Leading eco-advocate and World Animal Protection Canada Ambassador, Candice Batista shares her top five tips for a more sustainable festive season.
Decking the halls this season doesn’t have to come at a cost to the health of the planet or its inhabitants. Instead opt for a greener and more animal-friendly festive season that will bring good health and cheer to all.
It is possible to have a green holiday that is joyous and still steeped with treasured family traditions. Small tweaks to your annual holiday traditions or the start of new sustainable ones can be fun and will benefit the environment, animals, and people too.
Holidays are a great time to gather with family and friends to celebrate. The downside of these gatherings is the enormous amount of waste. It’s estimated Canadians produce 25 per cent more waste during the holidays. The main contributors are food waste and holiday wrapping. This waste goes into our landfills and doesn’t just negatively impact the environment it also poses physical and toxicological threats to our wildlife.
“This year we need to be more mindful of how our celebrations will impact the environment and others and look for ways to achieve a low-to-no-waste holiday,” says Candice Batista.
Here are her top five eco and animal-friendly festive tips:
1. Plan Ahead to Reduce Waste – Holidays are a time of overindulgence. Plan holiday meals and gift giving in advance to reduce waste. Make a list before heading out to the grocery or department store to ensure you only buy what you need to help reduce food and materialistic waste.
2. Eat Less Meat. Eat More Plants – swap traditional meat dishes for healthier, plant-based options. Plant-based meal choices are limitless and delicious! Most of the meat, milk and eggs in grocery stores comes from industrial farming, a key contributor to animal suffering and greenhouse gas emissions. If you’re choosing meat for the festive table then use our guide to understand what most common food labels mean for animal welfare.
3. Animals Aren’t Presents – bringing a dog or cat home from a shelter for the holidays can be wonderful – if it is for you and your family. But a pet should never be given as a gift to others. The intention may be good but if the recipient is not able to properly care for the animal, then it could result in pet abandonment or animal suffering. Also, never buy lizards, birds, or other exotic animals, as they are wild and not suited as pets.
4. Give a Gift That Gives Back – during the pandemic, many Canadians realized just how much stuff they have already. Instead of gifting another unwanted item, give a donation to a loved one’s charity of choice. When giving to a charity like World Animal Protection, you are helping to move governments, businesses, and people to end animal cruelty and suffering. It’s a feel-good gift that keeps on giving.
5. Go Green for New Year’s Eve – start the New Year off right by ensuring a healthy 2022 for all by avoiding balloons, streamers, and one-use noise makers or dinnerware at your New Year’s Eve party. Not only do they end up in the landfill by week’s end, discarded balloons are often mistaken as food by wildlife or they become tangled in the strings resulting in a lethal injury.
Get more eco-friendly tips from Candice on her blog The Eco Hub.