Green giving (Day 84)…

May 23, 2007

There’s nothing more heart-warming than a truly thoughtful gift, whether you’re giving or receiving it. My friend Meghan is good at this: for my birthday, she gave me something that not only reflected what’s important to me but what’s important to her, too: a stylish tote bag full of homemade, nutritious goodies, all stored in reusable mason jars, wrapped in some funky crinoline she found in her apartment, leftover from a bridesmaid’s dress. It satisfied both the eco-nerd in me and the health-geek in her, all while being stylish (Meg does have a degree, and a gold medal, in fashion after all, but that’s a whole other story).

So my next challenge is to make sure I always incorporate some “green” element into my gift-giving, whether it’s a tote bag, some cake from a local farmers market or contributing to a good cause on their behalf. When I first started this blog, one Thistle reader (was it you, Shawn? I can’t remember!) said he always hands out CFL light bulbs in place of loot bags at parties, which is another great idea.

But the key is to make sure that the gift is still something my friend or family member wants, as opposed to something I feel they should want. Because while I, personally, would love to get a solar-powered battery charger or the latest in composting technology, not everyone is so into that. My first green gift was to my mum recently: I copied Meghan and went for the tote bag, but got one with a nice artsy photo of my sister and me screened onto it rather than one with a slogan like “I’m not a plastic bag” on it, because that’s just not her, as well as some body wash.

Anyone got any other green gift ideas? Remember that I’m not using my oven or fridge anymore, though, so homemade cookies are unfortunately not an option.

Battle of the bulbs (Day 34)…

April 3, 2007


I finally, finally went to Canadian Tire to pick up some compact fluorescent lovin’, but ended up standing like a deer in LED headlights, staring blankly at the ginormous wall of bulbs, unable to determine which brand was best.

In the end, because I had four bulbs to change, I decided to buy two of the NOMA soft white bulbs and two of the General Electric “plus compacte!” ones, both 13 watts (equal to 60 watts). The advantage of the former was that the light would presumably be more romantic; the latter ones, on the other hand, were even more compact (and thus cuter) in form.

Well, as much as I appreciate mood lighting, I have to say I can’t really see a difference when it comes to the soft white bulbs — both brands give off a light that’s slightly harsher than my usual incandescent ones, though thankfully not as horrid as the fluorescent tubes at my office. Full points, however, go to General Electric for their stubby CFLs, which were the only ones that fit in my bedside lamps without hitting the shade at the top.

After I screwed them all in, I went to this website One Billion Bulbs, which is trying to get people to log in with how many bulbs they’ve changed to CFLs. Upon entering my info, I got this nice little message: “Thank you for taking the time to change 4 lightbulb(s). Your total annual savings are estimated to be $24.12. Your actions will help prevent approximately 491 lbs of greenhouse gases from being spewed into the atmosphere each year.” Aww — professional, and yet not afraid to use the word “spewed.” My kind of organization.