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Living Lightly column

Live lightly this Christmas

By Gill Baker

Eight years ago I sat down with some young friends and we talked and created.

Talked about how we could make our Christmas exciting and atmospheric without having to spend a fortune or create a lot of waste.

We made decorations, and created small gifts and cards. Little cost, no packaging and next to no waste. Even the egg shells from our home-baked cookies were crunched up to use on the garden.

Hopefully those young people learned an enduring lesson, but the lesson is a hard one to learn or accept in our consumer-based society.

Now more than ever the biodiversity of life on the planet edges towards a brink, a brink caused largely by human behaviour.

Climate change threatens another summer of bushfires, land clearing for housing and agriculture is destroying wildlife habitat, and water levels in Australia are either in flood or disappearing.

Yet Christmas is upon us once again, the shops are full of stuff, and the media is pressing us to buy.

Likewise we have politicians screaming from the rooftops ‘spend, spend, spend’ and get the economy rolling again!

But should ‘the Economy’ come first? Yes, we want people to have jobs and an income that will allow them to live fairly and securely, we want good education for our youngsters, and healthcare for our elders, but this must come alongside a sustainable global environment, for both ourselves and all the other life forms on the planet.

Reset to Christmas shopping 2020. Spend wisely,  avoid articles that will eventually leak microplastics or toxic dyes in the waterways, toys that will be played with once or twice then broken and discarded, ending up in landfill, and try not to overfill the shopping trolley with food that will ended up wasted.

Then, if there are any dollars left, a gift through a charity could brighten Christmas for someone else.