Easter weekend is coming up and we can’t wait.
It’s just such a good time of year to be having a celebration. The days are getting longer, the weather is getting better (we’re writing this a little bit in advance and crossing our fingers that there’s not going to be another cold snap or torrential rain), the daffodils are out and new shoots are poking out of the soil in front of our very eyes.
It fairly puts us in the mood for organising a get-together with family and friends, which has got us thinking about parties in general.
We love a party. Give us food, drink, music, dancing, chat. But a full bin bag at the end of the evening? That's rubbish! Let’s not get sucked into the consumerist mindset.
How can we organise a gathering in a sustainable way?
they take between six months and four years to decompose
they contribute to the death of more than 100,000 marine mammals who die each year by becoming tangled in, or ingesting, plastic
And helium balloons are even worse!
Helium is a finite resource that is fast running out and is actually needed for MRI scans. While the gas used in the scanners and deep sea diving equipment can be recycled, the same is not true for balloons. Obviously.
We like the air of celebration that balloons give, but we can get that elsewhere.
We made paper chains for a 21st birthday celebration a few years ago that have been strung in various places ever since. They were originally hung round trees overlooking the River Tay, so there's no need to despair if you don't have a garden. Just take a few decorations to the park, the beach or by the river and make your spot that bit more cheery.
Paper chains are one of the easiest thing in the world to make
The bunting we made for a leaving party some time ago will also be making another appearance.
Making bunting is a bit more tricky but only requires basic sewing skills. It is well worth the effort as it instantly says "party”. And remember it will last forever. We love it because you can use up any spare fabric you have (we cut up a couple of old shirts and dresses for ours). We all love things that barely cost any money
Now the is garden looking suitably party ready we just need to think about feeding our guests (and maybe give them a little drink or two!)
Here's where you might be tempted to use disposable items, but please don't!
And, even though there are some fabulous eco-friendly party items out there, only buy them when you really need to. Look around your home first and use what you have already got - it's always going to be the most sustainable way.
But - we hear you say - I don't have enough plates or cutlery. What do you expect me to do?
And we say - no problem. Just ask your guests to bring them. Do that whichever you way you prefer. You can ask each person to bring along their own set of cutlery, a plate and a glass, or you could ask one person to bring along, say, four plates, another to bring extra knives and forks, someone to bring a couple of chairs and so on.
Let's get away from the culture of having to own everything and think more about borrowing what we need when we need it.
Oh, we’re even more excited now at the prospect of seeing family and friends but we’d be lying if we said we weren’t also looking forward to that other great staple of Easter – the chocolate egg
We are well aware that you, like us, will probably make decisions about which egg to buy using the same criteria you use for any other purchase. You want to buy something that has been produced ethically, but have to decide how much you can afford to spend.
We fully support the Fairtrade movement – who wouldn’t – but, of course, its goods come at a price.
We are sure you know that Fairtrade ensures better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers around the world, but particularly in lower income countries. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market price), Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade which traditionally discriminate against the producers from low-income countries.
What about the Fair Trade premium?
This is an additional amount of money paid on top of the Fairtrade minimum price. Farmers and workers invest this premium in social, environmental and economic developmental projects to improve their business and communities. Importantly, it is the community that decides, democratically, how they want to invest the premium.
We just love this way of giving people dignity and control over their lives.
So, if you are fortunate enough to be in a position to pay a little extra, please do. But don’t feel bad if you are not currently in that situation. You are not alone.
And, just before we go, Transition Dundee will be celebrating its first birthday very soon. Keep an eye out for details of our (sustainable) celebrations 😊