The holiday season is upon us. It is a time for generosity and thankfulness, which often takes the form of gift giving between our loved ones. However, this generous spirit can also lead to massive consumption and waste.
Waste in the U.S. increases 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. That means an additional 1 million tons of waste each week heads into our already overflowing landfills. In Hawai‘i, this is even more critical due to limited space, lack of recycling facilities and landfill alternatives. At Pacific Whale Foundation, we see the impact of things people have “thrown away” because they end up on our beaches and in the oceans damaging marine habitats and animals directly.
So let’s work together to think about how our choices today can influence our world tomorrow. This holiday season, we can demonstrate our values and commitment to the environment with the gifts we choose and the companies we support.
Pacific Whale Foundation offers eco-conscious products in its Ocean Stores and prides itself on the many green features aboard our seven vessels. We strive to find as many ways as possible to make the green choice the easy choice and the only choice, when possible, for our staff, our passengers, our volunteers and our members.
Commit to trying out one or all 4 of these simple tips below for a greener holiday:
- Buy Green Gifts: Try to find gifts made out of recycled materials and without excessive packaging. Look for businesses that have been certified as environmentally and socially responsible (like us!). Buy a gift that creates a positive impact for others. Consider a cause that you or your loved one is passionate about and make a charitable donation in their honor. At Pacific Whale Foundation, you can Adopt or Name a Marine Animal on behalf of someone else, which designates them as a certified advocate and protector of that special animal and species. This is an especially popular gift for children and helps to inspire a lifetime of environmental stewardship and advocacy.
- Make your own gifts: Create art or jewelry; bake cookies; sew; knit; plant a garden; write a poem; write recipes; make wreaths; anything where you use your hands, heart and mind. We’ve made one step easy for you with a zero waste holiday card to send!
- Use creative, alternative wrapping: Scarves or fabric you have around the house; reusable bags or tins; old calendars, newspaper, or maps; brown paper bags you can decorate yourself. If you love festive wrapping paper then look for a label indicating recycled content (like we use in our ocean store) was used to make the paper (not just the famous recycle symbol, which typically just means the paper is recyclable after use). Consider this: If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.
- Buy Local: Buying products from local businesses means significantly more of your dollars are being used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers, and farms — strengthening the economic base of the whole community. Also, because local companies are much more likely to make purchases from other local businesses, less transportation is required, reducing harmful emissions. It is also easier to know if the company supports the community and environment, in addition to its bottom line. Consider buying experience-based gifts with zero waste that support local businesses, like a gift certificate to Northshore zipline (who offers a discount to PWF members), or go on a whalewatching cruise.
This holiday season, enjoy your ‘ohana while doing what you can to ensure a better world for their future.