Shop Smart!

       
  Oxfam Unwrapped


  

Alternative Gifts

Give wisely: Ever find yourself buried in knick-knacks, wrapping paper, and a whole lot of unneeded "stuff" after the holidays or a birthday? These days there are many alternative options when it comes to gift giving that don't add to the clutter, or waste money. Many organizations have gifting options when it comes to donating, in addition to these sites who specialize in the alternative gift market:

 

What you can do:

Oxfam Unwrapped

Organic Bouquet

Alternative Gift Market

Changing the Present

UniversalGiving

 

 

       
     

Sustainable Agriculture

Support your local farmers: Sustainable agricultureis a way of raising food that is healthy for consumers, does not harm the environment, is humane for workers and animals, provides fair wages to farmers, and supports rural communities! Find out how you can incorporate sustainable agriculture into your lifestyle.

 

What you can do:
AMS Farmer's Markets
Sustainable Table
Foodroutes.org
To-Go Ware
Escape the Meatrix!
Angelic Organics

 

 

       
  Green Weddings   

Eco-Friendly Weddings

Scale down: Weddings in the US have turned into such a commodity that they have even become part of the argument to legalize gay marriage - in order to boost the economy! Unfortunately, all of these weddings create a tremendous amount of waste. From transportation, to flowers, food, decorations, clothing, jewelry and gifts --it's no wonder the average wedding costs almost $30,000. It's worth considering a more eco-friendly way to celebrate the loving union of two people. Check out the links below for environmentally-friendly ideas.

 

What you can do:

The Knot

Green Weddings

Sierra Club: 10 Steps to a Green Wedding

Great Green Weddings

 

 

       
     

Protect National Forests 

Know your source: Did you know that the US imported over $450 million worth of timber from Indonesia, where over 75% of the industry is an illegal trade run by a coterie of timber barons selling cheap wood on the international market? Often, the purchases we make have a dire story behind them.

What you can do:

Save the Redwoods League
Forest Ethics

Sierra Club

Forest Stewardship Council
The Rainforest Action Network

 

 

       
  Fair Trade Certification   

Support Fair Trade

Look for certification: The best way to ensure your coffee, tea, chocolate and other products are traded fairly, and held to the highest standards when it comes to fair pay, environmental sustainability, and protection of the farmers and their families, is to check for the label! If you don't see this logo (left), that means it's not certified by TransFair, and you could be jeopardizing the well-being of the very people providing your morning pick-me-up.

 

What you can do:

WorldofGood.com

Equal Exchange

Dean's Beans

AlterEco

TransFair

Global Exchange

European Fair Trade Association

World Fair Trade Organization (formerly IFAT)

 

 

       
     

Green at Home 

Become a conscious consumer: According to the folks at greenhome.com, "going green" is a process that can be as simple as changing soaps and as complex as changing your entire lifestyle. If you're thinking about going green, the links below are a great place to start.

 

What you can do:
Green Home
Conscious Consumer Marketplace

National Geographic Green Guide

Alonovo.com

Eartheasy

 

 

       
     

Hybrids, Diesel and Grease

Move forward: Hybrid technology marks a radical change in the type of cars being driven by the American public and are thought to play a significant role in addressing several national problems like climate change, air pollution, and oil dependence. Along with Hybrid technology comes green advancements in diesel fuel and even a movement to start running cars on vegetable grease or by electric motor. Get informed about these alternative ways to power your vehicle:


What you can do:
hybridcenter.org
hybridcars.com

Greasecar.com

Golden Fuel Systems

Plug in America

       
   Leaping Bunny   

 

Cruelty-Free Products

Look for the leaping bunny: The sad reality is that most of the products we use in our everyday lives are tested on animals. But there are many responsible companies out there doing their part to ensure animals are not harmed in the making of their products. It can be hard to identify products and companies who don't adhere to ethical standards, so always look for the "leaping bunny" logo to be sure.

 

What you can do:

leapingbunny.org
Toms of Maine
PETA - Shop Cruelty-Free
AAVS - Shopping Guide

Global Action Network
Vegan Cats
Pangea's Vegan Store

 

       
   Beach   

Vacation Responsibly

Good habits shouldn't take a vacation just because you do! Although usually much needed and well deserved, it's no secret that vacations can be incredibly wasteful of valuable resources. However, many hotels and vacation packages have made efforts to start conserving where they can, and, in some cases, have turned vacationing into a chance for consumers to give back. Check out these websites that offer volunteer opportunities through eco-tours, charity work, and cultural exchange, that will leave you feeling much more fulfilled than a week of lounging by the pool:


What you can do:

ResponsibleTravel.com
Ecotour Directory
Charity Guide
Global Volunteers
The International Ecotourism Society
Global Exchange Reality Tours
Green Hotels Association
WWOOF-USA (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms)

Ecotourism and Sustainable Development: Who Owns Paradise? (Book by Saul Landau)

 

(Check out this article on Mashable: The Social Media Guide for more ideas on how to give back as a consumer.)