Our choice of festive gifts for the environmental campaigner in the family

Eco-friendly beer

It’s Christmas, so chances are that some of you will want a drink to celebrate – or simply to get you through the season. For ale fans, Gipsy Hill Brewery has launched two beers that are carbon negative without using an offsetting scheme. The two beers, Swell Lager and Trail Pale, use barley grown by Wildfarmed, a promoter of regenerative practices such as intercropping, cover cropping and reduced tillage, which locks more carbon into the soil than it releases into the atmosphere. Both beers are also made using recaptured hops taken from a fermentation process for a previous batch of beer.

While a typical pint of craft IPA can generate 500g CO2e or above, the carbon footprint of a pint of Swell Lager is 40g CO2e, while a pint of Trail Pail generates 30g CO2e. “By truly embedding sustainability into our brewing process rather than simply offsetting emissions, we have created a blueprint for a sustainable beer range,” says Gipsy Hill Brewery’s co-founder Sam McMeekin.


Donation to World Land Trust

The Carbon Balanced Paper initiatives raises funds for World Land Trust to run four projects around the world, each one protecting huge areas of threatened habitats from deforestation and destruction. So one of the best presents you could give your eco-friendly friend or family member is a direct donation to World Land Trust through one of their schemes such as Save an Acre. In some countries, the organisation can save an acre of threatened habitat for an average of £100, helping to rescue valuable ecosystems from?wildlife poaching and logging. For more modest present budgets, the organisation also offers the chance to plant a tree on behalf of a loved one for £5, which covers the care of a tree to the point at which it can survive on its own, including collecting the seeds, nurturing the seedling, preparing the land, planting the tree, tending the sapling and protecting the new forest.


Hope in Hell: A Decade to Confront the Climate Emergency

Jonathan Porritt’s definitive book about tackling climate change delivers a rousing call to arms for the world to confront the unfolding environmental catastrophe head-on, using new technology, the power of innovation, the mobilisation of young people, and a sense of intergenerational solidarity to secure a safer, more liveable world. Recently updated, the environmental campaigner remains upbeat throughout, describing the vast scale of the problem while outlining the solutions, urging people to work together to reverse centuries of destruction. Caroline Lucas, MP described the book as: “Brave and unflinching in setting out the reality of the hell towards which we’re headed, but even more urgent, passionate and compelling about the grounds for hope if we change course fast enough.”

Available from all good book shops.

The season of second-hand

For the truly eco-aware, the best presents are ones that are second-hand. A poll conducted by book publishers Wonderbly earlier in 2023 found that 63% of people receive up to seven presents each year which they will never use or, worse, throw away. According to Business Waste, around £42m-worth of unwanted Christmas presents are sent to UK landfill every year. So why not take an unwanted gift out of circulation by buying second-hand. There’s no shortage of online selling platforms out there and items are usually a lot cheaper than brand new. Better still: ask the person what they want and you can guarantee that their present will be the right choice.

Wishing you all an eco-amazing Christmas!

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