Green gifts for all budgets in 2021 »Yale Climate Connections


Hi Sara!

I’m trying to find a gift for my mom for Christmas, and I love the idea of ​​giving a gift for climate action. Do you have any recommendations?

Thank you for your time

– Laura

Hi Laura,

Sure thing. Here is a list of ecological gift ideas for all budgets.

A board game, puzzle, houseplant, or other item from your local “Don’t Buy Anything” group (Price: free)

Why is it climate friendly: Manufacturing products requires consumption of energy and natural resources, so it is better for the climate to reuse the products rather than buy new ones. The Buy Nothing Project, a gift network created by two women in Washington state in 2013, encourages neighbors to freely share goods and services with each other. The project’s “Holiday Challenge” encourages participants to donate (and request) used items that can be reused as gifts. To join, download the free group app or search for a group near you on Facebook.

Another option: a treasure from your local thrift store

A “voucher” promising to help the beneficiary take climate action (Price: free)

Why it’s climate friendly: With a voucher, you are giving a gift of your time. You can promise to write letters to elected officials on behalf of the recipient, teach them about plant-based cooking, or help the recipient install weather stripping. The voucher is tailored to the recipient’s interests and your skills, making it a one-of-a-kind gift.

Renewable energy credits (Price: $)

Why they’re climate-friendly: About a quarter of carbon pollution in the United States comes from power plants that burn natural gas and coal to generate electricity. With renewable energy credits, you can offer your loved ones electricity produced from wind, solar or other renewable sources. For about $ 5 per month, your friends or family members will be entitled to call themselves “100% powered by clean electricity”.

Where to buy: through services such as Arcadia Power or other groups certified by the non-profit group Green-e

Caveat: As David Roberts explains in this Vox column, it’s not clear that renewable energy credits create incentives for additional renewable energy facilities to come online. Yet purchasing credits helps demonstrate demand for clean electrical products.

Kit Narcissus Paperwhite (Price: $)

Why they’re climate-friendly: Your friends and family will feel connected to nature even in winter when they grow these fragrant indoor flowers. To make white paper narcissus kits, purchase inexpensive light bulbs at a hardware store or garden center, salvaged glass vases or jars, and small pebbles. Recipients will place the bulbs on the pebbles inside the vases, add water, then wait four to six weeks for the flowers to emerge.

Climate disaster pack (Price: $)

Why It’s Climate Friendly: This 30-card expansion of the popular ‘Cards Against Humanity’ game is sure to get your friends talking about climate change. As I explained, most people don’t have enough conversations about the problem.

Bonus: The creator of the game is offering a discount if you live in an area that is on track to experience heat waves, hurricanes, droughts, downpours or rising seas.

Compost bucket (Price: $$)

Why it’s climate friendly: The perfect gift for the person with a green thumb. Inside landfills, decomposing food scraps release methane, a powerful heat-trapping gas. But composting turns food waste into a rich fertilizer popular with gardeners.

A book on climate solutions (Price: $$)

Why it’s climate friendly: The topic of climate change can make people sad, scared, and outraged, and so it’s important to remember that many people are working hard to fix the problem. Help your network members better understand the possible solutions with a selection from this list by Michael Svoboda, Yale Climate Connections contributor.

Bonus Recommendation: “The Nature of Oaks,” by Douglas W. Tallamy

A sweater, slippers, socks or a blanket (Price: $$)

Why it’s eco-friendly: Nestled inside a cozy fabric, your loved ones will stay warm even if they turn down the thermostat. Not only will they reduce carbon pollution, but they will save money on home heating costs, which are expected to skyrocket this winter.

A bike (Price: $$$)

Why it’s climate friendly: Transportation is the biggest source of carbon pollution in the United States. Replacing gas-guzzling car trips with a ride on two wheels can help. If you can afford it, consider an electric bike for the rider in your life. According to recent research, urban e-bike owners tend to use them as a replacement for car trips.

Readers, what other climate-friendly gifts should I add to this list? Send your suggestions to [email protected]

Bonus tip: To avoid creating mountains of wrapping paper waste, present your gifts in reusable paper or fabric gift bags – then, like the women in this Saturday Night Live skit, make sure they do. get used to it year after year.

Jennifer Marlon contributed.

A question about climate change? Send it to [email protected] Questions can be edited for length and clarity.

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