Whether you and your family are celebrating Christmas, Eid al-Adha, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule or New Years Eve, your celebration with friends, family and neighbours will likely include gift giving.
This issue of Earth Tones provides you with a number of gift giving ideas that allow you to say something special to the one(s) you care about while directly reducing your impact on the environment. So conserve and be merry. It’s really easy!
And while we’re on the topic of giving, there are a number of ways you can support the important work Earth Day Canada does each year. With the New Year right in front of us, why not purchase your 2009 calendar from MiCalendar. This easy to use tool allows you to build your own calendar or purchase an assembled 2009 Earth Day Canada calendar with part of the proceeds going to support EDC programs. You can also make a donation directly to Earth Day Canada and receive a tax receipt in exchange.
Regardless of the gifts you offer your loved ones this holiday season, EDC offers the best gift of all: year round environmental education. Visit earthday.ca for the gift that keeps on giving for generations to come.
Conserve and Be Merry
For many of us, the holidays are a time to indulge, spend money we don’t have, and have fun. You might say acting responsibly is a neglected value this time of year.
So while practicing conservation seems like the furthest thing from the holiday norm, you can actually ease the madness of the season by being green. Here are some ideas from the EcoAction Teams program on how to green your holidays.
For something truly unique, look for treasures at antique shops or second-hand stores. You might just find a beautiful piece of jewellery, a first-edition book, or an inexpensive vase for your organic flowers.
GIVE THE GREEN BUCKS
For the philanthropist on your list (or the person who has everything), give them a gift card for a Canadian charity from www.canadahelps.org. You choose the amount and the recipient, then they pick between hundreds of charities (be sure to pick Earth Day Canada!). You will receive a tax receipt for your donation.
GIFTS THAT KEEP GIVING
What involves hands-on participation, a learning opportunity and can be enjoyed throughout the year? A class! There’s something out there for everyone on your list; pottery, cooking, photography, woodworking, knitting, or language classes, just to name a few.
DO SOMETHING SPECIAL TOGETHER
Instead of buying over-packaged gifts that may never be used (or sit in storage until you move), pool your money and do something special with your friends or family. Take a trip together you could not otherwise afford.
I Resolve to Party for a Good Cause
Think of a child’s birthday party. Gigantic cakes, fun activities and games, and certainly presents. Lots of presents. This year why not give your child the opportunity to give to others in addition to receiving their own fantastic gift.
ECHOage offers birthday boys and girls the opportunity to receive one meaningful gift while giving generously to a leading charity (be sure to pick EDC’s EcoKids). The idea is simple. Guests are invited to an ECHOage birthday party online. Instead of bringing a wrapped and packaged present, guests simply rsvp and give a secure online gift of money. Payments are pooled for the purchase of ONE special gift and to support ONE meaningful cause.
So this year, make your New Year’s resolution to host an ECHOage birthday party. Celebrate the gift of giving and send your child a message that quality is more important than quantity and that even at a time when others are doing nice things for you, you can do good things for others.
The Real Winter Warmer
There is nothing more rewarding than volunteering over the holiday season. Whether you help in a soup kitchen, deliver food baskets or volunteer at a children’s charity, it feels fantastic. If you are a youth who is looking to volunteer for the environment after the holiday season then look no further.
Earth Day Canada’s EcoMentors program is looking for youth volunteers to facilitate environmentally focused workshops for peer-groups and young people. This fun and engaging EDC program offers youth the opportunity to develop important skills for the future, volunteer with their peers and engage future generations of environmental leaders.
If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering and taking part in a rewarding peer-led environmental learning experience, check out the EcoMentors program. Youth. Environment. Leadership. www.ecomentors.ca
Toyota Canada: Making Things Better
Make things better. A philosophy of continuous improvement. Small steps added together to make a big difference. At work. At home. In the community. Even in the world at large. This is Toyota’s approach to everything they do, from their hybrid vehicles, to recycling initiatives and partnerships with organizations like Earth Day Canada.
Since 2003, Toyota Canada Inc and Earth Day Canada have worked together to promote youth leadership and positive environmental action through the Toyota Earth Day Scholarship Program. To date, $425 000 has been awarded to 85 of Canada’s most impressive environmental leaders and every year we continue to empower youth to exceed their potential.
“The commitment to environmental stewardship that we see with this program is astounding,” said Stephen Beatty, Managing Director of Toyota Canada Inc. “We are proud to reward these deserving students as they help make things better day after day for the environment. I know we will continue to see great things from them going forward.”
Applications for this year’s scholarship awards are now being received. Visit www.earthday.ca for your chance to compete for one of fifteen $5 000 scholarships to support your post secondary studies, regardless of your chosen field of study. The application deadline is January 31, 2009.