Green Gifting: Reduce Holiday Waste
By Emily Griffith, Sustainable Newton Secretary
If you’re reading this, odds are climate and environmental responsibility are important to you. And with public opinion polls showing 75% of Americans are alarmed, concerned, or cautious about climate change, you likely have family and friends on your shopping list who would appreciate a thoughtful gift given with sustainability in mind.
But shopping, wrapping, and getting gifts to loved ones on time is stressful enough! Won’t fretting over environmental impact make that even harder?
It’s actually easier than you may think, and Sustainable Newton is here to break down the terms and offer up some environmentally sound gift ideas for the holidays. Let’s start by identifying some items that contribute to waste and often go ignored.
Here comes the Bag Man
On New Years Day, we bring you another installment of our series focusing on personal resolutions Sustainable Newton Board members are making for 2020 to increase our efforts to live more sustainable lives with less negative impact on our planet and those who will inhabit it when we are gone.
By Julius J. Hayden, Sustainable Newton Treasurer & Lois Upham, Sustainable Newton Board Member
As some of my friends know, I have been on a crusade to raise awareness of the problems caused by plastic bags used to collect and transport our purchases. I am an old man and don’t mind playing the “ole’ geezer” card to make a point and perhaps change a mind -- if not, then raise awareness -- of the dangers of plastic endemic in our environment.
Almost without exception, I ask every clerk and bagger if they can tell me the source material for plastic bags. (It's petroleum or natural gas.) I go on to tell them, especially the young ones, that they will someday tell their grandchildren “we used to give away plastic bags by the handful, and that if they just had some of those bags now, how lucky they would be.” (Shades of back-to-the-future.)
It's the Last Straw for the McQuaides
As we continue sharing New Year's resolutions from our Sustainable Newton Board members, today we hear from Mike McQuaide. Everyone's next best step is a personal choice, but we hope you each find a meaningful action to take in 2020. We strive to lead by example, but you can find many great ideas here.
By Mike McQuaide, Sustainable Newton Board Member
Many of us have been captivated by David Attenborough’s documentary films featuring various dimensions of the natural world. What is less well known is Attenborough has received considerable criticism from environmental activists for his lack of attention to threats to the sustainability of the natural environment caused by human activity.
My wife and I watched Attenborough’s most recent series, and it was obvious the criticisms had found their mark. Each installment featured graphic assaults on the natural processes of the earth. Some films were difficult to watch, as mother seals would not abandon their dead pups killed by plastics found everywhere in the oceans. After we watched Attenborough’s documentary on the state of the oceans, our conversation turned to the predictable question of “what can we do?”
A Burden to Share, Not Bear
By Maurice Carter, Sustainable Newton President
As the video shows, consumer product manufacturers have long played a complicit role in causing and exacerbating current woes. It's a perfect example of what Systems Thinking practitioners refer to as a "Shifting the Burden" scenario.