Make Your Easter Eco-Friendly
Written by Terry Firma
Thursday, 09 April 2009 17:34
Source: Aquaman ~ Ocean Defender Make Your Easter Eco-Friendly
Green Tips for Easter Baskets, Eggs and More
So much about Easter, sadly, has become commercialized and mass-produced and hardly eco-friendly. So forget shopping at the big-box retailers or dollar chains: there are more environmentally responsible ways to create decorations and baskets of goodies for the children.
Instead of wasting money and precious natural resources on store bought plastic and gimmick baskets, hit up the local secondhand store or crafts fair for a "real" basket.
Feeling particularly ambitious? Then make your own basket. You can learn the "art of basketry" here, or follow this simple pattern for newspaper, magazine cut-outs and wallpaper-swatch baskets. For true eco-ingenuity, or if you're just really short on funds, get crafty with colorful tissue boxes, paper bags and your supermarket's berry containers.
Now that you've got such a great basket, don't ruin it with plastic grass. Just snip some from the top of your lawn. If you prefer foliage that won't wilt or wither, flip through the pages of a magazine and cut out anything green. Shred it up and you've got grass-like filler (recyclable).
A great DIY easter present to create. Instead of using plastic imitation grass in an Easter basket, why not give your child a natural Easter basket, filled with sprouted wheat grass. Start at least one week in advance and you will have a lush, living blanket of grass in time for Easter Sunday. Click here for instructions. And when it is over you can use the wheat grass to make a smoothie!
The Homemade Eggs:
If you're super eco-conscious and vegan, then you're probably skipping the laid eggs altogether. Good for you, but don't get tempted to the dollar-store's jumbo plastic selection. Make your own "fake ones" with homemade paper-mache or cornstarch clay. I highly promote this option as an alternative to laid eggs. Not only is it fun but it is a learning experience. Children will learn to make natural clay that can be used for future art projects and just plain natural fun at home. So not only does this help the environment but it enriches learning and interaction on a family level.
If you are not vegan and choose to use laid eggs please make an informed decision. Supermarket eggs come from notoriously filthy and inhumane commercial outfits, not old MacDonald's farm. As the conditions of factory farms come to roost, many conscious consumers are demanding eggs that meet environmentally sound standards. You can demand the same by purchasing USDA organic eggs. For extra eco-brownie points, support your local farm. Find yours at localharvest. org. I encourage the use of homemade eggs mentioned above as the truly green and cruelty free choice.
The Egg Dyes:
Skip the unholy mess of pellets and artificial food dyes. Fruits, vegetables and spices offer a wide range of color possibilities: from bright red to lavender, orange and blue. Just boil eggs (local and organic please) in water and a teaspoon of vinegar. Add ingredients below for desired color. Let simmer for at least 15 minutes. For a darker shade place the brew in the fridge for some overnight saturation.
Pink: beets, cranberries, frozen raspberries.
Red: red onionskins.
Orange: yellow onionskins.
Lavender: grape juice.
Light Yellow: orange or lemon peels, carrot tops, celery seed or ground cumin.
Yellow: Ground turmeric, saffron.
Pale Green: spinach leaves.
Blue: canned blueberries, red cabbage leaves.
Beige/Brown: strong brewed coffee.
Eggs dyed with onionskins
Peeps, lollipops, pecan nougat, jellybeans, and even Smucker's Puckers are just a few Easter favorites. Aside from creating hyperactive chaos on Easter morning, Easter candies are grossly over-packaged. Yes, it is nice to get your egg in perfect condition, but does it really need to come swaddled in corrugated body armor? Look for the candies that come in the least amount of packaging. Cadbury Schweppes has the idea and is now offering eggs wrapped only in foil and without a cardboard box, cutting the company's Easter packaging by 798,073 pounds.
For a list of cruelty free choices click here: Cruelty free Easter
As most of us know, chocolate comes from the cocoa bean, a crop harvested in some of the most economically and environmentally disadvantaged parts of the third world. According to reports from the BBC and New York Times, cocoa producing regions are writhe with environmental and humanitarian iniquity.
This Easter, why give your children chocolate made from the sweat and sometimes even blood of less fortunate children? Swap the waxy dollar-store chocolate for organic and fair trade alternatives. Fair trade certification ensures chocolate is made under both environmental and humanitarian standards. According to the Fair Trade Organization (FTO), these standards are quite stringent, ensuring the minimum use and safe handling of agrochemicals, conservation of water, controls on gathering from the wild and deforestation, a ban on GMO (Genetically Modified Organism).
For a list of delicious organic and fair trade chocolate options click here. For a list of vegan treats visit veganchocolate. com or chocolatedecadence. com.
The Bunnies: Live or Stuffed?
According to the House Rabbit Society, a national, nonprofit bunny welfare organization, each spring, unwanted, "former Easter rabbits" fill local rescues, humane societies and worse dumpsters. Unless you're in it for the long haul and know how to take care of one, please, don't put a live bunny in your Easter basket! Leave little Peter Cottontail be . . . to hop down the old bunny trail . . . hippity hoppity, Easter's on its way.
Happy Easter! And may you take a step or two up the ladder of change to a more compassionate lifestyle!
The Green Guide. com
Vegan outreach factory farms
Aquaman ~ Ocean Defender