Archive for December, 2008

The Christmas Tree Dilemma

 Which is the better option?  Artificial or traditional fresh cut Christmas trees? 

What should you do with a tree after the season?

It truly depends on how your thought process works—the artificial tree can last many years and is recyclable; however, they are produced from petroleum based plastics, and some may even contain lead.  Not the most eco-conscious choice for some.  A traditional pine scent in your home may be what you look forward to every year.  But then, are you feeling guilty about tossing the tree out on your curb at the end of the season?  Is this destructive and wasteful in your mind? This year, then, look into recycling your tree into mulch.  This is great for flowerbeds and gardens.  If that’s too much work for you or you personally don’t need the mulch, contact your local recycling center to see if they have a seasonal Christmas tree recycling program. They may be able to use the trees for mulch at parks. If you happen to live near Hartwell Lake  in Georgia, you can drop off your unadorned Christmas tree so that “the recycled trees will be used as fish attractors in Hartwell Lake. The trees will be tied in bundles, weighted with concrete anchors, and submerged in various locations marked with fish attractor buoys. Small trees and brush provide cover for fish, particularly as nursery areas for juvenile fish. In addition, they provide habitat for aquatic insects—essential food during the early stages of most fish species.” For more information, contact the Hartwell Lake Operations Manager’s Office at   888-893-0678, ext. 335.

If you do opt for the real tree, before purchasing, make sure it is organic—you don’t want harmful chemicals in your home and then, in turn releasing toxins into your community.  On the Beyond Pesticides website, they provide great resources that will help you locate a pesticide-free Christmas tree:

The holiday tree planting program going on in San Fransisco should be the model for all cities.  An environmental group has paired with the city government to sell potted trees in several (non-pine) varieties at Christmas for $90. Once the holiday is over, the trees will be picked up and planted along city streets. You can check out how it works at

If you are reading all these fantastic ideas and wished this information was published earlier, don’t worry:  this can be your Earth Promise for next holiday season.

Check out Earth Promise for more ideas revolving around the holidays as well as the rest of the year.



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Green Shoppers…The Numbers Are Increasing

Very interesting stats from Deloitte’s 2008 Annual Holiday Survey on people making their holiday habits a bit greener.  While there is a ways to go, these numbers show that people are aware when they shop or deal with holidays.  The stat that was most impressive was that about half of the respondents would pay more for green gifts, up from only 17% last year.  That is substantial. 

Let’s keep educating ourselves and others on the many ways we can make a difference when it comes to the environment.  Make Earth Promises for changes around your holiday steps as well as with other aspects of your life including your home, your workplace,travel and your driving habits. 

Study: Holiday Shopping Habits Become Greener

-By Kenneth Hein

Consumers are increasingly putting plastic shopping bags and non-green wrapping items on their naughty list, according to Deloitte’s 2008 Annual Holiday Survey.

Nearly half of the 13,000 consumers polled said they’d be willing to pay more for green gifts. This was up from 17 percent last year.

“A significant number of people are willing to pay more for green gifts or supplies, which tells us that this issue is on shoppers’ minds and is becoming more central to consumers’ purchasing decisions,” said Stacy Janiak, Deloitte’s U.S. retail leader.

They are also more likely to be carrying these gifts home in a non-plastic shopping bag. Thirty-eight percent of those polled said they will use fewer bags this year compared to 27 percent last year.

Also, a significant number of people will not be buying as much wrapping paper. Nearly a quarter (21 percent) of respondents said they are considering not wrapping presents to preserve paper. Twenty percent said they will purchase more eco-friendly gifts this year. And, 14 percent are expecting to buy more organic products.

Consumers will also factor in where they shop. Eighteen percent of people surveyed said they will shop at green retailers than they did in the past.

“Savvy retailers are taking concrete steps to become more environmentally friendly, and are incorporating this sensibility into their operations, as well as their customer communications,” said Janiak. “At the same time, they should be cautious about promoting their eco-initiatives too early, before they’ve made real progress, due to the potential for consumer backlash.”

Check out Earth Promise for ways you can help the environment.

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Earth Promise Green Tips for the Holidays

What can you do to make the upcoming holidays green?  I know everyone wants a white Christmas.  But I hope Bing Crosby would want a green one during the crisis we are in now.  With less than two weeks to all the various holidays (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc), here are a three quick and easy steps you can take to dream of that Green Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa.

Throwing a party?  Instead of using paper plates, plastic utensils, and paper napkins, why not buy a set of plates, utensils and other party items that can be re-used at next year’s holiday party.  You will save the expense next year and the dirty plastic dishes won’t end up in a land fill.

Wrapping the gifts?  Use old magazines, use newspaper, use a nice bag that you already received instead of paper.  Once again, it will save you money and also think of what happens – you pay for a roll of paper, you wrap the gifts (always having extra scraps that get tossed), the person unwraps the gift and the paper immediately gets  thrown in the garbage.   One option – carefully open the wrapping paper to save and reuse for another gift.  Reuse – one of the Big Three Rs.  

Sending out holiday cards?  How about get a nice picture of the family, the dog, the Christmas tree and attach it to an email.  Write some kind holiday words and send them out.  Even make reference to why you are emailing versus sending.  You will save oodles of money not having to get the picture printed on a nice card, the envelopes and the stamps.  And once again – think of the waste.  All the envelopes…and a lot of people I am sorry to say, throw the card away too.  Email it out.  It’s cheap and you don’t have to write out the addresses either!

Make these Earth Promises today.  Each small step we take will have a positive effect on the environment.  You may think my wrapping paper won’t matter.  But imagine if your entire family or neighborhood did the same.  Caring Together.

Check out Earth Promise for many other promises you can make to benefit the environment.

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Obama, Gore and the Climate Change Priority

After Al Gore met with President-elect Obama met, it “appears” that he will not be a part of Obama’s cabinet.  With the power Gore has regarding addressing climate change, it may not even matter where he is when he discusses what he thinks.  I am guessing Gore has Obama’s ear on this topic and will be an integral part of the next steps, whether we refer to him as “Climate Czar” or not.

Speaking with Vice President-elect Biden and Gore, Obama stated, “All three of us are in agreement that the time for delay is over, the time for denial is over.”

It is nice to hear how important this topic is to Obama and in their meeting addressing climate change is a “matter of urgency”.  In addition, with the economy the way it is, it will create new jobs, something that is so important as our unemployment rate approaches 7%.  And he is not talking about a few jobs here and there.  He has mentioned 2.5 million jobs. 

“We have the opportunity now to create jobs all across this country, in all 50 states, to re-power America, to redesign how we use energy, to think about how we are increasing efficiency, to make our economy stronger, make us more safe, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and make us competitive for decades to come, even as we’re saving the planet,” Obama said.

It is very important that we all get behind this kind of plan.  Helping the environment and the economy at the same time. 


Want to help combat global warming and the climate crisis? Visit Earth Promise and find ways you can make changes in your lifestyle that will have a positive effect on the health of the environment.

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