The Gift of Sustainability

<p><img src="http://www.carbonfund.org/site/uploads/Climate-tag2.jpg" border="0" alt="" hspace="10" vspace="5" align="right" />Now that the holiday shopping season is in full swing, let's pause to remember how much pollution and other damage to the environment often are caused by life in the industrialized world. Online videos such as <a href="http://www.keyboard-culture-global-warming.com/2007/12/the_story_of_stuf... target="_blank">The Story of Stuff</a> help illustrate the hidden pitfalls of choosing gifts based solely on their likelihood of raising a smile when unwrapped.</p>
<p>The short explanation is that filling one's Christmas list with sustainable choices quite literally can be a full-time job. How much fun would that be? Well, to this tree hugger, it would be an enjoyable enterprise but likely still feel like a large-scale project.</p>
<h3>So, what alternatives do we have?</h3>
<p><img src="http://www.mistersustainable.com/images/24tons.jpg" border="0" alt="" hspace="5" vspace="5" align="left" />Well, by all means, we can minimize the damage by combining trips to retailers as much as possible. Better still, we can manufacture presents ourselves (there are few green alternatives to elbow grease!).</p>
<p>We also can pool our funds and give a single, large present for the whole family. In the end, though, I recognize the odds that most of us will place in stockings and under the tree this year a variety of gifts, many of which will pollute.</p>
<p>I am no ogre so I won't ask you to abstain from Christmas just to fight global warming, deforestation, ocean acidification and other damage. The holidays are a time to cherish and celebrate, right?</p>
<p>The good news is that we now have very effective methods of offsetting the environmental impact of the presents we buy and wrap. While not as good an option from an environmental perspective as purchasing nothing at retail,&nbsp;buying carbon offsets can be an effective foray into low-carbon, carbon-free (as my wife Catrin and I have achieved)&nbsp;or negative-carbon living for the new year.</p>
<p><img src="http://www.mistersustainable.com/images/bubble.jpg" border="0" alt="" hspace="5" vspace="5" align="right" />Perhaps best of all, CarbonFund.org has taken up a leadership position in making it quick, easy and cost-effective for all of us. With their <a href="http://www.carbonfund.org/sites/pages/land/holiday_2008" target="_blank">Holiday ClimateTags</a>, the good people at <a href="http://www.carbonfund.org/sites/pages/land/holiday_2008" target="_blank">CarbonFund.org</a> have achieved much in simplifying the path this holiday season so that each of us can <em>Reduce What You Can, Offset What You Can't.</em> My hat is off to them!</p>
<p style="text-weight:bold"><strong>Ho ho ho!</strong></p>
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<p><span style="color: #006600;font-weight:bold">&gt;&gt; <a href="http://www.keyboard-culture-global-warming.com">Be sure to visit Corbett's high-traffic expert blog on Keyboard Culture to read more.</a></span></p>