‘Tis the season to get involved and go green! Make sustainability a core theme this holiday season by celebrating these environmental awareness days in December.
World Wildlife Conservation Day – December 4th
World Wildlife Conservation Day is all about preserving our precious ecosystems and its inhabitants. Aligned with the Endangered Species Act, the observance also makes a strong effort to raise awareness about wildlife crime which includes illegal poaching and unscreened selling of animal parts and products. These crimes not only threaten the longevity of species but harm the local communities that rely on these animals for sustenance and tourism. Live animal markets also risk the emergence of novel viruses to other parts of the world and the potential for a pandemic. Further, countless park rangers and animal activists have been murdered for their conservation efforts.
There are several ways you can support the mission of World Wildlife Conservation Day:
- Do business with green companies that support environmental and social causes
- Never purchase illegal wildlife products or products tied to deforestation and habitat loss
- Donate to wildlife conservation groups such as the National Wildlife Federation, World Wildlife Fund, National Audubon Society, and Natural Resource Defense Council
- Support biodiversity within your own community by including native plants in your landscaping
- Keep rivers, oceans and water bodies clean – No dumping toxic chemicals and choose safe, eco-friendly products
- Help conserve global resources by adopting sustainable energy and water use practices
World Soil Day – December 5th
Many people may not know this, but the ground beneath our feet is alive! Plants nurture a diversity of soil microbes that in turn give nutrients and protect plants from disease. Soil fertility vitally depends on this symbiotic relationship. Without a healthy microbial population, important biochemical reactions are disturbed, altering soil formation, the decomposition of organic matter, elemental cycles (carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur) and the processing of pollutants. This ultimately affects plant species and the wildlife that depend on them, as well as a thriving food supply for people.
Officially adopted as an international awareness day in 2013, World Soil Day strives to protect soil biodiversity and condemns unsustainable agricultural practices that deplete soil of nutrients, structure and its microbial inhabitants.
Here are some ideas for celebrating World Soil Day:
- Watch Kiss the Ground, a documentary highlighting the power of regenerative agriculture against climate change
- Protect soil microbes and pollinator populations by avoiding toxic fertilizers, pesticides and lawn care chemicals; choose organic instead or make your own natural fertilizer
- Support local farmers that follow regenerative practices such as crop rotation, low impact tillage, use of organic fertilizers, and managed livestock grazing
- If applicable, replace lawn with native plants to support local biodiversity
Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa
December marks a time of multicultural celebrations in which people rejoice in their religious faiths and cultural identities. Songs and dancing, storytelling, religious rituals, feasts and gift-giving are common festivities among these holidays. Here are some key reminders to ensure a green holiday season:
- Shop at local businesses in your community
- Beware plastic packaging when buying gifts
- Reduce waste by gifting only perishables – cookies, soap, candles, etc.
- Make homemade gifts from materials you already have; here are some ideas
- Choose holiday cards made from post- consumer recycled content, make your own or send an E-card
- Skip the gift wrap; choose gift bags that can be reused again or newspaper that can be recycled
- Buy battery-free toys for the kids
- Choose a real Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-approved Christmas tree over a factory-made, plastic one
- Decorate your Christmas tree with LED lights and set a timer
- Use reusable tableware and decor for your holiday party
New Year’s Eve – December 31st
If your office is holding a New Year’s Eve party, this could generate a lot of waste – single-use champagne glasses, paper napkins and plates, leftover hor d’oeuvres. Ring in the New Year with these sustainable party tips:
- Choose a sustainable catering service
- Combat food waste by encouraging staff to take home leftovers or donate to a food recovery organization
- Outsource your dirty tableware to a dishwashing service provider
- For smaller gatherings, ask staff to bring reusable tableware to share
- Ensure there are recycling bins available for collecting bottles, cans and other recyclables
- Avoid fireworks, non-biodegradable confetti or glitter, and other throw-away party favors as they contribute to unnecessary pollution and waste
- Make this an opportunity to reflect on your green achievements and set new goals for the upcoming year
You can find other environmental awareness days to celebrate on our blog!