While advertised deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday (project $6 billion in sales this season) call many of us to fulfill the gift lists of our loved ones, take a breath. Slow down and think about the purpose of gift giving as well as the effects our purchase power may have on other people and ecosystems around the world.

According to the World Watch Organization, consumption is at an all-time high. Americans over-consume many things, from oil to gas to food to other goods. The waste produced (whether it’s through the production or the landfill future of that product) is enormous, especially considering most of the things we buy in this country are non-renewable. Given the fragility of many ecosystems with the burden of 7+billion population and rising consumptive patterns, we cannot afford to give gifts carelessly.

“Calculations show that the planet has available 1.9 hectares of biologically productive land per person to supply resources and absorb wastes—yet the average person on Earth already uses 2.3 hectares worth. These “ecological footprints” range from the 9.7 hectares claimed by the average American to the 0.47 hectares used by the average Mozambican.” –  World Watch Organization

 

Lets counteract the over-consumptive tendencies of American excess and holiday material gift-giving this season by giving locally to individuals, businesses and organizations who are doing great work and who care about renewable, high-quality gifts and services.

Remember: Multiply your actions by at least 1 million, if not more. whether you are buying that cute cheap doll for a child or using plastic cups or buying your partner the latest iPhone, ask yourself, “Is this necessary? How else could my purchase power connect my loved ones to a beautiful world tomorrow? Years from now?” Here is a list to help you give long-lasting gifts that reverberate energy and health and local empowerment, not merely throwaway residue.

 

Donate to Organizations who support Whole System Health

Community Solar Join a local community solar garden and create a better energy system in Minnesota. Give the gift of healthy heating/lighting to your family today.

Eat for Equity This is a great organization that gives to many causes through catering events and local food use. Check out all of their efforts and pass on funds that will help more local efforts for health and responsible behavior in our communities.
Environment Minnesota is a citiizen-based environmental advocacy organization that works on protecting clean water, clean air, pollinators and more. Their campaigns like, “Solar for All” and “No Bees, No Food” get the word out for individuals like us to understand issues AND connect us to doing something about it. Donate to this wonderful organization today so they can continue their work for all of us.

Open Arms of Minnesota Give nutritious food to those in dire need. Donate to Open Arms where some of your funds will go to helping their Open Farms grow some of the ingredients for their meal programs.

Minnesota Craft Marketplace: Meet Your Makers

If here are still things you would like to give to your loved ones, try to find local sources and makers so that our money can stay local AND so you can know more about the production of that product. Gifts should not just be healthy (non-toxic, etc.) for your loved ones but should also be healthy for the person who produces them (good working conditions, etc.)