How to help nature this holiday seasonStaff writer ▼ | Friday December 26, 2008 8:12PM ET
We all need energy which is the most precious commodity but unfortunately our world has its limits. So, The scientists from Penn State's Office of Sustainability offers suggestions for saving energy this holiday season.
Lydia Vandenbergh, marketing assistant for Penn State’s Sustainability Office, said the University's Office of Physical Plant is encouraging students, faculty and staff to turn off their lights when they’re not in the room. Additionally, she said, the benefits of LED holiday lights outweigh those of traditional incandescent lights. “They last five times longer than regular holiday lights and use 75 percent less energy,” Vandenbergh said. “Plus, when you drop LED lights, they keep working.”
Instead of using tinsel and other plastic materials, try stringing popcorn and cranberry garlands. These can be put outside after the holidays to feed birds. Also, Vandenbergh added that decorating with “gingerbread ornaments will not only dress up the tree, but add a sweet aroma to the room.”
When thinking about giving or asking for an electronic gift, the U.S. Department of Energy suggests purchasing Energy Star electronics. Rechargeable batteries also make a good gift for digital cameras and other electronics. Also, consider making a charity donation in someone else’s name or teaching a loved one a new skill like knitting or playing the guitar.
Give gifts from a wide selection of products made locally,. Some gift ideas include soup and dip mixes, fruit jams, gift certificates, a variety of chocolate delicacies, local cheeses and more. If you are in the US visit www.localharvest.org to find products near you.
Holiday shoppers may find themselves making many trips to the mall, the grocery store and other places around the holidays, which can use a lot of gas. Planning trips more efficiently and combining errands into one trip saves a lot of energy. Instead of buying wrapping paper, try being creative with hand towels, newspaper comics, bags, old maps or other used or reusable materials. Vandenbergh said, “This creates less waste and can still be just as pretty and fun.” ■