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Friday 19 December  
Christmas robin

Earth Beat - Christmas Special

On air: 23 December 2011 3:00 (Photo: Jack Berry)

More about:

Earth Beat, 23 December 2011. 'Tis the season to be jolly. And we see who’s doing it sustainably. From Christmas trees you can rent, to making everything from scratch and reindeer in New Delhi, some green Yuletide cheer from Earth Beat. Comment on the show.

Listen to the Earth Beat 'Christmas Special'

Download as MP3 (right-click and 'save as')

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Comedian Joel Stickley
Comedian Joel Stickley
Party Poopers - a Christmas poem

In amongst our green Christmassy stories this week, lurks a worry that many eco-conscious people face.

That what is good for the party vibe is often bad for the planet.

Poet Joel Stickley presents the dilemma... in rhyme.

The five best toys of all time

Christmas is the favourite time of year for kids, for obvious reasons. All those presents under the tree, filled with the latest gadgets and toys.

Best toys of all time - no.1. The Stick
Best toys of all time - no.1. The Stick
But how often have you given a child something, only to see them play with it for a while, then toss it aside?

Or take more interest in the box it came in?

One man, it seems, has a solution. Jonathan Liu blogs on Wired's GeekDad, reviewing games and toys.

And to avoid disappointment, he’s come up with his all-time top five.

All available just about anywhere.

Canning collective

Jar sterilisation masters Benge and Fez
Jar sterilisation masters Benge and Fez
Nothing makes a better gift at Christmas than a homemade jar of something. More photos below.

Our Vancouver Earth Beat correspondent Jen Chen was recently initiated into the canning world, and she put together this collection of voices of women on the west coast of Canada who are equally obsessed.

Some do it for themselves, some do it as part of a collective, and one woman even does it for a living.

Reindeer in Delhi?

Indian shoppers amongst Christmas goods in Mumbai's Crawford Market
Indian shoppers amongst Christmas goods in Mumbai's Crawford Market
India is primarily Hindu. Christmas is mainly celebrated by 25 million Indian Christians – under 3 percent of the population. More photos below.

But in recent years, Christmas has become very popular across India’s religious spectrum.

Earth Beat correspondent Chhavi Sachdev brings us this essay about how she’s seen Christmas change in the last 30 years.

Rent a Christmas tree

Every year, millions of trees are cut down and dragged indoors, blinged up for a couple of weeks before being chucked out onto the street.

Now, there's another way, that doesn’t involve killing a tree or a plastic alternative. You can hire one. Peter Inch runs Trees for Rent in the UK.

Christmas waste in the Philippines

In the Philippines, Christmas consumption is high, and waste is such a problem that December sees waste piled high by the side of the road.

This year, one organization, the EcoWaste Coalition, is urging Filipinos to be a bit more creative about Christmas, by buying less and designing their own decorations.

As spokeswoman Christina Vergara tells Earth Beat, the problem is partly with months-long preparations.

52 weeks from scratch

A Canadian woman is taking DIY to a whole new level.

Inspired by the likes of Hollywood films like Julie and Julia and enviro-challenges like the 100 Mile Diet, Elizabeth Fraser has decided to cast off the malls and mass consumption and get back to basics by only by consuming what she creates with her own two hands.

Earth Beat correspondent Darrell Harvey brings us her story from Toronto. 52 Projects - A Year from Scratch.

Climate change and Russian reindeer herders

Sámi reindeer herder
Sámi reindeer herder
With the tundra freezing later and later every year, the Sámi, native inhabitants of the Kola Peninsula in Russia, have a shorter – and more dangerous – hunting season.

Unstable ice affects their ability to hunt reindeer, something they have been doing for centuries to survive.

Earth Beat correspondent Geert Groot Koerkamp visits them to hear their story.

And finally, a Merry Christmas from all the Earth Beat team at Radio Netherlands Worldwide!

  • From left, Alli and Erin man the jar filling station<br>&copy; RNW -
  • Rimming jars to ensure proper sealing<br>&copy; RNW -
  • Cooling strawberry jam<br>&copy; RNW -
  • Crispy dill cucumber pickles<br>&copy; RNW -
  • Indian shoppers amongst Christmas goods in Mumbai&#039;s Crawford Market<br>&copy; RNW/Chhavi Sachdev -
  • Indian shoppers amongst Christmas goods in Mumbai&#039;s Crawford Market<br>&copy; RNW/Chhavi Sachdev -
  • In recent years, Christmas has become very popular across India’s religious spectrum<br>&copy; RNW/Rahul Rastogi -
  • In recent years, Christmas has become very popular across India’s religious spectrum<br>&copy; RNW/Rahul Rastogi -


Anonymous 8 January 2012 - 1:28pm / Canada

I have been downloading your podcasts regularly this past year; my husband put me on to your site. I just heard your Christmas Special and Producers' Picks 2011. We've had an artificial tree each Christmas for years and I liked the novel story about renting a live tree. In our case it would be somewhat redundant. We have a grove of tall spruce trees on 3 of the 5 sided lot that we live on in the city of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. This year in particular seemed magical with snow clinging to every tiny branch(it magically disappeared after Boxing Day). It is generally green otherwise although it is not unusual for us to get some snow in November. The colder weather begins here in January. Happy New Year to all of you at RNW that bring us so many interesting stories from around the world! All the best, Mira

user avatar
Earth Beat 11 January 2012 - 3:10pm / Netherlands

hi Mira - Happy New Year and thanks for your message. Nice to hear you had some snow - sounds v picturesque, we have had a particulary mild winter here compared to the last two years. For more wintry themes, make sure you listen to this week's show - "Winter" (broadcast 13 Jan 2012)

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