Eco-friendly Christmas

BAR NONE - Atty. Ian Vincent Manticajon (The Freeman) - December 10, 2019 - 12:00am

There are two things I’m keeping track of this Christmas season; my diet and the kind of gifts I give. In merry-making and eating grand, as well as in gift-giving, I’m now more conscious of how these activities that usually go with this season can impact on our environment.

Blame it on watching too much Netflix documentaries and reading volumes about climate change. But it’s not only that. Planet Earth actually just had its warmest September on record, and this decade is poised to be proclaimed the hottest decade on record. We don’t need scientific journals to confirm those data, we have been feeling it in our skin since the turn of the 2010’s decade.

This, notwithstanding what the naysayers of climate change say. Most of those contrarian voices are bankrolled by industries that depend on fossil fuels. They want us to believe that climate change is not real, or they scare us into believing our lives will be more miserable if we adopt drastic measures that respond to the climate crisis.

But each one of us has the power to slowly turn things around. And, you might ask, where is that power? It’s in our purse. It does not replace protest actions, legislative lobbying, and other collective actions we can make to pressure governments and big industries to respond effectively to the climate emergency. Yet it is difficult for anyone to ignore where the money goes, and in that sense the purse is mightier than the voice.

In this season of love and cheer, and of consumerism – when all the Christmas bonus-rich shoppers crowd the retail shops and grocery stores – you might choose to spend your money thinking about the environmental impact of those food and gift items you want to buy.

For me, that means no more hunting for gift items in thrift stores that are usually made of plastic and which end up discarded in landfills anyway. A documentary by Netflix entitled “Broken: Recycling Sham” revealed that corporations market plastic products as recyclable when, in fact, much “recyclable” plastics end up in landfills or in beaches of Southeast Asia.

So my gift to family and friends this Christmas will most likely come in the form of concert or movie tickets, ornamental plants, or gift certificates for a spa, skincare or resort service. It’ll take away the thrill of unwrapping gifts, but it’s still a gift.

In dining and partying this season, you might want to curb your appetite for meat. According to climate scientists, the global livestock industry produces more carbon emissions than all cars, buses, trains, planes, and ships combined. But I’m not yet ready to suggest a totally meatless diet because of cultural reasons – no Filipino Christmas party is complete without lechon and hamonada.

For Christmas decors at home, I’ll be using the same Christmas tree we bought two years ago. I will decorate it with the same plastic hanging balls of last year. The lantern I’ll hang in the foyer will be the same lantern made of removable parts from the coconut tree. I bought that lantern a few years ago along the Bogo-Tabogon-Sogod highway after I attended a court hearing in Bogo City.

As we take a turn into the 2020’s decade, let’s make it a decade to make amends with the environment. We should be more conscious of our consumption habits. Most businesses will always follow the money and will only innovate to where they sense the market is shifting.

This Christmas season, let’s spend consciously and shift the market in favor of the environment.

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