1st December Happy month everyone. The Eco Tykes have decided to create Advent Thoughts An Advent calendar is a special calendar used to count the days in anticipation of Christmas. Beginning on 1st December the calendars are big business and bought every year. Few are recycled. They can depict a nativity scene or festive pictures of Santa. Other popular versions advertise the latest trend in TV programme, film or toy. They can contain chocolates, treats and gifts. Calendars made for adults now contain 24 gifts ranging from jewellery, perfumes, small bottles of alcohol, scented candles even IPA beer for the 24days leading to Christmas day. Eco Tykes are not putting the “Bah! Humbug!” into Christmas but will post a thought/idea/task for the days for their countdown to Christmas.
Where do all the empty Advent wrappings go to? Landfill, recycled or reused?
“Do a little bit of good where you are; it is those little bits of good put all together that overwhelm the world.” Desmond Tutu
Fergs visits the landfill site in “Give the Earth a Hug!” Further Adventures of Fergs and the Eco Tykes
2nd December Where possible try not to buy cards or wrapping paper that have glitter. Some gifts can also be sprayed with glitter and festive make-up can contain glitter particles. Most glitter is made from plastic, and the small size of its particles makes it a potential ecological hazard, particularly in the oceans.
Picture from “Give the Earth a Hug!” Further Adventures of Fergs and the Eco Tykes.
3rd December Today Sir David Attenborough has spoken at the opening ceremony of United Nations Climate Change conference in Katowice, Poland. He took the “peoples seat” Sir David said: “Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale.” Also “If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon” The Eco Tykes became aware of the problems when Petal the polar bear arrived on Sanctuary island and was saved by the Tiger sharks! Find her adventure in “Give the Earth a Hug!” Further adventures of Fergs and the Eco Tykes. The Eco Tykes are now thinking about this festive season, using fossil fuels in our homes and when we travel. Let us be aware of our impact on our fragile planet and Mother nature.
Picture from “Give the Earth a Hug!” Further Adventures of Fergs and the Eco Tykes.
4th December Bee lieve it or not we have to thank bees for the food we consume. Think about all the food we eat to celebrate this festive time and the part the bees have played in preparation. Bees pollinate flowers, plants and crops that support other animals including humans. Without bees our future wellbee-ing and those who come after us could be at risk. Friends of the Earth report “ 11 bee species have become extinct in the UK and a further 35 are on the threatened species list.”
Friends of the Earth for “Christmas Bee Saver kit” .
5th December Glitter seems like a harmless bit of fun, but its environmental impact has led some scientists to call for it to be banned. Scattering oats and glitter on your path or in the garden for Santa’s reindeer maybe putting small garden birds and mammals at risk. The RSPCA has issued a warning, explaining that ingesting the plastic and glitter along with the oats could cause ‘long term damage’ to small animals’ digestive systems. Look on RSPCA website for healthy reindeer food and cookies. Find out about Biodegradable glitter it is made from the cellulose of plants, such as the eucalyptus tree, for a sparkly environmentally friendly Christmas. It is also compostable .
Advent Thought Day 6 Do you have the same problem every year Dust off the plastic tree in the loft, bring in last years from the garden OR head off to the local supplier for a new centre piece for the festive season? Minimise your impact on the environment at Christmas Ask the questions – Artificial tree ? -although used for many years if it is not recyclable it could linger for centuries in a land-fill site. Real tree? -locally source with a root so can transfer outside and bring in next year. While growing it will absorb greenhouse gas CO2 be aware some growers can use chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Decorate a tree in your garden or use pieces of nature that have come adrift or discarded to create your own tree. See tomorrows mail.
This picture was taken December 2008. Where is the tree now?
Advent Thought Day 7 . Collect something from Mother Nature. Broken branches, shells, cones, seeds. To make and decorate a festive tree. Are these things discarded to remain in form and structure? Or will they eventually return to the environment in different form. “Atoms can not be created or destroyed” Quote from Give the Earth a Hug! Further Adventures of Fergs and the Eco Tykes. “Everything on the Earth, in the oceans and in the skies will continue to be here in different shapes and forms as particles move and change characteristics. Sometimes these different shapes and forms are brilliant new creations but at other times they create havoc in the environment. Plastics are one of the creations that have caused havoc!”
If you find any plastic in the environment to use as a decoration and recycle on your tree for the festive season Recycle it correctly afterwards.
Our recycle the beach tree Bahamas December 2008
Thought for Advent Day 8 Balloons Love them or hate them. During the festive season and during celebrations they are in abundance. Marine animals, as well as terrestrial animals are hurt or killed by them. Balloons will stop the animal absorbing nutrients through its digestive system. Dispose of them correctly. Hold onto them tight! Don’t let them go!
Found in the Mediterranean this summer. Removed by Eco Tykes.
Thought for Advent Day 9 Christmas cards are beckoning! More paper to produce more energy to be used. The Eco Tykes are not saying “Don’t send out Christmas cards” it is a personal choice and Eco Tykes send Christmas cards to some of their friends and family. However, have a think about what you would like to do next year. Still send cards? Send fewer? Inform friends this year that you will be donating the money you spend on cards and stamps to a charity next year. You could make a phone call instead of a card, email a letter/ecard or write to them during the year. Card and paper can be recycled and supermarkets have bins for collection of cards. Watch out for crafters wanting used cards to recycle
Thought for Advent Day 10 Already the commercial side of Christmas maybe taking its toll. Do you buy the gift offers, “Get 3 for 2” or “Buy one Get one Free or a BOGOF?” Christmas music jingles around the airwaves and you’ve completely lost your Christmas spirit. All the main presents for family are sorted, However your still on the hunt for a gift for a close friend or colleague. Eco Tykes give some ethical or Eco friendly gifts supporting charities that help nature and people
Thought for Advent Day 11 Saving energy is a good idea throughout the year, it’s especially important to think about during holiday times. Lighting up our homes with festive cheer and with long winter days and nights ahead, our homes could become a source of wasted energy and pollution. We all love a fireplace especially when its decorated with stockings waiting for Santa’s visit. Consider limiting its use. Turn down Thermostats when asleep. Review the lighting bulbs you use. Switch off chargers for computers, mobile phones etc. Think about adding insulation to your loft space is one of the best ways to reduce your heating. There are many other ways you could check out. Saving the planet’s natural resources – without being a Scrooge at Christmas.
Thought for Advent Day 12 A Gift of Time. Racing toward Christmas and there are some gifts still needing your attention. Stumped for an answer? Now weary of the commercialism and lack of Christmas spirit? We all have talents and the Eco Tykes are making a list of their special skills. A Santa sack of ideas to offer. Pledge to do something nice for family and friends. Wizard on the computer pledge time to someone struggling with the technology. Pledge to help someone with their garden, housework, shopping, DIY, babysitting. Spending time with a family member or a friend is always appreciated.
Thought for Advent Day 13 Limit Festive Lighting It is lovely to see the glow of festive lights and see the excitement on everyone’s faces as the Christmas lights are switched on. Give a thought to turning Christmas trees lights on only when you’re in the room to enjoy them. Turn outside decorations off before you go to bed at night. Or put them on a timer switch.
Thought for Advent Day 14 Take care of your Christmas decorations. Always tempted at this time of year to purchase the latest Christmas decorations. If you can’t resist think about only getting one new special decoration each year. See if you can recycle decorations by passing on to family or friends or Preloved organisations. Store your decorations carefully you’ll be able to bring them out every year. This means less waste goes into landfill. Use shredded wrapping paper to store delicate decorations. Polystyrene and bubble wrap used to package gifts such as toys etc. Can also be recycled to protect your decorations. You are also protecting memories too. This blow up Christmas tree is 15 years old!
Thought for Advent Day 15 Decorations from Nature. The Eco Tyke Memory tree. At Christmas it is nice to savour happy memories. When the Eco Tykes are on holiday, visiting family and friends or have a memorable day. If they find something to “jog” their memory, they will make a decoration. Spot the Caracoles decoration to remind Erica and the Eco Tykes of a memorable time in Spain!
Thought for Advent Day 16 Artisan Home crafted presents. Get crafty. Still time to make a scarf, sew a table decoration. Make a Tree decoration memory for family or friend. Look up those truffle or fudge recipes or quick Christmas preserves and chutneys.
Picture of Petal the polar bear from “Give the Earth a Hug!” Further Adventures of Fergs and the Eco Tykes looking mighty fine in her Eco Tyke hand crafted scarf
Thought for Advent Day 17 Palm oil production and its use in foods from a gravy mix to cakes, bread, ready meals, chocolate, biscuits and even ice cream has increased so much in recent years. It is difficult to find anything on supermarket shelves that palm oil has not touched. Beware the Vegetable oil label. Read further you may find palm oil listed there. Erica has a reaction to palm oil. Indigestion! Remove the palm oil, Happy digestion. Recently Erica had to find an alternative ingredient for Pearl the Puffins Christmas Truffle recipe which contains digestive biscuits. They are now made with palm oil. Erica found an all butter biscuit to substitute – Scottish shortbread. They are a real treat now. Palm oil is likely to be present in many Christmas food treats! Take some time and do some home baking. Learn about palm oil
Thought for Advent Day 18 Cut Food Waste make sure you have herbs and spices on your shopping list to pep up the leftovers. Transforming leftovers can be a great way to create new meals, save money and cut waste When food shopping, try and choose things that have very little packaging, buy loose items. Plan meals carefully so you are not buying food you will not use, too many leftovers, see what you can freeze. Donate some to an elderly neighbour, local food bank or soup kitchen? Think about the amount of aluminium foil thrown away over Christmas. When cleaned it can be recycled. Check your recycle service. Buy local organic produce to reduce impact and carbon footprint. Picture made totally from leftovers. Turkey vegetable herb base in sauce (left over gravy) with mashed potatoes and vegetable topping. Sprinkled with cheese. Tasty!
Thought for Advent Day 19 Compost Put your vegetable leftovers that can’t be reused in a compost bin or compost heap in the garden. Don’t forget coffee grinds and tea leaves can be used on the soil too. Jackie the Jay a Member of the Eco Tyke clan has her garden on Sanctuary Island where she encourages the Eco Tykes to recycle their food waste by composting. Read about in “Fergs and the Eco Tykes” by Erica Thicket
Thought for Advent Day 20 Travel responsibly. If you travel over Christmas, there are things you can do to reduce the impact of your trip. Offset your emissions when flying. Enter details into a carbon offsetting site, Make the payment to a conservation project. Other projects include solar lighting in school and wind turbines on school property, financing renewable energy sources in under-developed countries. All a step in the right direction. If you would rather know that 100% of your money is being used effectively you could plant trees yourself or give some time to a local project conserving woodland in your area. Share transport for shopping. Use public transport, or shop online and get bulk deliveries. Shop local if you can please don’t neglect your local shops and suppliers.
Christmas card by Tracks Publishing Ltd DesignXP293
Thought for Advent Day 21 Feeling so pleased all the presents are wrapped? Missed one? Wrapping paper finished? Not another visit to the shops? Get creative and make the recipient smile. Make your own gift wrap from cloth or other materials. Seek out the gift wrap you have saved from presents received. Reuse a box. Decorate with nature, pinecones, holly, shells. Brown paper, twine and nature make elegant wrappings. The paper is sent to Erica as packing around the Eco Tyke books and the raffia recycled from a bunch of flowers.
Thought for Advent Day 22 Exercise. Nothing better than a high blue sky winter walk/run with friends. Our early morning walk with our dogs or a bicycle ride too. Your carbon foot print maybe less but when you throw your dog waste bags into the environment or your energy drink sachets all the good intention is lost.
Tree decoration. Think not. How long will this take to disappear if left to hang!
Thought for Advent Day 23 Santa and his reindeer have been preparing all year for their flight around the Earth. In the Eco Tykes new book. “Give the Earth a Hug” Further Adventures of Fergs and the Eco Tykes. Fergs has organised a conference on Sanctuary Island. Santa and the Easter Bunny arrive to discuss the problems with waste and pollution created when humans celebrate at festive times. Fergs and the Eco Tykes find out that Santa has another problem to deal with during the year. Space Junk! It has to be removed throughout the year so he can travel round the Earth safely on Christmas Eve.
Picture of Santa clearing a path through “space junk” from Give the Earth a Hug! Further Adventures of Fergs and the Eco Tykes. by Erica Thicket
Thought for Advent Day 24 “The environment, and the health of Mother Earth, is threatened by the way humans have been living. With Fergs’ special power help from the Eco Tyke clan and from humans. Mother Nature can start to make changes that need to happen. Give the Earth a gift something to make it feel better. Stop filling it up with plastics, waste materials and other types of pollution. Recycle instead of sending to landfill. Take more care. Make your own positive impact. Give the Earth a Hug!” Quote from, Give the Earth a Hug! Further Adventures of Fergs and the Eco Tykes. On sale at Amazon books £7:99 Also look for @ecotykes Erica Thicket on Instagram