Sunday, December 20, 2009

How to have an environmentally friendly Christmas

The Beck family is having a green Christmas this year - follow our lead and you too can help save the planet.

A potted tree is much "greener" than a factory produced plastic tree. Go one better by using a pot plant - you can smoke the best bits thus reducing your need to consume environmentally unfriendly alcohol and compost the leftover bits for your organic garden. And if you grow a really healthy pot plant there's no need to decorate it; your friends will be very impressed with a six-foot beauty covered in buds.

Walk to the nearest organic produce shop and buy a box of locally grown organic apples, which are great as both decorations and gifts - getting an apple is better than underwear. Rather than wrap an apple make it festive by using a nail to inscribe "Merry Christmas" on its surface.

If you must wrap gifts use only paper saved from past festive events - you did plan ahead, didn't you? Instead of sticky tape use little dabs of locally produced organic honey to seal packages.

Do not drive or fly anywhere. Walk, ride a bike or take the train - a few gift apples are easier to lug around than is a plasma TV and other bulky gifts.

If you must drive, tightly wrap your contribution to the festive meal in aluminium foil (it can be reused many times, if you're careful) and place it in the engine compartment where it will cook enroute. Potatoes strapped to the exhaust with the copper wire from stripped discarded electric cords will bake on the way.

Instead of turkey serve easily snared seagulls. They can be a bit tough and stringy but the exotic seafood overtones make the extra chewing worth the effort. Those living really close to the ocean can catch crabs for the big lunch. On a typically hot Christmas day a blue manna will cook in the mid-day sun on pavement in about two hours, with really big ones taking maybe a bit longer. Like seagulls, kangaroos are easily snared and great for feeding a crowd. But you will need to be careful since a roo can put up quite a fight. A cricket bat or robust tree limb makes a great roo pacifier.

Dandelions and many other wild plants are tasty and nutritious. Do the right thing by washing them in grey water - waste water from clothes washing has soap already in it.

Christmas lights waste electricity. For outside decorations take an old CD you're never going to listen to again and snap it in half. Use one of the pointy bits of the broken CD to scratch festive sentiments into the windows facing the street. When finished use recycled string to hang the broken CD bits outside in the sun where they will glitter and glisten.

Make a refreshing fruit punch using plums (locally grown, organic only!). Place the plums in the laundry sink and mash them - it's best to have a small child tromp around on them for a few minutes but I don't have one of those so I use an old brick saved for just this purpose. Add water  - grey water is not especially good for this - to fully cover the pulp and let stand until the slurry stops bubbling, probably about a week. Skim off the foam and your punch is ready to enjoy and like expensive store bought concotions has chunks of fruit in it. The alcohol content should be around 10 percent. Drink a liter or so of this punch and then reread all of my tips above - they'll make perfect sense.

Merry Christmas.


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