Environmental advocate and photographer Meg Haywood-Sullivan consults on the eco-friendly gifts to give and get this year if you want to stay off Mother Nature’s naughty list.
The holidays are that magic time of year meant for holding those you love extra close while the snow flies outside…yada yada. As a photographer and environmentalist, I spend my whole year chasing stories about adventure and sustainability, and while the holiday season is my favorite, it tends to produce a lot of waste. That’s why RANGE and I teamed up to curate a list of my favorite Earth-conscious gifts (plus some tips for how to be a better Earthling all year).
For The Peak Pusher
The mountains are calling, and so is the inclement weather. For the snow lover on your list, the Holden Corkshell Jacket is the whole package: waterproof, breathable, and made with recycled cork. You could also get him or her membership to Protect Our Winters, the premiere climate advocacy group for the winter sports community. You can’t go wrong with Mizu’s new 360 Everyday Filter, which cleans questionable H2O on the go, so you can say “no” to single-use plastic bottles. Paul Hawken’s Drawdown is an absolute must-read for anyone interested in the environment. It’s the most comprehensive guide to reducing global warming, and it’s filled with practical ideas and messages of hope.
For The Sea Slider
Bring on the booties and ice-cream headaches! The palo santo-scented Kassia Surf Wax is a guaranteed hit for your favorite eco-minded surfer. Also a winner? A one-of-a-kind Sagebrush board bag, handmade in Los Angeles using upcycled coffee bean sacks (I have four of them). As for stocking stuffers, pick up Manda’s organic, reef-safe sunscreen and the Pela biodegradable iPhone case — the Surfrider Foundation model, of course.
For The City Slicker
Socks with sandals makes for a beyond-cozy look, so wrap up some Keen Uneeks with a pair of Arvin Goods socks for the city dweller on your list (KEEN supports more than 90 nonprofits dedicated to protecting outdoor places). Simply Straws’ hand-blown glass straws come in a range of jewel-toned colors and help your iced-coffee lover pass on harmful single-use plastic versions. For the doodlers in your life, try the Allswell Notebook, printed on American-made recycled paper, and to rescue those rosy cheeks on your list, put a bow on a bottle of EiR NYC Face Rescue face oil. It smells divine and hydrates even the driest of dry skin.
For Mama Earth
Let’s not forget the planet itself when we’re checking that list twice. The first steps taken toward environmental advocacy are the most important. Here’s how to get started:
1. Get Involved. Vote, show up to climate marches, join local beach cleanups, and send emails to representatives (yes, they record every single one).
2. Reduce Your Personal Footprint. Eat more plants and less meat, stop food waste by joining the clean-plate club (thanks, Mom), compost, and bring your own reusable mugs, water bottles, straws, and grocery bags.
3. Educate Yourself: Follow social media accounts like @nrdc_org, @protectourwinters, @surfrider, @sealegacy, read up with books like Drawdown, and study those climate assessment reports that tend to get lost in all the other political news out there.
Another way to reduce holiday waste? Skip traditional gifts for a book or coffee-table tome they’ll keep forever. We’ve got some ideas.