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Greening the holiday season

Holiday season is probably the time of the year when carbon footprints of the global community increases.

This is because of the tremendous use of electricity that comes from fossil fuels and other non-renewable and pollutant energy sources. For temperate countries, the carbon emission might even be more due to massive use of power for heating to bear with the extreme coldness of the winter season, not to mention the use of electricity for lights and other decorations in observing the holiday season.

In the Philippines, this is the time of the year when majority of the Filipinos are celebrating numerous events, aside from Christmas and New Year. This is the season when families, friends, former classmates and even longtime acquaintances gather for reunions. As such, there is an increasing use of all types of transportation, from air, water to land, which would also result to the increasing volume of carbon emission in the atmosphere. The heavy and horrible traffic in Metro Manila during these times is the best example.

This is precisely the reason why we should always opt for fuel-efficient and environment-friendly transport system.

The consumption of electricity of households, public and commercial establishments in the country tends to increase as well during December, due to lucrative, colorful and bright displays of Christmas decorations. Of course, these are all fascinating that make the holidays more joyful, but how I wish that our energy sources are from renewable energy, such as solar and wind.

It is therefore important to make sure that the Christmas lights we use are energy efficient so that, aside from saving the cost for electric bills, we are also lessening the volume of emissions while enjoying the holiday season.

The holiday season is associated, too, with significant increase in terms of our food consumption of all types, since we are just happy to prepare numerous dishes, especially during the eve of Christmas Day and New Year. All those parties, gatherings and events during December would not be that great without a variety of menus in the table, especially the all-time Filipino favorite, the lechon.

I don't want to be indifferent and sound “kill joy”, but the world's lavish consumption of food also contributes to the depletion of our natural resources and deterioration of our environment, especially our food from livestock and poultries as well as processed food. In fact, some studies pointed out that the Amazon forests are being cleared to give way for cattle ranching.

The Philippines is no exception, since a large track of our forest has already been cleared and converted for agricultural development. This is one of the reasons why the demand for organic agriculture and other environment friendly agricultural practices is gaining momentum, aside, of course, from health-related issues and concerns.

We can further contribute, even in our little own ways, in greening the holiday season by using recycled materials in wrapping our Christmas and exchange gifts and even in our Christmas decorations. Using recycled materials will also show our ingenuity and creativity in making and designing decors that will make our Christmas colorful.

There are many ways we can make our holiday season a green one from simply avoiding or minimizing our wastes, energy conservation, using environment friendly furniture and appliances to modest, simple and yet memorable Christmas celebrations.

Have green and happy holidays!*

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