Air Quality

Published on December 15th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


More Love, Less Stuff — 3 Cleantech Gift Ideas

December 15th, 2014 by  

We’ve got a cool holiday series running across Important Media this year: “More Love, Less Stuff.” As that article writes, “Instead of focusing on giving gifts for the sake of gifts, we want to talk about ways that we can refocus the holidays this year to make them more about the love and less about the stuff….Of course, that doesn’t have to mean skipping holiday gifts. What it does mean, however, is giving mindfully and minimally.”

At first glance, it seemed like a stretch to fit CleanTechnica in. How are the various cleantech products we push on you unsuspecting good people not stuff?

But, actually, that’s the essence of cleantech. It’s all about doing what we do but using fewer resources and emitting less pollution in the process. Picking out three cleantech solutions, here’s our contribution to the “More Love, Less Stuff” series:

A Fun, Relaxing, Cheap, Efficient Way to Commute

Transit really doesn’t get the love it deserves. The downsides are overhyped and the upsides are often ignored. Riding transit, you don’t have to stress about traffic and your attention is free to go where you want it. You can jump on your tablet or smartphone and get some work done, chat with loved ones, play games, watch something funny, read some CleanTechnica articles, or go shopping (oh, wait, scratch that one).

Gift idea: annual transit pass.

transit rider on smartphone

When You Don’t Want to be Tied Down but You Want the Flexibility…

So, say you give up your car (or one of your household’s cars) in order to commute by bike or transit. Great! It’s a genuine improvement to quality of life. I made the move over 10 years and it was one of the best decisions of my life (honestly, no hyperbole there). But sometimes a car really does come in handy….

Luckily, in cities across the world, there are now big carsharing programs in place. When I dropped the car and moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina back in 2004, I was lucky enough to live in a town where a young company called Zipcar was trying to make some progress. It was a great program for me, and makes the switch to a car-free life that much easier. Getting around Chapel Hill and its conjoined sibling Carrboro is quite easy via bike and/or bus (the bus service is even free there), but for the occasional times when you want to pick someone up or drop them off at the airport, or pick up a big item from a shopping center, a car is very useful. I far preferred using Zipcar over getting a taxi or renting a car. It was also nice getting to drive the different vehicles in the fleet there.

Gift idea: carsharing membership



Less Coal = Less Stuff

As the popular Christmas tradition goes, if you’re bad, you get coal in your stocking. Unfortunately, throughout the year many people get coal emissions in their lungs and even die prematurely from the truly dirty energy source. Cutting our use of coal = less stuff in one of the best ways possible. We can reduce our use through energy efficiency measures, and some of us can cut it completely by putting solar panels on our roof. It’s a big gift, certainly one for your immediate family… unless you just have a ton of money floating around. The nice thing about this gift, again, is that it ends up saving your family money, tens of thousands of dollars (in most cases).

Gift idea: solar panels

solar power FL

santa solar

Image: Transit rider on phone via Shutterstock; Chevy Volt in Chicago Zipcar fleet via PRNewsFoto/Zipcar; Florida solar panels by Cynthia Shahan (CC BY-SA 4.0); Santa solar cartoon via Sustainable Equities Group

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

  • Kyle Field

    Love that image of santa and solar 🙂 Lots of great ideas out there…I like the underpinning theme of “more love, less stuff”. Thanks for reinforcing that across the IM family 🙂

  • No way

    I’ve got a great christmas present tip:

    What is more Cleantech than giving away a water cleaning kit? Or anythinge else which will make a difference.

    And there are plenty of projects installing solar panels for schools, hospitals etc where you can contribute if solar power is your thing.

    • Good ones. Thanks.

    • Matt

      Or be inspired and and a loan to SunFunder
      While the $ return is just below your bank, the impact and good feel return is out of this world. Full Disclosure – I have invested here, but am not on there staff.

      Or do a double gift and give in someone name to a non-profit. You get the tax break and they get the warm fuzzy. Pick one that is changing the world like.

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