, instead of plastic bottles of handwash and shampoo. You will find a wide range of green toiletries (plastic free/ethically sourced/organic/vegan) on offer online, and at some high street shops that sell shampoo bars, for instance Lush and Superdrug.
Try to avoid buying unnecessary presents. Each year the UK spends about £700 million on unwanted presents. Find out what people would use before you buy. Home-baked treats are always appreciated! Buy locally to reduce transportation. Try arranging a spending limit with family and friends. Ethical items ensure that workers are paid an honest wage. Also consider choosing items that are not tested on animals and are sustainably sourced. Lists of ethical companies can be found by searching online. Best of all, you might choose to make reciprocal arrangements with family and friends not to buy each other presents. They may be relieved!
Half of the paper America consumes each year is used to wrap and decorate consumer products! In Britain every Christmas we throw away 226,800 miles of wrapping paper. There is no need to throw it away. It can be re-used many times. Try using wrapping paper made from hemp, or from recycled paper. How about using attractive and re-usable cloth material instead of paper? Use ribbon instead of tape for sealing, so that the paper can be more easily re-used or re-cycled. The ribbon can be reused as well, as can the bows.
Do you need to buy cards for people you see regularly? If you decide not to, explain that you are trying to reduce consumerism. Home-made cards are a great idea; people like the thought and effort that goes into them, and you can re-use leftover resources – cards, calendars, things around the house etc… Another idea is to send your Christmas greetings via email. If you receive cards, recycle don’t bin them. It’s estimated that each year we bin 1 billion cards instead of recycling them.
Millions of Christmas trees both real and artificial are discarded every year in the UK. To cut down on plastic dependence and to offset carbon emissions, buy a living tree, and keep it in the pot in the house or garden when not being used as a Christmas tree. They can be used year after year. Norfolk pines are suitable, as they don’t grow large. Many Local Councils will collect and compost your tree when you’ve finished with it. Or you can take it to the local recycling centre, or compost it yourself in your garden. Decorations can be home-made or home baked.
Use LED lights,
as they use up to 95% less energy than traditional bulbs.
You’ve probably seen headlines like “Tackling the world’s most urgent problem: meat” (United Nations Environment Programme). Growing animals for food involves destruction and pollution of the land, forests, waters and atmosphere, and takes resources from the poorest people. Why not try some vegan meals over the Christmas period? Vegan meal recipes can be found online – at Veganuary.com for instance – and there are plenty of vegan ready meals in the shops.
FOR MORE IDEAS
Look online. Type in something like “tips for living sustainably over Christmas”. Let’s use Christmas time to move closer to God by thinking about how we can care for His creation. Have a healthy, holy, wholesome green Christmas! Milton Keynes Global Healing Group.