Posts tagged ‘Sonya Newenhouse’

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

Think Global, Read Local

Big environmental issues weighing you down? Individual action taken locally REALLY does matter. As part of the Wisconsin Book Festival this Thursday, two authors will talk about building communities and giving voices to those who protect the natural world. Come. Listen. Be inspired.

Books might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about environmental activism. But powerful words plainly spoken can inspire people to amazing action.

Of course, I’m a bit biased. I am a voracious reader of just about everything…blogs, newspapers, books, magazines. Mostly though, I love books. I’m sometimes worried that my local library will take away my card for over use. And there is no better way to spend the cold and rainy days of autumn than curled up with a good read.

This week Madison is hosting the Wisconsin Book Festival, which celebrates the state’s literary heritage and encourages people to read widely. EnAct is honored to participate. Dr. Sonya Newenhouse, author of the Enact: Steps to Greener Living book will talk about her experiences in building communities of people who take action to live a greener life. I haven’t read Listen to the Land by Dennis Boyer, but says that reading it will help people ponder their own role in grassroots environmentalism…sounds good to me!

If you’re looking for other green reads, check out the Mother Nature Network’s Top Ten Green Books of 2008. Michael Pollan is there (of course). But there is also a Bill McKibben edited book of the best environmental writing since Thoreau, plus ones about birding, water, the West, and more.

Bring on the rain, October. I have my books to protect me.

Be green. Have fun.

October 6, 2009 at 3:37 pm 2 comments

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