By Liesbeth Deddens, Climeworks
Climate change sceptics excluded, we recognise that our environment is in very serious trouble indeed.
If you have loved ones who are deeply committed to the environment and combating climate change here are some ideas for gifts to inspire them this Christmas. Some of these suggestions may also be perfect for rewarding staff or treating special clients.
Of all the things we consider as environmentally damaging, water waste is perhaps not one that springs to mind very quickly. But, in fact, the average household uses 150 litres of water a day and very little of that is used for drinking or cooking. Harvesting rainwater is not only environmentally responsible, it also promotes self-sufficiency and saves money!
Rainwater harvesting can be as simple as having a water butt in your garden to collect rainwater for plants/lawns. It can go further with filtering systems, so rainwater can be used for toilets and baths. If you want to spoil your favourite “greeny” with anything from a decorative water butt to a complete harvesting system, you can get plenty of inspiration from Celtic Sustainables.
Your environmentalist might relish glamping, mountain biking, or zip lining for example. Companies such as BuyAGift and Red Letter Days arrange experiences like this.
If travel might negate some of the environmental benefit, why not find an experience nearby? If they don’t automatically offer gift vouchers, most local businesses will come up with something. Think about what they would really like, perhaps a slap-up meal at their local vegan restaurant or look into local courses in hedge laying or bee keeping.
Alternatively, give them an experience where they don’t need to leave the house. Zero travel and you won’t have to worry whether the current situation will mean they can’t redeem their vouchers in time, due to travel restrictions. Airbnb is a good place to look. Your loved one can dive with a shark expert, go on a safari, or even experience the Great Wall of China, all from the comfort of home!
With more trees planted we’ll have less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and more oxygen. Also, planting trees helps counter mass deforestation. However, there are limitations: A sapling is unlikely to suck up enough carbon to make much difference immediately; only mature trees really have an effect. You could buy your environmentalist friends a sapling to start their contribution to the process.
If space is an issue, you don’t have to land your loved one with a tree bigger than their garden can accommodate. The Woodland Trust gives you the opportunity to buy ‘trees for bees’. For just £10, you can help the Trust plant more trees and create future homes for wildlife in the UK. They even send you a certificate that you can personalise.
It may not sound like the kind of thing that will excite your loved one when sitting round the tree on Christmas morning, but your planet-friendly friend does not necessarily want lots of ‘stuff’. After all, consumerism and a surplus of objects that we don’t need and which then have to be disposed of, sooner or later, is part of the problem and reason we find ourselves in such a dire situation environmentally. So, it’s highly likely that knowing you have given your money to a charity that they believe in, will actually go down rather well.
There are so many charities and if you know what their favourite is, that’s the one to go for. If you’re not sure, think about what their chief reasons for caring about the environment are, and pick a charity accordingly. If they are concerned about the impact on wildlife, consider a donation to WWF, Born Free or similar. If deforestation is their bug bear, try something like the Rainforest Trust. And if you’re not entirely sure, Greenpeace is a good bet! The good part about this is you can donate what you would usually spend on a gift so the donation can be big or small enough to suit your budget.
Carbon dioxide removal
A Climeworks subscription is a unique proposition that anyone who wants to help reduce their impact on the planet will love!
Climeworks removes carbon dioxide directly from the air, which is then stored safely and permanently underground. What’s clever about this is that it removes historic CO2, i.e. the carbon dioxide that has been kicking around for some time and that needs to be removed to keep global warming under control.
Climeworks works with big organisations, such as Stripe or Shopify, to help them remove their carbon footprint but it is also available to people like you and me – making it a great Christmas gift. For as little as €7 per month, 85kg of carbon dioxide can be removed from the air per year. That’s the equivalent of around four trees.
A smarter smart phone
As techradar has reported “ICT (Information and Communication Technology) represented just 1% of the carbon footprint in 2007 and, according to the researchers, will top 14% by 2040.” Despite their size, the increased use of smartphones means they play a large part in these figures. Mining the resources and raw materials means that before it even lands on your doorstep the building of a smartphone represents 85-95% of its total carbon emissions for two years of its life.
Your friend or family member won’t thank you for buying them a new phone unless they really need one but, if they do, enter Fairphone; they are all about designing longer-lasting products that can be repaired. Their materials are responsibly sourced, and they have replaceable modules that you can use to fix the phone yourself! And they can be recycled when the time finally comes to replace them. At just under £400, they’re not an inexpensive gift, but they are one that the recipient can expect to enjoy for (literally) years to come! Or, again, why not get them a gift card for them to redeem when they do need it: https://shop.fairphone.com/ch_en/gift-card/
Solar chargers/power banks
Our phones need charging, as do other portable devices, such as tablets and laptops. This means using electricity, of course. To be fair, charging a device actually uses relatively little electricity but all the small efforts that go into conserving electricity add up. So, another great gift idea is a solar charger or a solar power bank.
In addition to the environmental benefits, solar chargers and solar power banks for your portable devices are both economical and handy.
There is a wide range of options. You find ideas here:
You have a wide choice of green gifts that you can give this Christmas so I hope these suggestions will help you go deep green.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Liesbeth Deddens is from Climeworks. Climeworks empowers people to reverse climate change by permanently removing carbon dioxide from the air.
One of two things happens to the Climeworks air-captured carbon dioxide: either it is returned to earth, stored safely and permanently away for millions of years, or it is upcycled into climate-friendly products such as carbon-neutral fuels and materials, fertilizer for greenhouses or bubbles in your fizzy drinks. The Climeworks direct air capture technology runs exclusively on clean energy, and the modular CO2 collectors can be stacked to build machines of any size.
Founded by engineers Christoph Gebald and Jan Wurzbacher, Climeworks strives to inspire 1 billion people to act now and remove carbon dioxide from the air.
Together we can build a climate-positive world. Join us!