It’s that time of year again. Time to bond with family, eat too much delicious food, and shop for holiday gifts! Last year, Sanibel Sea School staff put together a list of our favorite environmentally-conscious gifts. For stress-free giving that you can feel good about, check out our 2009 ideas, and a few new ideas for 2010:
Restore the Gulf of Mexico
If you’re a fan of Sanibel Sea School, we know you love the Gulf of Mexico as much as we do. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill has had devastating effects on our beloved Gulf ecosystems, and it will take years to recover. You can help heal the Gulf this holiday season by donating oyster shells or a plot of oyster reef to the Restore Coastal Alabama Fund in honor of your loved ones. Oysters are filter feeders, so they clean the water around them by removing suspended particles, including toxins. They also provide habitat for juvenile fish and protect shorelines from storm damage, allowing marsh grasses to grow. The Gulf of Mexico is the backdrop for so many of our favorite memories, so what better way to celebrate the holidays than by giving the region a brighter future?
Are you guilty of the daily coffee shop stop? There’s something wonderful about starting the day with a warm caffeinated beverage, but very few of us have time to whip up a cappuccino on our way out the door. Stopping by your favorite little cafe is a great way to support local business, but our combined disposable cup usage leads to millions of plastic-lined coffee cups in the ocean each year. The plastic leaches chemicals into the water and confused sea creatures eat the cups for dinner. The Eco-Cup is an easy solution. It looks and feels like a medium 16 oz. to-go cup, but it’s ceramic and reusable – so it’s ocean safe. Buy one for yourself and your coffee-loving co-workers, and leave it where you will remember it each day. You can save some sea turtles in 2011!
If footwear is on your holiday shopping list, check out Simple Shoes. They make attractive, comfortable shoes for the whole family, and the company is devoted to sustainability.
Community Supported Agriculture
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is when local farmers offer “shares” for community members to purchase. When you purchase a share, you receive a box of fresh, local, seasonal produce each week throughout the season. Sometimes the box includes other delicious things like jam, honey, or cured meats. Buying a CSA share is a great way to support local farmers, experience new flavors, and get your family excited about fresh food. We also love the idea of taking your family to visit “their” farm – your kids will get excited about eating vegetables! You can learn more about CSAs and find a participating farm near you at Localharvest.org.
And of course, there’s always the gift of Sanibel Sea School. We’ve added lots of new programs since last year, so check out what we have to offer and come for a visit! We’d love to see you.
Please share your ocean friendly gift ideas with us! Happy Holidays from SX3!