7 Tips for a Sustainable Holiday Season

By Ms. Jes Logher, Head of Outdoor Education

The topic of sustainability is one that is gaining more awareness, at WPGA and beyond, with citywide climate change rallies and re-vamped garbage/recycling bins. As we head into the holiday season, please check out some holiday-themed sustainability practices to try out at home. Challenge your family to adopt as many of these sustainable ideas as possible!

Sustainable Holidays Ideas for the WPGA Community:

Shop locally—and for locally made goods.
This reduces transportation needs (and associated carbon emissions) while supporting our local businesses and economy. There are many craft fairs and maker markets this time of year, and Vancouver is lucky to have many artists and entrepreneurs.

Wrap gifts with reusable or recyclable materials.
Pass on the shiny paper and plastic bows and ribbons in favour of newspaper, paper bows, pretty dish towels or fabric bags to hold the perfect gift.

Consider gifting experiences rather than material “things.”
Tickets to the VSO, a Canuck’s game or a cooking class are fun and festive and create memories and connections.

Support those less fortunate.
There are many worthy organizations, in Vancouver and beyond, that would benefit greatly from thoughtful donations. In lieu of gifts, you can ask for a donation to be made in your charity of choice. (Careers Education 11 are currently working with local charities and can suggest wonderful organizations to donate to.)

Decorate with “eco-friendly” decorations.
Real trees (especially when harvested locally) have
less impact than artificial trees. Remember to use the city disposal/chipping service rather than sending trees to the landfill. Also, LED lights use 90% less energy than conventional lights

Consider limiting air travel or off-setting the emissions.
Air travel creates a huge amount of carbon emissions; cutting out one long-haul flight can have a dramatic reduction in emissions. (Heading to Maui? Calculate the emissions here.) Or, investing in green energy or forestry projects (symbolic carbon offsetting) support pro-environmental industries.

Get outside and enjoy the mountains.
A really lovely hike/snowshoe is the Bowen Island lookout trail starting from the Cypress Mountain ski area. The trail weaves through a beautiful meadow around Yew Lake (an excellent place to build a snowman or playfully throw snowballs) before a short climb to the stunning lookout, which overlooks Bowen Island, the Sunshine Coast and Howe Sound. It’s a great family hike (including your pups when on leash), with a second (optional) reward of hot chocolate at the end in one of the resort cafés! Note the trail is outside the ski area boundaries, and although well-travelled and marked, it's important to practice safe habits such as knowing the route, letting someone know your plan, and bringing the 10 essentials with you.