Green Gifts That Keep on Giving

By Maureen Halsema

The holidays are upon us and as visions of sugarplums begin to dance through our heads, thoughts of presents for loved ones are not far behind.
Instead of searching the crowded stores for a gift that may get thrown in the back of the closet, this year give a gift that really means something—a gift that could make a difference.

Keeping it Fresh

Give the gift that keeps on giving all year, with a subscription to a local community supported agriculture (CSA) project. Purchasing this membership supports local farmers and in return your giftee is given a share of fresh seasonal produce each week for the entire course of the farming season. is one way to find a your local CSA.

Bottled Sunshine

Give a sun jar! This $40 present captures sunshine in its frosted glass during the day so that it can be reused at night. The energy efficient sun jar has a solar-powered cell and a rechargeable battery that offers five hours of LED light. So turn off the regular lights, because here comes the sun. Find your sun jar at

Seasonal Inspiration

Give a movie that gives back to the environment. “Four Seasons: Peak Escape,” directed by Justin Goff, shows the beautiful views of each season in Appalachia throughout North Carolina and Tennessee. The scenic vistas of Mount Mitchell, Roan Mountain, Grandfather Mountain, and Linville Falls among others are accompanied by music by Tom Middleton, Briza, and Secede. A percentage of all the proceeds from the sales of this stunning film will be used to support environmental causes in the Appalachian region. Find out more about “Four Season: Peak Escape” at

Share music that makes a difference. Aurora Light’s CD, “Still Moving Mountains: The Journey Home” is a collection of songs and stories that illustrate the devastation wrought by mountaintop removal coal mining. It sings of hope for the future of Appalachia and of the strength of those who stand up to protect their landscapes and communities. The album features 14 musical tracks by Appalachian artists, such as Kathy Mattea, Del McCoury, Blue Highway, and Andrew McKnight, and includes interviews by Mattea and Robert Kennedy, Jr. All of the funds raised by the sale of the CD will contribute to grants, education, and charities related to raising awareness about mountaintop removal coal mining. Pick up your copy of musical inspiration at

Saving Appalachia

You can be a Mountain Protector with a gift membership to Appalachian Voices. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to bringing people together to solve environmental problems that have the greatest impact on central and southern Appalachia. Your gift plays a critical role in helping to protect Appalachian heritage and environment. Right now, your gift donation of $50 or more comes with a Coal Country CD and/or DVD. Turn to page 3 for details.

The Great Outdoors

The National Park Service offers some truly unique gifts that have lasting impacts for the Appalachian region. A National Parks and Federal Lands Recreation Pass grants an all access passport to the nation’s treasured parklands. There are several categories of the park pass, including “America the Beautiful”, an $80 gift that permits the giftee plus up to three passengers free entrance into any of the parks all year long. To purchase your pass and support the national parks and federal lands visit

Sharing Wisdom

Give the gift of enlightenment with Tom Butler’s book, “Plundering Appalachia: The Tragedy of Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining.” This book reveals the struggles Appalachia faces with a collection of photographs and essays giving insight to the truth about mountaintop removal. It is a graphic depiction of the ravaged environment and the effects that mountaintop removal has on Appalachia’s people. The book is a plea for the protection of these beautiful mountains that define Appalachia. Find out more at


If everyone lived as Americans do, several planets would be necessary to support the current global population. Help reduce your loved one’s personal carbon footprint with the Terra Pass. Your gift helps to fund projects that strive for considerable carbon reductions to curb climate change and protect natural habitats. Over 1 billion pounds of CO2 emissions have been curbed by the Terra Pass program. To make your loved one carbon neutral click to

These are but a few of the many ways to give a gift that keeps on giving. Choose a gift that best reflects where your loved ones would like to make a difference.


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