The season of giving is here. But all the presents – as well as cards, wrapping, trees, matkustaa, decorations, food and drink – associated with Christmas take a toll on the planet and its people.
A 2007 study from York University, esimerkiksi, found that the average British consumer creates about 1,433lb (650kg) of carbon-dioxide emissions over three days of Christmas festivities. And in a 2008 raportti, King’s College professor Raymond Bryant called Christmas “the world’s greatest annual environmental disaster” (pdf).
If you’re finishing up your holiday shopping (or just getting started), it’s not too late to counteract the damage. Here are nine picks for gifts that do good:
National parks pass
Studies have shown that giving an experience forges a stronger relationship than giving something material – and there’s no greater experience than that of the great outdoors. A year-long federal recreation pass grants entry to more than 2,000 parks around the country, from the Hawaiian volcanoes to the Florida Everglades. It’s also a great way to support public lands. As a bonus, pass-holders can bring along three adults for free. Hinta: $80; $10 for seniors
Sevenly apparel and accessories
Sevenly’s got it going on: $7 from every item sold – be it a $26 tee or a cool silver pendant necklace – gets pumped into a good cause. Tällä hetkellä, sinun $7 goes to buying school supplies and hygiene products for children affected by terrorism, the Syrian Conflict and ISIS. The company’s already raised more than $4m for charity to date. It also has a CEO under 30. Hinta: $7 kohteeseen 130
Looking for a chocolate treat that fights climate change? TerraPass wants to help you out. Its Festive Bundle chocolate bar comes with 10,000lbs (4,535kg) of carbon offsets – equivalent to taking a passenger vehicle off the road, or halving a home’s electricity use, for one year. The carbon credits support methane capture and renewable-energy projects. This is the definition of guilt-free chocolate. Hinta: $60
Akola Project jewelry and accessories
This handmade collection has been crafted by marginalized women in Uganda. The business model includes a vocational training program that provides employment to women who are HIV positive and were formerly sex-trafficked. The company returns 100% of net proceeds to initiatives that empower women in Uganda, through training and employment. The pieces, made from cattle horn and hand-cast Ethiopian metal, are also absolutely beautiful. Hinta: alkaen $35
Many people are familiar with the “buy one, give one” model popularized by Toms Shoes. Now that concept has been extended to condoms. Designed by women from sustainably harvested, high-grade natural latex, these rubbers are available online in a range of pleasurable styles. The company also operates in Africa with female-run social enterprise programs that distribute the condoms in high-impact areas and work with students to get condoms into the hands of those who need them. Yhdysvalloissa, L Condoms is attempting to make condoms sexier and more ubiquitous. It even offers a one-hour condom delivery service in San Francisco, Brooklyn and Manhattan. Hinta: alkaen $15 per pack
A subscription to a farm “share” from a local CSA group (community-supported agriculture) is the perfect present for foodies or health nuts. Give the gift of delicious, fresh produce, meat or dairy and support local farmers in the bargain. Shop around to check the prices and sizes of farm boxes – more CSAs are offering small bundles this year than ever before – and check for farm initiatives that are also community-oriented. Tämä Idaho-based CSA, esimerkiksi, sponsors agricultural projects by refugees. Find a CSA in your (or your friend’s) neighborhood at JustFood.org.
Homeboy Industries baked goods
For someone with a sweet tooth, check out these pastries, made by chefs that have been given a second chance. Los Angeles-based Homeboy Industries is the world’s largest gang-intervention, reentry and rehab program. The organization’s kitchens train and mentor ex-gang members to work in food preparation. Seventy percent of people who enter Homeboy’s 18-month rehabilitation program end up finishing with life skills, references and a new record. Hinta: alkaen $8
Sseko Designs scarves
Ethical fashion brand Sseko started out as a sandal company – and a way to employ Ugandan women and help them earn money towards their education. Over the past five years, every graduate of Sseko’s training program has gone on to college. The company has expanded to East Africa, where its scarves are hand-woven by artisans who are paid a fair wage. (Sseko’s online store has some lovely bags, too.) Hinta: alkaen $33
The Giving Keys jewelry
The Giving Keys founder, singer/songwriter Caitlin Crosby, realized she might be in the wrong business when the used-key necklaces she made for her concerts sold better than her CDs. She engraved old, used keys with inspirational words and sayings that people could wear and pass on to loved ones. The idea of giving old items new life and “paying it forward” eventually inspired the company to employ people looking to transition from homelessness. Hinta: alkaen $38
Katharine Gammon is a journalist based in Santa Monica, writing about innovation, science and technology.
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