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EcoWatch's Favorite Green Gifts for the Holidays
The holidays are coming and if you're stuck on what to give your eco-conscious friend or relative, we've got you covered. At EcoWatch, we're big fans of homemade presents, products that actually help the planet, and putting our dollars towards a good cause. This year, our staff has rounded up some of the best green gifts we've given and received, as well as the items on our wish list.
Lorraine Chow, freelance reporter
Best Green Gift: A Zero-Waste Notebook
A very thoughtful friend gave me a binder full of ideas to encourage a trash-free lifestyle. The pages were filled with creative ways to use up food scraps, beauty and hygiene DIYs, as well as natural household cleaning tips and recipes.
On My Wish List: Who Gives a Crap's Premium Bamboo Toilet Paper
I wouldn't write a review about toilet paper unless it's actually that good, but I requested my family get me this fancy, three-ply TP for Christmas. It's soft, durable and doesn't contribute to deforestation because it's made of bamboo. The best part? Fifty percent of the company's profits go to help build new toilets in countries where they are needed.
Olivia Rosane, freelance reporter
Best Green Gift: Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers Cookbook
A cousin gave this cookbook to me when I was first learning to cook for myself. It has tasty vegetarian recipes (plus some fish), but also tells you how to cut costs and save food by substituting certain ingredients for what you already have in your fridge. Going meat-free is an important way to reduce your ecological footprint, and this book will get you and your loved ones off to a delicious start!
On My Wish List: Eco Snack Wrap
In my attempts to cut back on plastic waste, one of the hardest problems to solve has been finding a sustainable way to pack lunches and snacks while on-the-go. That's why I'm asking for an Eco Snack Wrap food bag this year. Not only are they attractive and environmentally friendly, they are also ethically made at a factory in India chosen for its environmental and fair labor standards.
Jordan Simmons, social media manager
Best Green Gift: Norwex BacLock® cloths
My perspective on cleaning has shifted from chemical cleaning to zero-waste mechanical cleaning ever since being gifted a set of Norwex BacLock® cloths. The microfiber cloth is woven with an antibacterial agent that removes up to 99 percent of bacteria. The set includes cloths for body, face, windows and kitchen, which eliminates the need for products wrapped in plastic or laden with unnecessary chemicals.
On My Wish List: Bambaw's Bamboo Safety Razor
The zero-waste lifestyle has inspired me to wish for this bamboo and stainless steel safety razor. The company strives to reduce waste while offering affordable, quality and zero-waste solutions.
Chris McDermott, news editor
Best Green Gift: Alchemy Goods Franklin Wallet
In my experience, being eco-conscious often meant paying a premium for lesser quality. Thankfully, Alchemy Goods does everything right. It's a surprising joy to take out this sleek and durable rubber wallet that shows no signs of wear after years. Made in the U.S. from reclaimed bicycle inner tubes, it won't slip from your pocket like vegan leather, nor fray like hemp.
On My Wish List: Voltaic's OffGrid Solar Backpack
This redesigned backpack from Voltaic in Brooklyn features highly efficient solar panels and a Li-polymer battery to quickly recharge a cell phone, camera or tablet. Made from 33 recycled plastic bottles, it's also lightweight, UV resistant and waterproof. The possibilities for taking a long hike (or even getting lost) seem limitless.
Irma Omerhodzic, associate editor
Best Green Gift: To-Go Ware Bamboo Set
Thanks to my mom, I have this reusable to-go utensil set. I try to make food at home whenever possible, but sometimes takeout just makes sense, and I feel guilty about the throwaway containers. My bamboo utensils offset my 'eco-guilt' a smidge. Bonus: The case that comes with the set is made of used plastic bottles.
On My Wish List: YETI, The Rambler® 30 oz.
I have my reusable glass water bottle that I absolutely love, but surprisingly I have yet to own a coffee tumbler that I can reuse. You would think an editor would be well equipped when it comes to anything coffee related. Why am I wishing for this tumbler by YETI specifically? The way I see it is that they produce high-quality products that should last a girl years!
Tara Bracco, managing editor
Best Green Gift: Personalized Reusable Water Bottle
I've been given several reusable water bottles over the years, but the one I use the most was from my friend Joe. It's lightweight with photos of the international nonprofit that we cofounded, The Project Solution. I love it because I no longer need to buy bottled water and the personalized photos make the reusable bottle extra special.
On My Wish List: LuminAID's Packlite Supercharger
LuminAID's solar-powered, inflatable lights were initially created for disaster relief, but after the founders appeared on Shark Tank, they expanded the business. Their lanterns are good for hiking, backpacking or other times you may not have access to electricity. The PackLite Hero 2-in-1 Supercharger is on my wish list because it's compact, good to have during a power outage and it can charge a phone. LuminAid lights are also waterproof, PVC-free and can be recycled.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
georgeclerk / E+ / Getty Images
By Jennifer Molidor
One million species are at risk of extinction from human activity, warns a recent study by scientists with the United Nations. We need to cut greenhouse gas pollution across all sectors to avoid catastrophic climate change — and we need to do it fast, said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
This research should serve as a rallying cry for polluting industries to make major changes now. Yet the agriculture industry continues to lag behind.
"The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism wishes to inform the public that following extensive consultations with all stakeholders, the Government of Botswana has taken a decision to lift the hunting suspension," the government announced in a press release shared on social media.
Company Safety Data Sheets on New Chemicals Frequently Lack the Worker Protections EPA Claims They Include
By Richard Denison
Readers of this blog know how concerned EDF is over the Trump EPA's approval of many dozens of new chemicals based on its mere "expectation" that workers across supply chains will always employ personal protective equipment (PPE) just because it is recommended in the manufacturer's non-binding safety data sheet (SDS).
By Grant Smith
From 2009 to 2012, Gregory Jaczko was chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which approves nuclear power plant designs and sets safety standards for plants. But he now says that nuclear power is too dangerous and expensive — and not part of the answer to the climate crisis.
By Brett Walton
When Greg Wetherbee sat in front of the microscope recently, he was looking for fragments of metals or coal, particles that might indicate the source of airborne nitrogen pollution in Rocky Mountain National Park. What caught his eye, though, were the plastics.
In a big victory for animals, Prada has announced that it's ending its use of fur! It joins Coach, Jean Paul Gaultier, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Ralph Lauren, Vivienne Westwood, Michael Kors, Donna Karan and many others PETA has pushed toward a ban.
This is a victory more than a decade in the making. PETA and our international affiliates have crashed Prada's catwalks with anti-fur signs, held eye-catching demonstrations all around the world, and sent the company loads of information about the fur industry. In 2018, actor and animal rights advocate Pamela Anderson sent a letter on PETA's behalf urging Miuccia Prada to commit to leaving fur out of all future collections, and the iconic designer has finally listened.
If people in three European countries want to fight the climate crisis, they need to chill out more.
"The rapid pace of labour-saving technology brings into focus the possibility of a shorter working week for all, if deployed properly," Autonomy Director Will Stronge said, The Guardian reported. "However, while automation shows that less work is technically possible, the urgent pressures on the environment and on our available carbon budget show that reducing the working week is in fact necessary."
The report found that if the economies of Germany, Sweden and the UK maintain their current levels of carbon intensity and productivity, they would need to switch to a six, 12 and nine hour work week respectively if they wanted keep the rise in global temperatures to the below two degrees Celsius promised by the Paris agreement, The Independent reported.
The study based its conclusions on data from the UN and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on greenhouse gas emissions per industry in all three countries.
The report comes as the group Momentum called on the UK's Labour Party to endorse a four-day work week.
"We welcome this attempt by Autonomy to grapple with the very real changes society will need to make in order to live within the limits of the planet," Emma Williams of the Four Day Week campaign said in a statement reported by The Independent. "In addition to improved well-being, enhanced gender equality and increased productivity, addressing climate change is another compelling reason we should all be working less."
Supporters of the idea linked it to calls in the U.S. and Europe for a Green New Deal that would decarbonize the economy while promoting equality and well-being.
"This new paper from Autonomy is a thought experiment that should give policymakers, activists and campaigners more ballast to make the case that a Green New Deal is absolutely necessary," Common Wealth think tank Director Mat Lawrence told The Independent. "The link between working time and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions has been proved by a number of studies. Using OECD data and relating it to our carbon budget, Autonomy have taken the step to show what that link means in terms of our working weeks."
Stronge also linked his report to calls for a Green New Deal.
"Becoming a green, sustainable society will require a number of strategies – a shorter working week being just one of them," he said, according to The Guardian. "This paper and the other nascent research in the field should give us plenty of food for thought when we consider how urgent a Green New Deal is and what it should look like."
- Reduced Work Hours as a Means of Slowing Climate Change ›
- How working less could solve all our problems. Really. | ›
- Needed: A shorter work week – People's World ›