A card for the yard (Day 162)…

August 9, 2007

seed card

I was going to make today’s post about e-cards and how they’re a more environmentally sound alternative to regular greeting cards because no paper is involved. But to be honest, I just can’t do it. I can’t give someone a birthday or Christmas present without a card physically attached.

So instead, I’m just going to make them myself from scrap paper around the house or get one of these nifty cards that have wildflower seeds embedded into them, which you can plant in the garden. Although the one in the photo comes in a plastic sleeve, I’ve seen others that come without any packaging, and I think it’s a nice alternative — instead of sending the message that you’re too lazy and cheap to get a real card, it says that you put some extra thought into it and decided to do something that would give back to the earth rather than take from it.

The only downside to this is that most of these eco-cards don’t come with funny messages written on them, which means I’ll have to give my sense of humour a little pep talk. I think I might have to just steal some lines from the Selfish Kitty guys (my favourite is the “Bool Banch” one).

Photo of a plantable greeting card from this site

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Green philanthropy (Day 139)…

July 17, 2007

Dionicio

Kowai always has great ideas for me to steal — the most recent one is to donate to cool green organizations like Kiva, which lend money to specific entrepreneurs in the developing world to help them overcome poverty and in turn contribute to the economy (the New York Times has covered this initiative, as have other media outlets, so you know they’re legit).

What I love about the website is that it lets you see photos of the entrepreneur, often at their food stand or workshop or studio, and provides detailed descriptions of who they are, where they live, why they want to start this business, how much money they need, how much they’ve raised so far, and you can even see who else has donated.

I decided to give my $25 (not much, but I’ll be doing this regularly from now on) to a man in Ecuador named Dionicio Pascual, who’s starting up a general store. His photo was adorable and he seemed to have his values in order; at the time he’d only raised 5% of his goal so I figured I’d give him a boost. Maybe now he can start buying some rice or pasta in bulk.

I also plan on donating to my favourite charity, the World Wildlife Fund, and might join the Sierra Club, too. And it pretty much goes without saying that I’ll be adopting more than a few chocolate trees. The giving will happen at least once a month, and suggestions are more than welcome.

Photo of Dionicio from Kiva.org


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.