Greening Up Isn’t Just for You

This time of year, the urge to splurge on family is everywhere. While the sentiment is nice that we “greenies” are reminded of certain candles to avoid, of how to reuse packaging, and how to keep our holidays green in general, one thing seems to be forgotten: nature itself.

While many of us enjoy using all natural products, we forget that nature is still out there and still needs protecting. As a biologist, one of the things that always strikes me as odd is how one can very quickly spend the dollars for a label that says all natural without any care as to where the ingredients came from. Many ingredients come from rainforest areas that have been devastated by farming practices used to raise these products in high demand. Because of this, many animals like the orangutan are gravely endangered.

A great way to help these animals is to adopt a critter. Many reputable agencies, like the National Wildlife Federation or Oceana, have “adoption” programs set up and gifts for reasonable prices. Most of the proceeds go to animal rescue, education, and protection of natural resources. That means you get really nice gear and the warm fuzzies that you are doing something for the planet. If you want to show some support locally, try your local zoo or animal rescue. Many of them, like the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, will have items that directly pertain to your local area and you can witness where the funds are going firsthand.

If animals aren’t really your thing, you can even adopt a tract of rainforest. Even more fun than that: go visit a local or National park. Make an excursion of it. Visit an animal shelter or rehabilitaion center yourself instead of just donating to them. Be sure to take lots of pictures when you do. These are the types of activities that can really transform a person. I still remember my first field trip to the Miami Seaquarium as a kid. It shaped my career from kindergaten and gave me memories to last a lifetime. While greening our homes helps us on a personal level, we still must remember that this is a global movement.

The best way to help, in the end, is to just be aware. Think about the use of things you buy. Where did it come from? Is it something that will need to be replaced or can it be fixed? How can you dispose of it? You might find that in your effort to make your holidays more green, you end up realizing what the word “holiday” is really about. Relax. Enjoy the moment and your surroundings.

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An original 5 Minutes for Going Green post. Keep up with silly science and fun facts at her science site, Potspoon! You can also keep up with Marizela (and her doggy), at her personal blog, Roogoodoo.

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