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πŸ’« What does a post-growth /degrowth Christmas (or New Year, or another festivity that you may be celebrating in December) look like?

The November Spark

This is the monthly newsletter from Bemari where we talk about how to not get lost in sustainability. This month we talk about how to make your Christmas more sustainable.

Degrowth is an idea we should prioritise sustainability and human wellbeing over economic growth. Proponents of degrowth argue that capitalism as it is practiced today β€” with emphasis on increased GDP and short-term corporate profits β€” is incompatible with avoiding the world impacts of climate and biodiversity crises.

It may be challenging to see what that might mean so this month we want to suggest a few ways that the degrowth/post-growth principles can apply to the holiday season.

  1. Close business and take a break. Taking time out to enjoy time with loved ones, doing things people enjoy are all wellbeing practices. Gather in groups, enjoy music and good food, play games, donate time to charity or good causes β€” all this is degrowth and something we would all enjoy more of.

  2. Rethink corporate parties. A corporate party for 60 or more staff emits 62th of CO2e (according to Project Solar). Consider food, dancing and transport and the carbon costs begin to add up. For your Christmas meals why not pick a venue that has local, seasonal vegetables and fruit, and some sustainability credentials e.g. uses renewable energy, designs their menu in a way that reduces waste and use of foods flown in from far away and grown out of season.

  3. Help employees have no fly holidays. This won’t quite show up on your business carbon footprint figure, but supporting employees with making lower carbon choices is an important aspect of the climate transition. Allow your employees to take extra days to travel slower β€” this of course might not be possible for all destinations, but where there is a non-air alternative, extra time off would be very welcome. This can be a scheme similar to volunteer days off e.g. 2 days on top of annual leave. Climate Perks initiative helps employers manage this.

  4. Gift experience instead of things. Why not avoid physical corporate presents and go for experiences instead? Practices that bring joy without buying new things for the sake of them being new. For example, you could gift a voucher for a lesson (like Obby (London only), webinar or a talk (about sustainability or even degrowth?) or Airbnb Experiences), experience or contribution to something positive like nature restoration, animal welfare or social impact, this could be a charity donation, community involvement or a financial contribution to a project that matters.

    If you are going to offer gifts, make them functional and something a person would actually want and use multiple times over the years. Bonus, if you buy these items from an artisan, small local business or a business that shares your values in one way or another β€” make the money go further!

  5. Avoid Christmas sales and offers that encourage commodification of the holiday. One of the principles of degrowth is sufficiency β€” having enough and doing a little less. Christmas holiday sales seem to come sooner and sooner every year to drive increased purchases for the holidays. Do not feed the beast and last minute buying frenzy β€” just like Black Friday, people make a lot of purchases that they do not need and eventually return in January - just because they were on sale. This creates a lot of waste β€” not just money and time spent on buying/selling it, but those items themselves often cannot be resold or reused. All the suggestions for Black Friday we made in this post apply to Christmas sales.

Follow Bemari on LinkedIn to know more about how to make your celebrations more sustainable. We are launching a December series of posts on how to make your holiday celebrations more planetary boundaries-friendly.

Meme of the month

Do you have lessons learned from your sustainability efforts that someone would benefit from? please share by emailing [email protected].

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