‘Tis the season to …..

I have recently arrived back from Cambodia where I had travelled to for WSPA as part of my work in animal welfare. I travel frequently to developing countries and find it hard to adjust when I come back – so much wastage here, so much money spent on frivolous objects and random things that are thrown out months later. People seem so spoilt…..so much packaging, so much greed, so little thought to the other people, animals and the environment.

Christmas is just around the corner – an especially materialistic time of year. I like some of the festivity of Christmas – I like meeting up with friends, sharing mulled wine and nibbles, re-connecting with people I haven’t seen for a while but I find it harder and harder to deal with the ‘other side’ of Christmas – the tackiness, the money wasted on luxuries, silly things and excess food (don’t get me started on ethical eating, that’s another post).

What can we do to give things back this Christmas? Here is a little list of suggestions:

- Good gift web sites. There are many many of these, some examples:

o http://www.goodgifts.org/ (wide range of gifts for a variety of types of charities)

o http://www.careforthewild.org (animal adoptions). Many animal charities have similar schemes. December’s issue of BBC Wildlife Magazine reviews different animal adoption schemes.

o http://www.worldlandtrust.org One of the many schemes to help save rainforests/land.

o http://www.oxfam.org.uk (‘Oxfam Unwrapped’ for ethical gifts)

- Ethical shopping. For example:

o http://www.ethicalgifts.co.uk/

           o http://www.naturalcollection.com/

- Life can be difficult for rescue centres in the winter – donate some pet food, blankets, towels to your nearest animal rescue centre.

- Life is hard on the streets – support charities for the homeless (financially or by providing food/clothes/provisions for those on the streets). To help at a homeless shelter this Christmas see http://www.crisis.org.uk.

Suzanne Rogers (Learning About Animals) December 2008