The Green Challenge guide to the holiday.

Help the planet.
Nov. 27 2006 10:54 AM

Fake or Fir

The Green Challenge guide to the holidays.

What's the "Green Challenge"? Click here. If you've completed the weekly action quizzes, click here for the wrap-up quiz.


Click to launch this week's action quiz.

Ah, the holidays—season of tinsel and trash. With all the parties and presents, Americans, on average, increase their garbage by 25 percent from Thanksgiving to New Year's, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That comes to a total of more than 25 million tons. From manufacturing, boxing, and wrapping presents, to carting them to store shelves and doors, lighting up our houses, and traveling elsewhere, this is a time of CO 2 hangovers, as well as the food and drink kind.


So, what's a carbon-conscious consumer to do? The simplest way to stay on your carbon diet is to consume less than you have in previous years. But that doesn't mean you have to be Scrooge. (After all, you certainly don't want to end up with coal in your stocking when biofuel is the new carbon-savvy you.) Just don't binge.

Slate Green Challenge with treehugger.

• When shopping online or by mail order, consolidate your orders into as few shipments as possible.

• Consider the benefits of buying locally made goods, which aren't transported over long distances to get to you. Or could you buy antiques as presents? They're all about recycling and reuse.

• Consider also gifts such as tickets to a play or concert, a museum membership, or art classes. They don't come with boxes and wrapping (and won't get shoved on the back of a shelf). Check out TreeHugger's roundup of holiday gift certificates.

• Could you reduce the number of holiday shopping trips you make, to save on gas? Could you bring reusable shopping bags? Most paper bags are made from virgin paper. Plastic ones are less CO2 intensive to make, but they're still made with petroleum and take hundreds of years to decompose in the landfill.

• If you're sending gifts by mail, choose small, light packages, which take up less space and fuel than big, heavy ones.

• If you're buying gifts for kids, toys made from natural materials such as wood and organic cotton are better for your CO2 count than stuff made from plastic, which is derived from fossil fuels.



Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.