If we work together, we can put more time towards rubbish separation, seek fresh air in our cities or create new conservation areas. Want to know where to start? This week, we will be providing simple tips to start building a more climate-friendly life. Whether you're just getting started on the green path or you're a pro, there's tips for everyone. Today we look at gifts that give back. Let's go!
Christmas is just around the corner – a few sustainable gift tips never go astray. We have a slight ulterior motive (or maybe two): we are recommending gifts that make more than one person happy. Because we all have enough. Others do not. So, we have gathered together our top five gifts that give back.
“Water Great Gift!”
The easiest and probably most purposeful way to spend money on someone else is to donate to charity. Donating instead of outright giving means making a donation in someone's name thereby not only making your loved one happy but also people in other parts of the world. And your donation to meaningful projects not only helps to make the world a better place - thanks to online donation tools, this method of “gift-giving” eases pre-Christmas stress!
Clean drinking water, chickens, goats, school supplies – you can donate a range of things via Oxfam Unwrapped. 10 GBP will see one safe water supply pump set up or maintained as well as all necessary pumps, tanks and taps.
You can also donate to one of RESET's project partners. A contribution to Linux4Africa helps bridge the digital divide; to Mobisol enables low-income people the possibility to finance their own solar panels; and to RESET will help us grow.
The Giving Tree
Given the plethora of trees standing in people's homes at this time of year, you would be forgiven for forgetting that trees are desperately underrepresented in many parts of the world. Plant a tree (or ten) in honour of your giftee and help combat climate change. World Vision, Plant a Billion and Trees for the Future all have good tree planting programs.
Time Instead of Things
What about a communal knitting evening, a bike repair workshop, a sewing course or cooking lessons? A more valuable (in all senses of the word) gift idea is time instead of stuff given that most of us have so little of it. This is the idea behind 'Zeit statt Zeug' (Time Instead of Things). The platform provides ideas for gifts of time. Once you have found a gift, you can design a card and send it via email. To make sure the event is honoured, and doesn't slip off the radar like a voucher at the back of a drawer, an appointment is sent soon after.
Fair-giving, Not Forgotten
Our tip: if it must be gifts, then fair gifts! Fair trade products mean that producer receive fair compensation for the goods and their work. Given the number of fair trade products on the market is rising all the time, their initial relegation to the luxury, niche end of the supermarket aisle is no longer the case. Traidcraft, a UK-based organisation that fights poverty through trade, has put together a selection of Christmas products alongside its regular array of offerings from jewellery to toys and clothing.
The idea is simple: you buy something and the organisation you bought it from will, in turn, donate or "gift" something to people in need. Dedicated charity shopping portals, like iGive and Give as you live actually take the legwork out of the process for you, aggregating online shops that have such deals in place so that you don't have to trawl through the internet.
Looking to give a photo? Photocircle gives new meaning to the term "snap happy", allowing you to upload a photo, have it professionally printed and shipped to your loved one while donating part of the proceeds of the sale to one of its numerous aid partner projects across the world.
Still haven't found what you are looking for? You can find more gift ideas as well as a list of shops producing ethical and eco-friendly products in our Act Now article All Give, No Take: Ethical Gifts.
Happy gift giving!
What else can you do? Find more quick tips from our editorial special here: Small Steps, Big Impact