Green gifts that give back

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‘Tis that time of year, the spirit of giving all around us.

Maybe you were one of millions who braved Black Friday and the occasional sharp elbow blow to the gut, hoping to find a meaningful gem for that special person on your list. Or, if you’re like me, you just hunkered down close to home. Whatever the case, chances are you’re still struggling with at least one present for that person who has everything… or determined to track down the gift that will finally bring a twinkle to the eye of the never-satisfied and/or expressionless gift recipient. I’m here to help with a few unique gift ideas that also give back in some way, making you feel good all the way around–even if the recipient remains comatose-like after opening (which I can’t imagine happening if they receive one of these!).

Linda Loudermilk : Mission Wear
We have a global water crisis on our hands: one billion people do not have access to clean water–women and children spend hours every day, walking miles to collect water, keeping them from school and work. Average water use: 5 gallons per day. Compare that to the average American’s daily use of 170 gallons. Linda Loudermilk–a pioneer sustainable fashion designer–donates a generous portion of each Water is a Human Right purchase to organizations dedicated to clean water initiatives. Choose from a faucet necklace, men’s tee or bamboo scarf.

shown here: faucet necklace made from reclaimed silver.

Andira Rain Tees
There are 3.4 million square miles of rain forest, which are being destroyed at an alarming rate:  64 acres per minute… 2.8 million acres per month. And while rainforests cover only 2% of the Earth’s surface, they house 1/2 of the entire animal and plant species–many bearing fruits or vegetables. 70% of the 3000 plants identified as active against cancer cells by the US National Cancer Institute are found in the rainforest.

Giving one of these Andira Rain Tree tees is just one way you can help save the rain forests. Guided by their mantra, ‘saving trees with tees,’ Andira combines the power of 100% organic materials, fair labor and a steadfast goal: for every organic cotton rain tee sold, a tree is donated to Kids Saving the Rain Forest to replace a destroyed one. They’re available in many styles (illustrated by children living in endangered rain forests) and sizes as small as 18 months up to women’s large.

coin purse made from recycled newspapers ... $23.99

ecoist handbag
A tree planted for every bag sold! Not only that, these chic and durable handbags are handwoven and Fair Trade made from reclaimed food wrappers,newspapers and magazines –so you’re helping people and the planet. They come small enough to stuff in a stocking, like the one shown here, up to larger portfolio and shoulder bag sizes.

Symbolic animal adoption
“Adopt” an endangered animal from the National Wildlife Federation and your donation will be used to protect America’s imperiled wildlife. A $30 donation comes with a Certificate of Adoption–in the gift recipients name– poster and plush of the animal chosen.

Whatever you choose, try to eliminate or at least reduce the amount of gift wrap used. Why? In the U.S., an additional 5 million tons of waste is generated during the holiday season. 4 million tons of this is wrapping paper and shopping bags.

Happy holidays!

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