Kildare Wildlife Watch: Have an environmentally-friendly Christmas

With the Irish Peatland Conservation Council

Kildare Wildlife Watch: Have an environmentally-friendly Christmas

The marmalade hoverfly, one of the pollinators that has worked so hard for us all year. Picture: Nuala Madigan

Christmas is a magical time of year. Our homes are filled with colour and twinkle like the night sky in the evenings. The weeks before Christmas, our kitchen cupboards begin to burst open with food, our homes become filled with cards, wrapping paper and of course the all important RTÉ guide so we can plan ahead our Christmas TV watching — and indeed have the annual conversation that this year ‘there is absolutely nothing worth watching but yet we find plenty to watch when we sit down to it over the break’!

Christmas is also a time of year when we generate a large volume of waste. Already in 2020, we have seen how our movement to online shopping due to Covid-19 is causing an increase in waste. Although this should be a time of year to relax, we can also try to be environmentally friendly.

Each summer, our pollinators, including hoverflies and bees, have spent their time pollinating our crops producing food for us all.

Did you know that in Ireland, one third of all the food we purchase ends up in the bin? It is not that any of us buy food with the intention of throwing it out, but it happens.

Some tips to help prevent food waste at Christmas include meal planning, making a shopping list (and most importantly sticking to that same shopping list!) and don’t forget to make use of leftovers.

Christmas is also a time of year when packaging that enters our homes increases, including wrapping paper, cards, envelopes and aluminium cans, to name a few such items.

Just take the cardboard and paper alone. To produce this we are clearing trees that not only filter our air but support us by providing food, a habitat and even protect water courses.

Recycling, this Christmas, is a must for all our families. As we celebrate, safely, this Christmas, and follow Covid-19 guidelines, don’t forget throughout the year that our local wildlife have provided us with many services, often hidden, and we can support them this Christmas by having an environmentally friendly one.

From my colleagues and I at the Bog of Allen Nature Centre, we wish you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas.

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