Monday, December 04, 2006

Advent Sharing Calendar

2006 may very well go down as the year that we finally woke up to the reality of global warming. Our planet is in peril and we have a very small window of opportunity to turn things around. What's needed is for everyone to make a commitment to reduce his or her greenhouse gas emissions. We can accomplish this in a variety of ways.

To get started, this year's Advent Sharing Calendar will focus on reducing our energy consumption, recycling more and buying less. Since we already understand that those in the developing world will suffer the greatest effects from climate change, our efforts will not only help to protect Mother Earth but also her most vulnerable children.

To begin, create an Advent Sharing box. Take a small box or coffee can, put a slot in the lid, and then wrap the container in Christmas paper. Monetary gifts are added every day until the Epiphany (January 6th). Gifts should be added as follows:

December 1st - If your home has been untouched by violent weather, put a loonie in the box.

December 2nd - Add another loonie if your tap water is safe. As Greater Vancouver recently discovered, heavy rainfalls can contaminate otherwise safe drinking water supplies.

December 3rd - If you drove today when you could have taken public transit, add a loonie.

December 4th - If you drive an 8 cylinder vehicle, add a toonie. If you drive a 6 cylinder vehicle, add a loonie. If you have a fuel-efficient 4 cylinder vehicle or hybrid car, pat yourself on the back.

December 5th - If you don't use a programmable thermostat, add 50 cents. You'll need to hang onto the rest of your cash to pay for your heating bill.

December 6th - Add 50 cents for every string of Christmas lights on your house. Add 25 cents for every floodlight. Subtract 25 cents for every string of LED Christmas lights that you use, both inside and out.

December 7th - If you live above sea level, add $ 1.00. The World Health Organization estimates that 150,000 people will die this year as a result of global warming. Many of them will drown in low-lying coastal areas.

December 8th - Add 5 cents for every year of your life untouched by natural disasters.

December 9th - Add 10 cents for every produce item you bought this week that was imported from the US. Add 25 cents for items imported from Australia, Asia or South America.

December 10th - Add 10 cents for every light bulb in your house that could be replaced by a compact fluorescent bulb.

December 11th - Add 50 cents if you haven't had your car tuned up in the last six months. A properly tuned engine can improve fuel efficiency by 10 percent.

December 12th - If you haven't checked your tire pressure lately, add another 50 cents. Properly inflated tires can provide a 6 to 8 percent fuel saving.

December 13th - Add 25 cents for every heavily packaged Christmas present that you've bought.

December 14th - Add a loonie for every gift purchased that requires electricity to operate. (This includes battery operated toys and games.) Subtract a loonie for every energy or water efficient gift that you purchase.

December 15th - Add 10 cents for every present that you wrap with previously unused paper. Save money and energy by reusing paper, making your own gift-wrap from recycled paper, or investing in cloth gift bags that can be reused for years.

December 16th - Add a loonie for every degree that your daytime thermostat is set above 20 degrees C.

December 17th - Add a loonie for every degree that your nighttime thermostat is set above 17 degrees C.

December 18th - Add a loonie every time that you leave your car idling while parked.

December 19th - Add $ 5.00 if you don't recycle. The energy saved by recycling a single aluminum can could power a television for two hours or a laptop computer for three hours!

December 20th - Add a dollar if you buy your holiday beer in cans, not refillable bottles.

December 21st - On this, the darkest day of the year, add 2 cents for every light bulb inside your house.

December 22nd - When visiting friends and family, slow down! Add 10 cents for every km/h you drive above the speed limit.

December 23rd - If you take a drive around the neighbourhood to see the Christmas lights, add $ 5.00. Walking is better for you and gives you time to actually enjoy the lights.

December 24th - On this most magical of nights, add a toonie if you leave your Christmas lights on after bedtime.

December 25th - If you don't recycle Christmas wrappings and boxes, add a loonie.

December 26th - If you don't compost the remains of Christmas dinner, add a toonie.

December 27th - If you braved the Boxing Week sales, add $ 5.00. If you drove alone to the mall, add another $ 5.00.

December 28th - When heating up holiday leftovers, add 50 cents if you used the oven rather than the microwave.

December 29th - Add 50 cents for every load of laundry that you don't wash in cold water.

December 30th - Add a loonie for every showerhead in your home that isn't low-flow.

December 31st - Add 5 cents for every disposable glass, plate and napkin you use at your New Year's Eve party.

January 1st - Resolve to use less electricity this year. Visit and take the pledge!

January 2nd - Develop a conservation plan for your family.

January 3rd - Challenge co-workers and employers to make their own plan.

January 4th - Make a commitment and a budget to replace energy inefficient appliances.

January 5th - Sit down with your family and decide where you would like to send the contents of your Advent Sharing box.
Suggestions include the Conservation Council of Ontario ( and The Pembina Institute (

January 6th - (The Epiphany) - Send a cheque to the charity of your choice.


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