Posts tagged ‘holidays’

Small Business Saturday


It’s that time of year again. Holiday season is upon us! But while you’re looking for the perfect gift for your loved ones, are you considering where your money is going?

According to UC-San Diego, buying from locally owned stores not only reduces carbon emissions but can benefit the local economy as well. When you spend $100 at a chain store, only $43 goes back into the local community. However, if you spend the same amount at a local store, $68 stays in the community. This means more money is going to people in your neighborhood rather than chains across the country. Other studies have shown that the money spent at local stores is more likely to be spent at other local businesses, which helps to strengthen the economic base of the community. Local businesses are also more likely to hire local residents and support other local businesses as well.

Buying local is also more sustainable and can lower your carbon footprint. Many local stores have products that were made or grown locally, meaning that less fuel was used to bring that product to the store. Many chain stores ship their inventory from large warehouses across the country, which can use large amounts of fuel and release many harmful emissions. Products found in chain stores are typically made in bulk and the creation process can produce a lot of excess material and waste. In addition, typically local stores are more centrally located in a community than chain stores since they usually require less space. This makes it easier to walk or ride your bike to the store, further cutting down your carbon footprint.

Supporting local businesses also keeps the community unique. Where we shop, eat, and spend our free time helps to make our community our home. Frequenting a local business allows you to meet and establish a relationship with the owner and employees. This can lead to better service and assurance of quality products since we are more likely to help those we have relationships with. Local businesses also help create a distinct character in the community and can attract tourists that will help strengthen the local economy as well.

Local businesses are important for keeping our community unique and economically strong. Support your community this holiday season by buying local. Instead of participating in Black Friday shopping this year, participate in Small Business Saturday! For a list of local Madison businesses, go here.



November 17, 2014 at 12:54 pm Leave a comment

Going Green by Giving Green

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I hope you all had a good one! Of course, this means that for those of you celebrating or helping your friends celebrate the holiday season, there are only a few hectic weeks left to find, make, or buy meaningful gifts for the people you care about. Time sure does fly this time of year…

One of the dilemmas I always face during the holiday season is: How do I make my friends and family feel special without giving into the wastefulness and consumerism that, unfortunately, is all too prevalent? Or in other words, how do I give green gifts?

If you are anything like me, you find yourself wishing for a compilation of green gift resources. Luckily, some people have already given thought to this issue! For example, TreeHugger published this online 2010 Gift Guide, and The Daily Green has this guide, which has gift ideas separated out into useful categories. You might find similar guides, like this one from National Resources Defense Council, at other popular green websites.

Another great option for green gift giving is to make the gifts yourself. If you are crafty, handmade arts, crafts, and clothing are sure to make someone very happy. The website Not Made of Money put together a list of homemade gift possibilities that has some really good ideas. Homemade fleece scarves and blankets, for example, are cheap and easy to make and are sure to leave a lucky recipient warm and cozy as the weather gets cold. If you have culinary skills, homemade breads and cookies or home-canned jams, sauces, and salsas are other great ideas. I used several pints of raspberries, strawberries, and cherries I picked during the summer to make jars of gift jam for friends and family, which, apart from some minor mishaps with the giant canning pot, turned out really well. Gifts that are made from scratch or cleverly pieced together from older items not only make recipients feel good–they also might be even greener than store-bought green gifts.

Winter may just be getting started, but the gardeners in your life are already planning for next season. Drs. Sonya and Astrid Newenhouse put together this handy list of green garden gift ideas, which also appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio (listen to the Garden Talk show here). They break out gifts by price, which is really helpful to cash-starved graduate students like me!

Whatever gift ideas you choose this year, if they are both environmentally friendly and thoughtful, it’s a win-win for you AND your friends and family.

Stay Warm and Be Green,


December 6, 2010 at 9:51 am 1 comment

Santa Fights Global Warming

Just for fun. It’s the holidays, after all.

100 Santas Made From 1,000 Tons of Sand in Indian Climate Protest

by Brian Merchant, Brooklyn, New York on 12.28.09

100 santas sand photo
Photo via the BBC

World renowned Indian sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik is already well known for his work with Santa Claus–last year, he entered the Guinness Book of World Records for creating the largest ever ‘sand Santa’. This year, he’s using his talent and bolstered profile to highlight the growing challenges climate change is bringing to India–and to do so, he built over 100 Santas out of 1,000 tons of sand in the tourist town of Puri. And he broke another world record in the process: most Santas made of sand on a single beach ever. Photos after the jump.

Yours truly,

December 28, 2009 at 12:22 pm Leave a comment

Last Minute Shopping Frenzy, Anyone?

I made a deal with my parents this year: I am to come home with a bottle of wine, cook them a delicious holiday meal, and consider that my gift to them. Off the hook and breathing a sigh of relief. I love giving presents, but December kills me every year. Except that this year, student loans are knocking at my door. But then again, I understand if, for the rest of you, your family has higher material expectations. Here at EnAct, we encourage you to buy local. Here are some Madison ideas:

  1. Family with a long list of ailments? Do some research on different herbal teas that treat their specific condition, then head over to Community Pharmacy to pick up a bag of tea for each of them.
  2. Love to eat? Pick up a gift certificate to local Downtown/State Street Dining Establishments, or find your favorite local restaurant and ask for one.
  3. Love to cook? Buy them a Willy St. Co-op membership.
  4. Support the arts by sending your loved ones off to a show at a local theater. Overture Center, for example, is selling tickets for The Lion King Broadway, which I hear is absolutely amazing. Also try The Nutcracker by Madison Ballet, or some music at the Barrymore Theater.
  5. Is your cousin a geology nerd? Then Burnie’s Rock Shop is just your place to pick up cool rocks and jewelry.

For a comprehensive list of local stores, restaurants and services, check out Dane Buy Local and browse through their directory.

For more gift ideas, pick from our list of Green Holiday Gifts.

Why Buy Local?

For lots of reasons, really. If you love your community for its vibrant and diverse businesses, that’s the first reason you should buy local. Economically, your dollars help these stores keep their doors open. In fact, a dollar spent at a local establishment typically stays in the community three times over before it leaves — that’s like supporting three local businesses, for the price of one! (Source: Dane Buy Local)

Not only that, your dollars go where they should when you buy local. And we mean really local, from production to distribution. Read this scary statistic:

“… in 1900, 40 percent of every dollar spent on food went to the farmer or rancher while the rest was split between inputs and distribution. Now? 7 cents on the dollar goes to the producer and 73 cents goes just to distribution.” (Source: Grist — read article here)
And 73% of your money goes to huge corporations like Wal-Mart that is designed to out compete and eliminate small local businesses. Doesn’t make cents (sorry, that was too easy), does it?

We shouldn’t forget that “sustainability” doesn’t just mean reducing our impact. It first means being self-sufficient, and we can keep-on if we encourage a local economy.

Use the holidays to support your community — buy local!

– Isabella

December 15, 2009 at 4:07 pm Leave a comment

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