Have Not, Want Not
Wisely using our precious resources with the future in mind
In the last five years, we have learned that going green does not cost more, it actually saves money. It’s all about consumption of our resources. Consuming less costs less. With the rise in energy costs, commodities and other resources, it just cost less to do things the green way, no matter how much we do or consume.
Your everyday decisions and actions are very powerful. Spending your money and time thoughtfully is a way you can support the efforts and trends that you want to see more of and discourage the ones you consider futile. Your dollars, hours, and efforts are all powerful social tools.
For most of us, the holidays represent time away from work, time with the family, time to recharge and think about what is important. The holidays are a good time to reconnect to our true inner values and what makes us tick.
Christmas can be an opportunity to reassess our spending and giving or readjusting our spending toward products and services that are consistent with our values. If going green is becoming a priority for you, then it’s the perfect time to start. It can be challenging to ignore the holiday advertising and spend your money consciously and consistently on values, causes, and a lifestyle you feel are worthy.
The American Economy
Spending on Christmas and Christmas gifts is important to the American economy and the local economy. If you are planning to purchase Christmas gifts, spending locally is the green way to do go. Spending locally supports local economies. By doing this, it also helps reduce traffic, overcrowding in stores and malls, and the amount of physical movement of items you purchase. Supporting local economies is also good because it saves time, energy, and helps the environment.
No matter whether you are buying a Christmas gift or new furniture for your living room, buy American and boost our economy. We produce many beautiful, healthy and green products in our own country. This will help reduce transportation costs and pollution.
Reducing our overall consumption is the best way to decrease the energy we use. Did you know that for every truckload of goods manufactured, thirty-two truckloads of waste are produced? Also, 90 percent of everything manufactured in the U.S. ends up in landfill within one year.
Twenty five million tons of excess waste is generated during the holiday season. One simple way to reduce in sending wrapping paper to the landfill is not to give gifts requiring wrapping paper. Give gifts such as gifts cards, event tickets, vacations, gym memberships or charitable donations.
We know we need to reduce during the holidays, but what items could we reuse that would leave our friends and family in respect of our creative adeptness? A perfect gift is something that could be handed on to someone else. Family heirlooms are perfect gifts. If you have family antiques or valuable sentimental objects in an attic, closet or drawer, it is time to pass them on to someone who would enjoy and treasure them. Opening a treasured family piece as a Christmas gift is far better than an item purchased from a store.
If everyone would make a few simple changes, whether large or small, it would make this Christmas and the coming New Year better ones. Green is a mindset, an approach to daily living. It’s about doing what is right for the planet, what is right for you and your family, this involves consuming less, consuming smart, and leaving smaller footprints. If we don’t waste what we have, then we will have it in the future and will not lack or want it.
Happy holidays and a very healthy and wonderful New Year!
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Lynn Hoffman, IIDA, RID, LEED® - AP ID+C, is a Sustainable Interior Designer with more than 25 years experience working nationally and internationally producing Corporate, Hospitality and Prestigious Residential projects for Fortune 500 and celebrity clients, architects and builders. Her office is located in downtown Stamford, CT and offers a full range of services dedicated to elevating eco-conscious designs to new levels of luxury and sophistication.
One Stamford Plaza
263 Tresser Boulevard, 9th Floor
Stamford, CT 06901
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Photograph: Melani Lust Photography