The 2008 Holiday Gift Guide

If ever there was a year for sustainable, economical gifts with an emphasis on the home-made (and therefore extra-personalized) — 1932, we mean 2008, is it.

By Plenty staff

For the person just discovering the health, economic, and ecological benefits of greening their lifestyle:

Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the environment and public health, has a great gift bag that will help your friends and family reduce their chemical exposure to toxic chemicals and diminish their carbon footprint, while contributing to the organization’s ongoing efforts (and — shhh — getting yourself a tax deduction). Each bag comes in a reusable tote made from 100% recycled plastic and contains a six-piece Pyrex glass container set (to replace BPA-containing plastic containers); a 27 oz. Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottle (to end their reliance on bottled water); $25 in coupons from green companies like Seventh Generation and Stonyfield Farm; a box of organic cookies (because, hey, what the hell), and more.

If you are sending your gift or ordering it online, use UPS. The company just came out with a device that prints addresses directly on boxes, which will save tons of paper, and has more clean-energy delivery vehicles than any other delivery company. (It also has software that minimizes its drivers’ left-hand turns, to reduce idling and the pollution it produces.)

If you can’t find quite the right gift, consider a gift to charity in honor of those on your list. Search “friends of x” or “save the x” to find a group working to protect a park or natural landmark near where the person lives. Heal The Bay is a classic West Coast outfit; the Chesapeake Bay Foundation serves the six-state watershed in the mid-Atlantic region. There are also all manner of creatures and ecosystems ready for adopting:
• What's old is new again in eco charities at Adopt a Rainforest.
• If you think fat and hairy is cute, you can adopt a manatee.
• Vegetarian friend? Adopt a Farm Sanctuary animal. Your pal will get a picture of the furry or feathered guy along with a bio, and email updates on how s/he’s doing throughout the year.
• Dog lover? The Humane Society has done more to stop organized dogfighting rings than any single law enforcement agency.
• Kid? The National Wildlife Federation offers mags like Ranger Rick, Your Big Backyard, and Animal Baby, which provide early green education while you’re supporting a conservation charity
•At the website of the World Wildlife Fund (they're the one with the panda logo), you can adopt any of more than 90 endangered species and they'll send you a photo or stuffed animal.
•Surfer? The Surfrider Foundation keeps the waves in California clean and the beaches accessible.
•Diver? Oceana fights coral bleaching and destructive fishing, and has a number of notable victories under its belt.

 1  |  2  |  3 

See more articles from In Depth

TrackBack URL for this entry:


The greenest of the green: find *locally* made green gifts

New online directory launches, emphasizes local, green goods: sets the Green Gold Standard!

In a world flush with “green” products, this new online marketplace will define the green gold standard – companies that make products sustainably, responsibly and locally – which all add up to ecobly.

Just in time for holiday shoppers, who are being more careful with their money than ever this year, the site will have tons of ideas for people who want to shop close to home for green toys, jewelry, home décor, garden products and accessories!

The local food movement has revolutionized the idea of ‘buy local.’ We all know that communities are healthier when we invest in our farmers, now it’s time to look at all the other products in our home – can we support our furniture makers? Our green jewelry suppliers?

Ecobly companies are masters of ingenuity and wizards of waste recycling. They are on the cutting edge of green manufacturing – there’s something ecobly made for almost every need!

It's great that you are providing ideas for green and do it yourself gifts, but on the 'For Your Sister, Girlfriend, or Wife:' options, I am surprised that you would insinuate that it is the woman who is the cook, and/or that one should give women kitchen related gifts. I would say your ideals are a little out dated, as about as many men as women cook these days, and as you look toward change in the modern world, I would hope that you would start to look toward change in more than just green products and politics. Try looking toward political changes at home too.


The website address for the "greenest of the green" site where you can find locally made green gifts is

Try a Hundred-Mile holiday - buy your gifts from local producers.

Enjoy Shopping!

Post a comment

Stuff Environmentalists Like, Part 5: Never Throwing Things Away »
« Kayaking the Los Angeles River

Issue 25

Issue 25

Sign up for Plenty's Weekly Newsletter