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The Green Life: Give Green, Fight Waste, Make Change

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December 03, 2013

Give Green, Fight Waste, Make Change

Christmas gifts on snowBlack Friday has made the news in recent years for the frenzied and sometimes dangerous enthusiasm it incites in the nation’s most devoted shoppers, many of whom gather outside malls and big box stores as soon as they’ve downed their turkey. But the Environmental Protection Agency gives us another reason to think twice about having participated in the biggest shopping day of the year: the estimated 25 percent increase in household waste in the United States between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. That translates to about 1 million extra tons of gift wrapping and product packaging (including those endlessly frustrating plastic blister packs in which all electronics are packaged). A number of groups have come together to fight the waste that seems to come hand in hand with the Black Friday, claiming the holiday week for less wasteful and more sustainable causes. Here are a couple ways to give sustainably this month: 

Giving Tuesday: #GivingTuesday began last year as a charitable response to Black Friday, and had a pretty big impact. According to event organizers, 100,000 people across the U.S. came together to celebrate the day after Thanksgiving by making charitable contributions to more than 2,500 participating organizations, donating an estimated tens of millions of dollars online.  


This year, more than 7,000 charitable organizations will participate in #GivingTuesday, rallying their supporters to give generously on December 3. Charitable partners are listed online, and even sorted by cause and location, and you have almost 200 environmental partners to choose from. Help the Sierra Club Foundation fight dirty fossil fuels, protect ecosystems, and promote clean energy. Then check out the #GivingTuesday partner database to find more causes close to your heart.

Fair Tuesday: Another movement inspired by Black Friday, #FairTuesday aims to inspire conscious consumerism this holiday season by encouraging shoppers to buy fair trade, ethical, and eco-friendly brands this Tuesday. In its first year in 2012, the movement reached 3 million people and brought together 135 partners in 13 countries.


A searchable database of partners accompanied by a handy map allows participants to browse for fair-trade and eco-friendly gifts and services, and in many cases enjoy special #FairTuesday discounts. You'll find everything from organic and sustainable foods to clothes and home goods, all gift-worthy and benefiting a worthy cause. 

— Image via iStockphoto/AbbieImages


Blog PhotoJulie Eng is an editorial intern at Sierra. She studied literature and anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and wrote for several publications before joining the Sierra team



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