Holiday Gift Guide

I have a dream … my dream is that we could walk into a store and not be wondering what the environmental impact of our product purchase would be. We could purchase something and feel secure that our purchase will not harm ourselves, our neighbors, our future generations, the quality of our Earth and all its inhabitants.

Photo by: iks.iks.iks

Such is not life in this current age. I just spent about ten minutes of my life trying to make a purchase of cat litter. Ken had brought home a new litter a few weeks ago. It's light, the company claims 5lbs is equivalent to 35. I see the value in that –lighter for landfills, the product is organic, or so they claim. I liked it except it tracks….I have been meaning to visit one of the three Greenopia guide rated pet shops on Ventura Blvd to purchase vegetarian food for my gatito grande (large and endearing cat) and for advice on the pet litter. I did not find myself in Studio City (Chow Bella Pet Spa), Tarzana (Pet Ex), or Woodland Hills (Natural Touch 4 Paws) … no I was already at Ralphs cashing in Ken's coin stash, as directed from my bank, he must have been accumulating for the last ten years. So I spent ten minutes figuring out if I wanted to try Yesterday's News (made from old newspaper) or if I wanted to try the Perfect Litter again by Pet Ecology. The price difference was nearly $10 but and I know that Perfect Litter attaches to my cat and I find their puff granules around the house but … I couldn't support Nestle in the end as I oppose some of their initiatives regarding buying water rights for private use. I like going to the boutique stores for this reason, they don't carry products they don't believe in and they are often knowledgeable about the products they carry.

I have realized today that until I have an iPhone, I will keep a Greenopia guide in my car.

Product purchase is so important as we sustain companies through our purchase of their products. With the holidays upon us we have a choice in what we choose to buy people, and what we let them buy us. I have already received gifts I was instructed to open early. Although sweet, I have a heavy heart feeling like I don't want anymore products unless they are in alignment with my greenie ideals. So this is where I'm at and perhaps you can do the same.

1) Buy from Gaiam! They are a huge online retailer for conscious companies. If we are going to have big companies let's have more like Gaiam so buy from them! Let's direct our friends and family there as well!

2) Red Envelope and Uncommon Goods are magazine / online retailers. Both have recycled, organic, or fair trade options. If you have discerning friends and family that want to buy from a more boutique-ish company have them visit these two companies. Just place emphasis that you only want gifts if they are created in a sustainable way meaning organically, or by reuse with recycled products, or that are created from fair sweat not sweat shops.

3) Investigate any Eco gift bonanza's going on in your area. For L.A. you can visit or to check out the calendar of events. If you are in another city, just investigate the alternative media you have available to you … publications like City Beat, Free Yoga or Spiritual publications …

4) Buy from companies affiliated with either Co-op America (soon to be Green America at the beginning of the New Year) or companies affiliated with 1% for the Planet. There is a new company called "Revenge is …." that sells products that help the planet and then they distribute monies to non-profits similar to 1% for the Planet.

5) Buy memberships with non-profit organizations such as Co-op America, Surfrider Foundation, PETA …whatever floats your boat or whichever you think would most appeal to the person your are buying for. To make more of an impact, research a non-profit that your giftee would have interest in. When their membership expires they may have incentive to renew it themselves and maybe get more involved –you could spawn inspiration in others!

As far as getting gifts you don't want … I haven't figured this one out completely yet. I know for sure I receive promo lipsticks as stocking stuffers. I will let you know what I decide, for right now I am creating a bag I will figure out what to do with later. I think the best thing to do is before it gets too late, SPEAK UP NOW! Let's tell people where to buy for us, or maybe even not to buy for us if we are trying to make a commitment toward simplicity. Black Friday being last week, it may already be too late but at least you give people the option to return items now. They may even be thankful you exposed them to a new gift giving resource. The more people buy green now the faster the demand for such products will grow and naturally push out the harmful products. This year I'm dreaming of a green existence and I hope you join me in helping make that a reality for all.

Much love to you all! Happy holiday season. Shop. Spread cheer, compassion, awareness and peace :)

Learn more about Janine.

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