At Christmas, when a wave of rampant consumerism sweeps across the land, isn't it nice to pause occasionally and think about how you can do your bit for the planet and your fellow humans?
Without wanting to sound too evangelical about it, as I get older, I realize how lucky I am and how much I have.
There are many opportunities to give something back; so many charities competing for our spare cash but I think that living ethically should be something that is part of our daily lives.
Reduce Food Waste
If you watched the recent BBC One TV programme "Hugh's War On Waste" with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, you were probably as flummoxed as I was by the treatment of local farmers by some of the big supermarkets. The vegetables supplied had, according to the supermarkets, look good with no knobbly or gnarled bits. This lead to tonnes of perfectly edible vegetables being thrown away.
Support local farmers and food producers by buying local produce. It's a great opportunity to teach children about where their food comes from and a chance for the family to get in touch with their food. You could take the kids strawberry picking in the summer, for example.
And what about local dairies, cheese producers and wine-makers? Here in the Vale of Glamorgan where I live we are lucky enough to have a great local vineyard, Llanerch Vineyard, which makes award winning Welsh wine.
Buy Fair Trade Produce
Most of us are familiar with the work of the Fairtrade organisation and its principles are even taught in our local schools.
Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers.
It is also about supporting the development of farming and worker communities so that they have more control over their futures and protecting the environment in which they live and work.
There is a wide range of Fairtrade products available in the supermarkets these days and if you drink as much tea and coffee as we do, it makes sense to buy Fairtrade, for example coffee from Cafédirect.
Many councils now run recycling schemes for plastic, cardboard, tins and food waste but what about other items like clothing and toys? There are clothing recycling points in some supermarkets and numerous charity bag schemes where you fill the bag and put it out for collection.
We like to bag up clothes, books and toys and drop them off at our local charity shop but you could also donate toys to local playgroups. Animal shelters are often glad of old jumpers, towels and bedding to keep the animals warm in winter. There are even schemes to send used pairs of prescription glasses abroad.
I think the best advice is to think before you throw away. It's the old saying "your trash may be somebody's treasure".
Choose an Ethical Bank
Do you really know how your money is used and invested? How would you feel if you found out, for example, that your cash was supporting companies polluting the atmosphere?
The 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris has highlighted how great a threat the ever increasing level of pollution is to the world's population and how it is contributing to global warming.
Triodos Bank, are an ethical bank who only lend to and invest in organisations that benefit people and the environment. Triodos Bank is a world leader in sustainable banking and their mission is to make money work for positive social, environmental and cultural change.
They publish details of every organisation they lend to, and invest in, so you know exactly where your money goes. No other bank offers such a clear link between your savings and investments and the positive difference they make.
Triodos Bank are currently running a great giveaway with their partner, Cafédirect and I have a great coffee hamper to give away!
Triodos are also running a giveaway on their Facebook page to win a luxury glamping trip with Canopy & Stars. Check it out HERE.
The hamper includes:-
Cafédirect Medium Roast & Ground coffee 227g
Rich Roast & Ground coffee 227g
Machu Picchu Roast & Ground coffee 227g
Kilimanjaro Roast & Ground coffee 227g
Instant Coffee Medium
San Cristobal Hot Chocolate
SaoTome Hot Chocolate
Entry is via the Rafflecopter widget. UK entries only. The closing date is 11th December at 5:30 pm.
a Rafflecopter giveaway