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Holiday shopping options that keep the season green and meaningful

November 30th, 2010

By Bill Sullivan
Green Right Now

‘Tis the season for giving, but how does the environmentally-conscious shopper weave a bit of good stewardship into all that holiday generosity?

Before making a list of energy-efficient gadgets or rushing out to buy your spouse a brand new electric car, consider a little more expanded approach to gifting “green.”

Herders with camels they received from Heifer International in Mkuru in the Arusha Region of Northern Tanzania. Image: Heifer International

For several years, my wife has given our eco-friendly offspring (and a few friends) a donation to Heifer International. You’ve probably heard of Heifer: They’re the folks who literally provide heifers (young cows), goats, sheep, llamas, rabbits, chickens and geese – among other food chain-friendly creatures — to impoverished families, to help lift them up and enable them to be more self-sufficient.

So how, you may ask, is this green?

These animals help turn dependent people into ones who can provide their own food, which is about as “sustainable” as it gets. In Heifer International’s case, that heifer is a source of milk for children and the potential to sell excess milk to pay for food, clothing and other necessities. With proper planning, the heifer can produce offspring that can help the gift keep on giving over multiple generations.

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