Christmas is the time for giving and for sharing wonderful time with family and friends. Make this holiday environment-friendly by following these three simple tips:
1. Looking for something unique to give as gift? Do not gift corals. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration appeals to everyone not to give corals as presents. Aside from pollution, bleaching, and other thermal stresses, corals are also harvested for souvenirs and home decors, which adds to its decline. In the CNMI, there has been a 66% reduction in overall coral since 2012, and NOAA, through its Saipan Coral Nursery Pilot Project, is working to bring back corals. Increasing coral cover provides more habitat for fish, and also provides better coastline protection from storms.
2. It’s a wrap! Use outdated maps or old newspapers as gift wrappers. Wrapping papers are designed for single-use only, and while some try to be eco-conscious and reuse them, these gift wrappers can only be used once or twice more before they need to be thrown. This unnecessarily adds more to the paper that had to be manufactured, only to be thrown after one use.
As an alternative to gift wrappers, the Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance suggests that people instead use outdated maps, or old issues of newspapers to wrap your gifts.
Or better yet, give the gift of service, or the gift of donation, to groups or organizations promoting environmental protection, like MINA.
3. Got leftovers? Use reusable container for your balutan. With all the family holiday parties and potlucks you have to attend this holiday season, make sure to put your food in reusable containers, and/or bring one for your balutan. Reusable containers can also be used when catering. MINA advises not to use foil as they, too, are single-use. The CNMI is gearing up for a plastic-free Marianas, with the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality consistently calling on people to avoid single-use plastics and to dispose trash properly. Using reusable containers will solve both of these.