Gifting Better Today and everyday

Gifting Better
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NOW is calling this decisive decade the Force for Good 20s when we are challenged to do better and bolder action is triggered by a genuine concern for others.  After the year we’ve had, it has never been more important to support Force for Good brands that are truly fabulous about their commitment to sustainability. (Definition: Well-being of people and planet.)  

During the yuletide season laden with overconsumption and everyday after, there are infinite ways of gifting better when shared values and purpose is our north star. Get to know the inspiring founders who genuinely want to make a difference.  Let us celebrate what is truly important in life – the need to live better to protect the wellbeing of nature and communities, ourselves and the people we care about.  

Gift a tree instead of useless stuff with Forests without Frontiers

Credit: Arnaud Mesureur

Imagine how many trees could be planted if everyone on the planet gave a tree instead of more useless stuff this festive season. According to a study from the ETH Zurich University, we will need to plant a staggering 1.2 trillion additional trees to cancel out the global carbon dioxide emissions of the last decade.

Forests Without Frontiers is doing their part to restore nature and aim to plant one million trees by 2025.  Founded by Nicoleta Carpineanu, a Romanian artist and environmental activist, a DJ and producer of music and film under the name Nico de Transilvania, she is using music and arts to engage with reforestation and restoring eco-systems. Nico spent her childhood in the forests of Romania which contains some of the largest tracts of old-growth forest left in Europe, and is home to wolves, brown bear, lynx and over a third of European plant species.  

Gift a tree to everyone you know, love and like. Gifting a tree with Forests Without Frontiers means  you are helping to protect existing areas of ancient forest and the people and wildlife they nurture, to restore degraded land and to rebuild essential wildlife corridors and help support ecosystems.  It costs just £2 for a tree to be planted in the spring of 2021.  Support Forests Without Frontiers

Gifts that brings back dignity from SEP Jordan

Blending Italian style with the finest Middle-Eastern craftsmanship, the SEP Jordan’s collection aims to bring back dignity and pride to refugee camps in Jordan.  Its founder Roberta Ventura is a strong believer and advocate of refugees’ right to employment, education and empowerment – the key instruments to reach confidence, determination and self-sufficiency.

There is a gift for him, for her, and for the home (and don’t forget yourself).  Each exquisite piece in SEP Jordan’s collection is hand-embroidered with care and signed by the artist who created it.  Materials used are of top quality, do not use harmful chemicals and respect the environment and human beings.  Raw materials are imported from Italy to Jordan’s Jerash  “Gaza” refugee camp where the 525 embroidery women artists reside and craft the artisanal needle-art work. They are  paid weekly at 50% more than  market rates for each creation they produce, allowing them to earn a living & provide for their families and community. They delicately hand-embroider a range of accessories with geometric patterns inspired by Islamic geometry and Palestinian heritage. SEP Jordan contributes to environmental protection in the communities and countries where they operate and offsets the air transportation delivery. Visit SEP Jordan Shop

Gifts with purpose for traveling near and far from GroundTruth

For this new era of conscious travel, gift yourself and those you love with sustainable, stylish, and durable bags from GROUNDTRUTH’s RIKR range, Their useful, high-performance bags harness cutting-edge technologies with plenty of cool functions for the extreme outdoors and city life.  Founded by three sisters, Georgia, Nina and Sophia Scott’s travel and work experience has put them face to face with extreme environments caused by climate change and sparked their drive to create a company that could affect positive and meaningful change. Feel good knowing that all gifts purchased are from 100% recycled materials and the electricity used in its production is offset through the Mai Ndombe REDD+ project based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). 

For the ultimate explorer, the  RIKR 24L high-performance backpack reuses 120 plastic bottles and transitions seamlessly from city to mountains with its modular compartments, multiple pockets and convenient access points offer  a refined and secure way to carry all your essentials. For device lovers, the RIKR technical tote reuses 80 plastic bottles and features a storm proof top opening zip and a water-resistant shell, modular compartments, a separate laptop compartment secured by a magnetic buckle, a trolley sleeve that turns into a pocket and the place to hide the shoulder straps, this versatile bag meets the challenges of every journey.   Their everyday tote bags reuse 8 and 24 plastic bottles and come in three designs.  Visit GoundTruth Shop

Gift the power of the sun with Little Sun

Credit: Michael-Tsegaye

What started as a humble idea to create a small, portable solar lamp for people without electricity in Ethiopia is now a global project that has changed over two million lives through the awesome power of the sun. Designed by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen, the Little Sun is a work of art that works in life, when light becomes a vehicle to affect change in the everyday lives of people across the globe, providing a way to live independently outside the electrical grid system. Little Sun’s social business brings clean, reliable, affordable energy to the 1.1 billion people in the world living without electricity while raising awareness for energy access and climate action worldwide.

Gift a Little Sun solar lamp and phone charger, and they will deliver one to a person living off-the-grid at a much lower, locally affordable price. On the ground, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa, they work with local entrepreneurs to create local jobs and to bring the power of the sun to everyone. For this holiday season, they launched The Yemen Lantern which unifies the magic of light, the future of solar technology and a beautiful, ancient handicraft to help revive the work of silversmiths and artisan craftspeople in the Old City of Sana’a. The Little Sun Diamond solar lamps power each lantern with safe, clean renewable energy. Enjoy the soft, cheerful light of the lantern in your home or garden, while helping to bring income back into a creative industry that was halted by conflict in recent years. Visit the Little Sun Shop.


Gift books that boldly drives change 

Credit: Daniel Schludi

Hope in Hell – A Decade to Confront The Climate Emergency
By Jonathon Porritt

Of all the books Jonathon Porritt has written, this has been the hardest. Confronting today’s climate emergency is personally very painful for an environmentalist and the Founder Director of Forum for the Future, simply because we’ve left everything so late. After nearly 50 years of non-stop activism and advocating both for environmental sustainability and for social justice, Jonathan is more persuaded now than ever that this is our time.

Gift family and friends with a powerful and purposeful ‘call to action’ book to summon up a greater sense of urgency, courage and shared endeavour. Brave and unflinching, Jonathan eloquently sets out the reality of the hell ahead and the compelling grounds for hope IF we can change course fast enough. Hope in Hell – A Decade to Confront The Climate Emergency is a must read to ignite bolder actions in the decisive year ahead.

We have gone over the dreaded tipping points and 2021 will determine if we have a hope in hell as governments allocate the 10 trillion-dollar budget for recovery programs worldwide.  He urges us to use the power of our votes and our voices to support movements that drive systemic change to ensure budgets goes to companies that can address the climate emergency, collapsing ecosystems, deficits on social justice and racial equalities. IF we get this right, it means that 2030 will be relatively hopeful for a stable future for humankind.  Purchase Hope in Hell HERE.

The Green Edit : Travel : Easy tips for the eco-friendly traveller
By Juliet Kinsman

The must-gift book for family and friends who are dreaming to explore the world and want to satisfy their wanderlust for travel in the most sustainable way. This short expert guide takes us through every step of planning our trip, from booking to boarding, and arms us with everything we need to know about better travel and a lower-impact getaway. Sustainable, conscious travel is not just possible, it is critically necessary. Travel with less impact on our world and live life to the fullest by doing better to support communities and helping save the planet.

Juliet Kinsman is an acclaimed travel writer, editor, consultant and speaker with integrity, who walks-the-sustainability-talk and urges consumers and fellow journalists to ask the difficult questions and have bigger conversations so we can all do much better. Purchase The Green Edit on Travel  HERE.


Gift better by giving the right way as you travel 

Credit: Kira auf der Heide

Studies show a clear demand for travel in 2021 and a surge in sustainable travel. Remember the 9 ways to give the right way in the year ahead.

Give your respect

The first step to responsible travel is to take with us a general attitude of respect, both for the physical place we find ourselves in and the locals we encounter. We can help cultivate a spirit of positive change by making an effort to take care of the landscape, and by being polite and thankful towards locals.

Be mindful of what and how you give

As well intentioned as it is, giving ‘stuff’ such as clothing or pens out randomly to villagers and their children in rural communities can sow community conflict and encourage a culture of dependency. As one of our readers says: ‘I watched two Maasai women in Africa fight over a T-shirt that a smiling tourist had handed out.’ If you’re going to give, make sure it’s fair, and only give small amounts of something useful (and not made of plastic) to everyone rather than one or two things to a few.

Choose your food

In some parts of Asia, the first English words children learn are “Give me sweet.” Is sugar that rots their teeth and spikes their blood sugar really what you want to give? There are a lot of hungry children in the world, and they need sustenance and nurture, just like your own children. Go prepared and give healthy snacks individually wrapped to eat there and then, rather than sweets. If you give packets of things, such as crackers, open the packet there and then too – in some countries unopened packets are taken off children and sold back to shops. Be sure to wrap your food in something sustainable, and avoid plastic and foil wrappers that will only add to the garbage heap where recycling is not available.

Overbuy things you like and rate

If you like something, be generous and buy two of them, especially if they are hand crafted and being sold to you by the person who made them. This fuels local culture and employment. As one guide told a travel blogger: ‘Crafts are the best thing to buy; they have people’s dreams woven into them’.

Bargain up quantity

Credit: Roberto Carlos Roman

Haggling is part of many cultures, but let people earn a real wage by not bargaining them out of a meal that evening. If you want something, and the seller is over-charging for it, ask for more of it for the same price rather than offering them less money. You can afford it. This is especially true of people who sell stuff on the street and are battling weather, traffic and crime just to make a living.

Say yes to having your case carried

It’s easy to be irritated by people offering to help carry your suitcase at airports or stations and then to ask for a tip if this isn’t the practice in your own country. But if you relax and let go a bit, you’ll see that actually, this is an easy way for locals to earn money and for you to get a bit of help.

Don’t give to beggars

Whether they are children or adults, it’s wise not to give indiscriminately to beggars, for this can encourage ‘begging’ as a job choice or alternative to school, when those that do it are often part of professional begging rings and will not see any or much of the money in any case. Give food to the individuals instead, as above, and give to well chosen local charities you have checked out in person that you know will use the money to help those in need in the place you are in directly.

Give your time

Mindful volunteering is still very much in need all over the world. But choose your organisation carefully. Never volunteer to work with children in orphanages, for example, unless you are a professional, fully qualified childcare  teacher with experience and can do so for a minimum of four weeks. If you have no specific skills, go through a work exchange organisation such as HelpX or Workaway.

Give your attention

Be much more than a consumer, and take an interest in local cultures – those poorer than you often have talents and wisdoms to share instead and, just like you, are looking for human connection. Take an interest and have a chat – you’ll be surprised what you get back in return. One reader on a travel forum recently wrote: ‘When we visited Bijapur in Northern Karnataka, kids wanted pens, but more significantly, they just wanted to chat.’

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