Friday, December 19, 2014

Green consumerism and ”Case Christmas”
by Krista Haapamäki

While (grocery) shopping, customers face several choices - of produce and products – which are more or less ethical. There's the regular product, the cheap product, the luxurious more expensive product, the ethical product (organic or Fair Trade, or both) and the product manufactured nearby. Which one to choose? Let's take ”Case Christmas”.

Christmas time is a holiday season when consumerism is almost unavoidable. Everything is consumed – food, presents and gift cards, festive clothes and decorations, and of course gift wrappings. Christmas and the tradition of exchanging presents place a huge demand on Earth's vital, limited resources. Christmas also depicts our generation, as consumers.

 But: it does not have to be so. Christmas can be a wonderful opportunity to spend time with family and friends without all that consumerism. Or at least, the money could be used for a cause! Small choices in a better direction, every now and then, can make a difference on a larger scale; choices such as buying less or buying better (ethical, organic or sturdier). After the present, another choice concerns gift wrappings – one could try e.g. not to pack their gifts at all, avoid individual wrappings, prefer recycled gift paper or even utilize newspaper.

To provide alternative Christmas choices and raise awareness among consumers, an event ”Vihreä Joulu”, ”Green Christmas” was organized on 13th of November in Tampere Hall by TAMK’s Proakatemia entrepreneurship students. The idea, or motto, behind the happening is ”You're going to buy anyway, so choose better” - this is a great idea!

The event Vihreä joulu was supported by Ruohonjuuri, Cabassi (bag, in the picture), and Ekona. 

In the event there were approximately 15 stalls which were full of recycled products, organic products or “green” cosmetics. (e.g. no synthetic ingredients in the D-vitamin tablets). Some of the products were recycled for example from bicycles' inner tires or silver spoons (see the picture, Retonki, SusannaN Design). The jewelry made from the tires was mesmerizingly beautiful and the silver spoon jewelry was jaw-droppingly delicate and luxurious.

“Green Christmas” is an excellent pioneer idea. One way to ”lighten the load” is truly opting for better products! Yet even better is to opt for services such as a massage gift card, a movie ticket, or donate something to charitable organizations. The best choice is not to buy anything, and just enjoy the company of family and friends during the holidays. 

Anyhow the goal is to buy less, or at least buy better – when possible. Whether “better” means domestic or Fair Trade products, is up to You!

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