I’m afraid there’s no getting away from it. With less than 4 weeks until Christmas the festive flurry is about to begin. No doubt some of you are exceptionally organised; presents bought, cards written, Turkey (or nut roast) ordered and letters to Santa posted (we used to tear them up and send them up the chimney in my house, is that unusual?)
However, if you still have some shopping to do please consider the points of this article before spending your Christmas cash. Perhaps we can have something more than piles of crumbled wrapping paper and indigestion as a result of our spending.
Of course Christmas is a time of goodwill, a time for appreciating family and friends, life, human kindness and generosity of spirit. Never-the-less, at this time of year our average spending goes up and, whether you’re defying the commercialism of Christmas my having a budget celebration or treating your nearest and dearest in a Yule-tide splurge, a great way to combine festive preparations with Stepping Up For Nature is to be a Green Shopper.
The power you hold as a consumer is much greater than you may realise.
For example, the perfume industry in the UK is worth over £640 million, but what percentage of that is spent on environmentally friendly, cruelty free fragrances? I’ll let you find out for yourself. Next time you think ‘Oh, Sarah would love a gift-box of ‘X-Cosmetics’ under the tree this year’ have a look at the back of the product you’re buying. Does it say ‘Against Animal Testing’ or ‘Cruelty Free’? Does it have this logo:
If there is no indication of ethical, environmentally friendly production methods the likelihood is they’re not used. After all, if a company goes to the trouble of being ethical, they’ll want to shout about it.
The same can be said for almost everything we buy. Thousands of products contain Palm Oil, for the production of which thousands of hectares of rainforest are cut down every year.
In 2009 a total of £799 million was spent on Fairtrade certified products in the UK. Sounds good doesn’t it? £799,000,000, Wow!However, when you think that in 2009 the UK had a GDP (that’s Gross Domestic Product, i.e. either the amount earned or the amount spent by people in the UK – a simplification but it comes down to basically that) of £1.4 trillion, that’s £1,400,000,000,000, it doesn’t seem so much does it? Less than 0.06% in fact.
There are plenty of ways to support progress to a healthier and fairer world this Christmas. A great place to start are the RSPB shops (at certain reserves) and online at shopping.rspb.org.uk.
Of course I realise the RSPB cannot cater for all your shopping needs, but I would ask that you have Green Shopping in the back of your mind next time you pop into town or log onto your favourite shopping website.
Unsure of whether you’re shopping is green? Try www.ethicalconsumer.org, which has guidelines and ethical assessments for everything from supermarkets to travel agents.
Step Up For Nature – be a Green Shopper – a little change can make a big difference!
If you are at a loose end on friday evening, put on the telly and switch to ITV1 at 8pm. It's Ray Mears' Wild Britain and this week he is in the Broads. Ray and the film crew spent a couple of days filming at Strumpshaw Fen in late June, and caught up with some fantastic wildlife, and they didn't even leave the paths.
Many things are in abundance in autumn - colours, sounds, wildlife, changes in weather (don't we know it!)
The animals at Strumpshaw Fen are making the most of one thing that is certainly in abundance while it lasts, and that is food. Take a look at this wonderful fall of crab apples - perfect for fieldfares, redwing, thrushes and little mammals which will happily sit munching on this feast.
This wont last for long though, remember to feed your birds this winter - they'll need you during those harsh months!
Nick Upton (rspb-images.com)
We're adjacent to the river Yare, which leads to THE SEA!
Many of us eat fish, many of which come from THE SEA!
Many of us go to the beach on holiday, which is next to THE SEA!
Most Importantly: We love Nature, and huge proportions of the natural world are linked to, or reliant on, THE SEA!
We are an island nation. If we undertake to protect nature on the wonderful island of ours we need to take the coast and our marine environment into account.
There are currently 127 proposed Marine Conservation Zones in the legislative pipe-line. However DEFRA are currently proposing to cut these down to 23!
I think this is shocking! If you agree and care about our marine wildlife please sign our Marine Petition in the Reception Hide at Strumpshaw or online at:
To the left a constant stream of gulls and rooks flapping lazily down the valley across an African sunset ...
... and to the right 30,000 starlings doing their thing.