7 Gifts For Environmentalists That Actually Heal The Planet & Save Wildlife!

By Natalia Mello | Updated on September 23, 2021

This guide will make the complex task of finding the perfect gifts for environmentalists easy!

We know our eco-conscious family, friends, and colleagues highly appreciate products that deliver as many environmental benefits as possible. We also know that every product has social and ecological costs that are not always obvious. Moreover, the eco-friendly market nowadays offers products that, beyond protecting Earth’s natural resources, help restore ecosystems and rehabilitate wildlife.

Because of these many aspects to be considered, it can become difficult to know if the products we are intending to buy are indeed the most sustainable and ethical choices.

To overcome doubt, let’s dive into a list of carefully selected gift ideas that will make every hard-core environmentalist smile. As a first step, let’s understand the importance of picking sustainably sourced and crafted products.

An image of a leopard laying in grass in a wildlife center in Brazil, with 8 Billion Trees Logo

Why Should We Give Preference to Products that Protect and Restore the Earth

Every living being on the planet is currently facing many threats. As the climate changes, extreme events – droughts, floods, fierce hurricanes, heat waves, blizzards – become more common, the sea level rises, the ocean becomes more acidic, and fires ravage forests more intensely and frequently.

As we know, the climate is changing at a rapid pace because all of our activities, processes, and products have a carbon footprint – that is, they emit carbon dioxide (CO2) as well as other greenhouse gases (GHG) to the atmosphere.

For instance, a standard car powered by gasoline emits 4.6 tons of CO2 each year.1 In terms of energy use, a household in the United States emits, on average, 7.5 tons of GHG every year – in total, all houses in the country produce 5,43 gigatons of GHG annually.2 Laundry alone is responsible for emitting 26 million metric tons of GHG in the US.2

What we wear also has a significant environmental cost. In terms of climate change, the clothing industry ranks among the top contributors: producing clothes emits 1.2 billion tons of GHG per year.3

Our – and our pets’ – dietary habits also influence climate change. GHG emissions from food mostly result from agricultural practices: replacing forested areas by pasture and croplands sends copious amounts of GHG to the atmosphere. Moreover, ruminant animals belch and all animals produce manure – all of which release methane (CH4), which has a bigger global warming potential than CO2.

As such, food production contributes 26 percent of all global GHG emissions, out of which 58 percent come from animal-based food products. Feeding our dogs and cats alone produces 64 million tons of CO2 each year, which corresponds to the same amount of this greenhouse gas 13.6 million cars release in the same period.4

The issue of deforestation associated with food production – and other activities – is one of the current most pressing issues. In 2020, 24 trees were chopped down each second in Brazil and 99.8 percent of deforestation there was illegal. 61 percent of deforestation in the country in that year happened in the Amazon rainforest, a biome whose richness and importance are well-known across the world.5

A deforested and degraded area, with burnt grass in the foreground and scarce trees in the background

Besides the climate impact, deforestation alters ecosystems in significant ways. This land-cover change process causes (plant, animal, and fungal) biodiversity loss, habitat fragmentation, erosion, disruptions in the water cycle, altered local temperatures. It also impacts local inhabitants whose livelihoods and cultural traditions are closely linked with the forest.

Considering these global-to-local problems, the importance of protecting standing forests and restoring deforested areas is ever-increasing.

Forest restoration, nonetheless, goes beyond the act of simply planting trees. Carefully planning and executing all steps of reforestation projects is key to ensure their success. In that sense, we must advocate for and support projects encompassing native species and planting genetically diverse forests.

Native seeds and seedlings will develop into a more resilient forest ecosystem than non-native species. As such, native trees used to restore deforested and degraded areas offer greater support to the local wildlife – as well as to the local human inhabitants who depend on the forest resources. A genetically diverse forest is likewise more resilient, resistant, and healthier than an area that presents low genetic diversity. That means reforestation projects must encompass different tree species instead of promoting monoculture plantations.6

A simple and effective way to support companies promoting robust reforestation projects, protecting trees, and saving wildlife is purchasing the products listed below.

7 Perfect Gifts for Environmentalists

Bamboo Self-Care Bundle

Betting on bamboo is never a risky game. The plant improves the environment in many ways… it protects the soil and improves its health, absorbs CO2 emissions as well as pollution, and grows quickly without any chemical (pesticides or herbicides) inputs.

Products included in the bamboo selfcare bundle. Three light green washcloths, bamboo cotton swabs, and a canvas bundle bag

This bamboo self-care bundle offers bamboo washcloths, bamboo cotton swabs, and a canvas bundle bag. All of these are made of 100% natural, organic, biodegradable, and hypoallergenic materials, which dispense the use of any type of chemical inputs.

This beautiful bundle is carbon neutral and supports the planting of 6 trees and protects 24 trees from deforestation. It also helps to save, protect, feed, and rehabilitate endangered animals – like jaguars – in the Amazon.

Three Books by Macmillan Publishers

This publishing company is heavily committed to climate neutrality and forest conservation.

Over the last 10 years, Macmillan Publishers lowered their carbon emission by 40 percent. The company moreover offsets the carbon emissions it cannot avoid: since 2017, it has offset “more than 100 percent of its Scope 1, Scope 2, and total Scope 3 emissions”.7

Scope 1 emissions refer to those that come from heat in their facilities and fuel in their commercial agents’ cars. Scope 2 emissions come from the electricity the company uses in their buildings. Scope 3 emissions are those that come from manufacturing and transporting books, commuting of employees, waste management practices, and business travels.7

The carbon offsets the company purchases are verified by credible third-party organizations. In the forestry sector, the carbon offsets Macmillan purchases support forest preservation in different countries: United States, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Canada, Panama, Indonesia, and Brazil. The company also purchases offsets derived from programs focused on methane reduction, paper manufacturing, and renewable energy.8

The publishing enterprise is moreover a founding partner of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) program, which focuses on certifying the larger number possible of forest landowners and small-scale paper wood mills.7

The following carbon-neutral books published by Macmillan are packed with info that every environmentalist needs to know:

  • The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

An image of The Sixth Extinction An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert.

This book, by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Kolbert, is filled with extremely relevant facts and figures about how human interaction with the natural world has been driving the planet to the brink of the sixth mass extinction.

Building from vibrant accounts of environmental issues happening in places like Peru, the Great Barrier Reef, the Amazon, and the Italian coast, the book paints a real picture of how far humans have been pushing Earth’s limits.

  • Guardians of the Trees: A Journey of Hope Through Healing the Planet

An image of the Guardian of the Trees: A Journey of Hope Through Healing the Planet: A Memoir by Kinari Webb

In 1993, Kinari Webb went to Borneo to study orangutans and discovered her life mission: to care both for humans and the planet’s health. In this inspiring book, Webb candidly shares the details encompassed in her battle for a better, greener world.9

From accounts about how she felt when she witnessed deforestation to how she had to fight for her life after being stung by a box jellyfish, Webb invites us to dive into her world while laying out the path for a better future.9

  • Food is the Solution: What to Eat to Change the World

An image of the Food Is the Solution What to Eat to Save the World--80+ Recipes for a Greener Planet and a Healthier You by Matthew Prescott

Even the most environmentally-conscious person can benefit from more insights on how to plan a tasty, eco-friendly meal.

This book, written by Matthew Prescott (Senior Food Policy Director for the Humane Society), is packed with recipes, detailed infographics, essays (written by Paul McCartney, James Cameron, and others), and many insights on how food can change the world.

Sustainable Shiny Whites Bundle

The sustainable shiny whites bundle includes one organic bamboo toothbrush, one jar of activated charcoal tooth powder, biodegradable dental floss, and one canvas bag.

Keeping our gums healthy can help us fight viral diseases – like COVID-19 – and prevent heart problems. So offering products made of biodegradable, natural, organic, and chemical free materials shows we want our friends and the planet to be healthier each day!

Products included in the sustainable shiny whites bundle. One bamboo toothbrush, one jar of activated charcoal tooth powder, biodegradable dental floss, and one canvas bag

This carbon neutral bundle also supports forest restoration and protection: it funds the planting and protection of 6 and 24 trees, respectively. It also supports a wildlife sanctuary in the Amazon rainforest.

Wool Dryer Balls

Although many people have been raising concerns about the sustainability of this product, cruelty-free wool dryer balls exist and help both the users and the environment in many ways.

They are reusable, reduce drying time (saving energy, money, and GHG emissions), remove static cling, and are hypoallergenic. Adding a few drops of essential oils in these dryer balls grants a fresh fragrance to the clothes, dispensing the use of chemical ingredients that harm our health and the environment.

Each of these carbon neutral wool dryer balls kits support the planting and protection of 6 trees 60 trees, respectively, and saves wildlife in the Amazon.

Three white and green wool dryer balls

Hemp T-Shirt

Hemp is one of the most sustainable materials in the world. Besides absorbing CO2, the plant rehabilitates degraded soils, grows very quickly, and dispenses the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides.

Hemp fabric is very soft, resistant, light, and has antifungal, antibacterial and thermal insulation properties.

This carbon neutral hemp tee supports the planting of 10 and the preservation of 100 trees, as well as the protection of wildlife.

This hemp shirt not only is eco-friendly, but actively saves the earth with carbon offsets.

Making Environmentalists and the Planet Happy

Counteracting the most pressing environmental issues of our times, the gifts for environmentalists listed above are safe bets in terms of contributing to a more sustainable world, especially since some of them operate in conjunction with carbon offset companies.

These low-waste, carbon neutral, useful, and inspiring gifts are sure to make environmentalists smile!

If picking out an eco-friendly gift for your loved one has inspired you to be more environmentally-conscious too, start by calculating your carbon footprint.


References

1United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2016, January 12). Greenhouse Gas Emissions from a Typical Passenger Vehicle. Retrieved August 25, 2021, from https://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/greenhouse-gas-emissions-typical-passenger-vehicle

2University of Michigan. (n.d.). Carbon Footprint Factsheet | Center for Sustainable Systems. Retrieved August 25, 2021, from https://css.umich.edu/factsheets/carbon-footprint-factsheet

3Martin, C. (2021, March 29). CSU researchers aim to taper fashion industry’s carbon footprint – College of Health and Human Sciences. Retrieved August 25, 2021, from https://chhs.source.colostate.edu/csu-researchers-aim-to-taper-fashion-industrys-carbon-footprint/

4Oxford University. (2021, August 25). Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers – ORA – Oxford University Research Archive. Retrieved August 25, 2021, from https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:b0b53649-5e93-4415-bf07-6b0b1227172f

5Mapbiomas Brasil. (n.d.). País perdeu 24 árvores por segundo em 2020. Retrieved August 25, 2021, from https://mapbiomas.org/pais-perdeu-24-arvores-por-segundo-em-2020

6Lamb, D. (2012). Forest restoration – the third big silvicultural challenge. J. Trop. Forest Sci., 24: 295–299.

7Macmillan Sustainability. (n.d.). Sustainability Is More Than an Aspiration. It’s an Essential Part of Our Mission. Retrieved August 25, 2021, from https://sustainability.macmillan.com

8Macmillan Sustainability. (n.d.). Carbon Offsets. Retrieved August 25, 2021, from https://sustainability.macmillan.com/carbon-offsets/

9Kirkus Reviews. (2021, September 28). Guardians Of The Trees. Retrieved August 25, 2021, from https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/kinari-webb/guardians-of-the-trees/