Carina Cole ‘22
Easter, a day that entails chocolate, the Easter Bunny, stuffed animals, and maybe even a church service. Easter was named after a pre-Christian goddess, Eostre, in England. This goddess was mentioned in the scriptures of British monk Venerable Bede. Eostre is the goddess of dawn and new beginnings, which is why Easter is celebrated in the early spring. Thus, the modern concept of Easter being a day to celebrate the resurrection of Christ was born. Since then, however, Easter has turned into a day of consumerism to the point where the environment is harmed. One study showed that around 180 million eggs are bought for Easter alone, which are often not recycled and are left outside. Mercersburg Academy’s Green Team, the environmental club on campus, recently recognized this and urged members of the community to be mindful of this year’s Easter when buying gifts for family members or children.
One of Green Team’s main tips was to take into account the number of times the gift will actually be used and to consider giving something handmade or second-hand instead. Green Team leader Addie Geitner ’21 recommends thrifting. There are a variety of thrift, antique, or secondhand stores that provide clothing, accessories, and even furniture. Geitner recommends that if you are looking to buy something new, however, there are many websites or stores that sell sustainable products, though she warns that “sustainably, ethically made items are a bit pricier.” Another benefit of buying a sustainable gift is that products are often of higher quality and will last longer. Another great gift alternative is baking or cooking something. Instead of going to the grocery store to buy a bag of mass-produced chocolates, making something at home would be just as, if not more, heartfelt.
Another crucial point to keep in mind while shopping for gifts is where the gifts were made. Not only are pollutants a huge issue, but where the gift is made is incredibly important as well. Online clothing stores such as Shein and Romwe are highly suspected to use child labor and sweatshops. It is imperative to consider the conditions under which products are made. If buying sustainably is not an option, researching the working conditions of the brand you are buying from is a conscious decision that has a human impact. In fact, even during other holidays or when shopping in general, it is important to pay attention to working conditions. Another factor is how much workers are paid, and whether it is a fair amount for the labor they are doing. Just paying attention to these details when shopping is a step in the right direction.
During Easter and shopping in general, remember these gift ideas and know that making a heartfelt homemade gift is often better than a store-bought gift. Always be aware of the environmental impact of purchases, and the consequences of buying in excess or buying without knowing where the products are sourced.