A university “sustainability director” is telling students to consider not buying Christmas presents this year because they might contribute to the “carbon footprint.”
Additionally, the director for William & Mary’s sustainability office said that if students do buy Christmas presents, they should consider not wrapping them and that they should even forego giving out Christmas cards.
“We’re trying to keep in mind that our carbon footprint is something that can expand during the holidays,” the director, Calandra Waters Lake, told a campus reporter. “And so how can we be wise about that through our purchases, through food that we eat, through the activities that we’re doing? Just trying to keep that in mind even though things get busy around the holidays.”
A few of her tips include:
“Step back and remember that the reason for the gift is to show someone you care. So, is buying a gift the best way to do that? Going out and doing something with the recipient to spend time with them may be a better option.”
“Possibly send paper holiday cards only to those who really appreciate receiving them, and go with e-cards for everybody else.”
“Because food can be a large part of one’s carbon, or greenhouse gas, footprint, make the most of the item. Purchasing food that is humanely raised and organic is part of that.”
Ironically, however, some of her other tips are actually quite useful in terms of combating materialism and consumerism, even if that wasn’t exactly the intent:
“If you’re going to give an item, decide whether it’s something you will make or purchase. Either way, evaluate both to consider whether the recipient is actually going to use the gift or if it’s just going to be one more thing.”
“Consider the clutter factor when making final gifting decisions. Food or other consumables such as handmade soaps are good options, and farmers markets are good resources for unique local items that come with little packaging.”
Unfortunately, rampant consumerism isn’t usually addressed head-on despite the annual fights on Black Friday over electronic slave goods made in overseas factories surrounded by suicide nets.
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