Be Sustainable This Holiday Season!

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The holiday season is an exciting time of the year- there’s just a lively energy around me and people have a little extra kick in their step.   This, along with the pretty lights, comfort foods, and extra time with family and friends always re-energizes me before the New Year.

Personally, I also find it most difficult to stay reflective during these times of the year- I’m constantly surrounded by people, gifts, and lots of STUFF that clutter my brain, and quickly I stop holding myself accountable for my actions.  The inner voice that usually says, “Wait a minute, do you need that? How do you plan to dispose of that?  How are my actions impacting others?,” conveniently shuts down that week after Thanksgiving when Christmas lights start going up.

I’m convinced that it doesn’t have to be this way.  I’m sure that if individuals work together, we can stay mindful of our actions while reaping all the benefits of this special season.  So this time around, I’ve identified six rather simple ways that city leaders and residents can continue to be “sustainable” during the holiday season.  Try them out and who knows? You may actually find that your city is forming annual traditions around some of them!

  1. Encourage residents to support local businesses by buying gifts and trees from local retailers
  2. Residents are always excited to view the city’s decorations- this year, set an example by purchasing LED lights for your city, which use roughly 1/10th as much energy as conventional lights and last much longer
  3. As an alternative to traditional holiday cards, utilize time, cost, and resource efficient e- greetings to send to staff members and residents
  4. ‘Tis the season of giving- identify local organizations where you and your constituents can donate time and/or money
  5. Suggest a White Elephant used gift exchange for your office holiday party, rather than a traditional Secret Santa— you’re likely to be entertained by folks fighting over something that’s been sitting in your house for years
  6. As the holidays wind down, remind residents of their waste and recycling options for Christmas trees, electronics, paper, and plastic (search earth911.com for recycling centers near you)

Happy Holiday Everyone!