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Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation

A Ministry of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

United States Province

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Eco-Tips for the Holidays

December 10th, 2010

We have a new Eco-Tips page on this site. Updated weekly, it has suggestions on how to make our everyday lives more environmentally sustainable – and fun! Please visit the Eco-Tips page in English and in Spanish.

Our thanks for these weekly posts go out to a committed parishioner in the Oblate parish of Mary Immaculate in Pacoima, California! These weekly tips are printed in the Sunday bulletin in that parish. Feel free to use them for your church.

Consider giving experiences rather than things:

As we enter the holiday season, consumers flock to malls, department stores and outlets in droves to search for that perfect gift, that one card that says it all, that tree to end all trees. But as we feast, give gifts, decorate and travel, we also consume lots of resources and generate lots of waste. A recent report noted that the amount of household garbage in the United States generally increases by 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, from 4 million tons to 5 million tons.

Think about what you can do to stop the impact of the holidays on earth. The people we love will most enjoy spending time with us; think about how you could do this instead of buying more things.

When decorating this Christmas think green:

  • Decorate with more energy efficient LEDs (light emitting diodes) strings rather than the larger, old fashioned lights. And be sure to turn them on only when someone’s around to appreciate them.
  • Wrap gifts using old newspapers or paper bags. Be creative. Use newspaper or colorful pages from magazines and hang them a Christmas ornament. You can also pack presents in a beautiful scarf and make the packaging part of the present.
  • Avoid foil and plastic-embossed paper because these use more resources in the manufacturing process.
  • When you’re not enjoying a fire in your fireplace, close the flue and block the hearth to prevent heat loss.

Green Your Holidays, and every day:

  • Carpool when you go shopping.
  • Bring your own bags.
  • And most important don’t waste food. Save the plastic containers and jars from food you buy and use them to save food or take the leftovers from a restaurant.

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