10 Gift Ideas for Ethical and Socially Responsible Shoppers

Bookseller Kara Nicholson has compiled a list of ten gift ideas for shoppers aspiring to be ethical and socially responsible consumers this Christmas.


1. People & Planet Calendar 2014 ($24.95)

This is a great gift for lovers of beautiful photography, and for those who want their purchases to contribute to a more just and environmentally sustainable world. People & Planet are a Melbourne based social enterprise that raises funds for and promotes the work of 41 Australian environmental and social justice organisations, such as the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and Friends of the Earth. Each year People & Planet run an international photography competition themed around the environment and social justice and this calendar features the extraordinary winning photographs with each image accompanied by its own, unique story about one of the planet’s social or environmental challenges. As an added bonus, the calendar is printed locally in Melbourne on 100% recycled paper!


2. Hush Collection Volume 13: The Magic Island ($24.95)

Beautiful, calming music that will be most appreciated at the end of a long Christmas day. The proceeds from all sales are shared by children’s hospitals around Australia. Talented Australian musicians and composers such as Peter Sculthorpe and Paul Grabowsky have donated their time to create the latest volume in the series which also features the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. A welcome relief from Christmas carols and supports a great cause too.


3. Four Degrees of Global Warming: Australia in a Hot World ($39.95) by Peter Christoff

The profits from this book will be donated to The Climate Council and it’s a good pick for anyone who’s interested in the latest climate change research. Covering the most recent climate science and the ecological, social and economic impacts of climate change in the Australian context, this book is written by eminent Australian scientists and academics. It’s scholarly but far from impenetrable and would be enjoyed by interested readers with or without previous knowledge of issues at hand.


4. A Pocket Guide to Ethical Supermarket Shopping 2014 ($8.95)

A perfect ethical stocking filler! The Ethical Consumer Group has just released this updated edition of the guide. Providing information on the environmental and social record of the companies behind the brand names of common supermarket products, this guide is an indispensible tool for the ethically aware. The Ethical Consumer Group is a community based, not-for-profit organisation and network – they exist solely to help facilitate more sustainable purchasing practices for the everyday consumer.


5. One Magic Square: Food Plot Designs for All Seasons in Temperate Climates ($22.95, was $45) by Lolo Houbein

More than just gardening advice, this little gift includes chapters on the importance food sustainability, and the effects of climate change and intensive farming. There’s advice about a range of Australian climates and all you need is one square metre so this book is perfect for those who care about food sustainability but don’t think they have the space to make a difference.


6. White Beech: The Rainforest Years ($32.95, was $39.99) by Germaine Greer

‘Rewilding’ has become a bit of a buzz word of late, and this is exactly what Germaine Greer set out to do on her property in the QLD rainforest. White Beech is the story of rebuilding the wild nature of an old dairy farm whose landscape had been radically changed and degraded by a century of logging and clearing. The property in now owned by Friends of Gondwana Rainforest, a charity Greer founded. Of the project she writes, ‘the day I gave away all my cash to the rainforest was one of the happiest days of my life’.


7. Wholehearted Food ($39.95) by Brenda Fawdon

For the ethical chef! There are chapters here on sustainable seafood and ethical meat and poultry as well as plenty of vegetarian options. Brenda Fawdon is founder of Mono Organics, Australia’s first fully-licensed organic restaurant and recipes such as ‘BBQ stuffed calamari with tomato and chilli sugo’ sound perfect for Christmas lunch.


8. New Suburban: Reinventing The Family Home In Australia And New Zealand ($70) by Stuart Harrison

Architect Stuart Harrison has long been an advocate for sustainable and efficient housing. In his latest book he tackles the problems of urban sprawl and argues for more energy efficient and denser housing to accommodate a variety of family sizes and structures. He profiles homes in the suburbs that have sought to combine the benefits of houses and apartments with smaller physical and ecological footprints but still plenty of connection to outdoor spaces.


9. Walks in Nature: Australia ($29.95)

This handy, pocket sized guide covers 125 trails in and around the Australia’s major cities and includes detailed and clear maps. All walks are between 6km and 20km in length and are within 2 hours drive of a capital city (many are accessible by train too). A great gift for nature lovers who wish they had more time to get out of the city.


10. The Reef: A Passionate History ($45) by Iain McCalman

Iain McCalman shares his passion for the Great Barrier Reef through twelve extraordinary tales. The account of poet Judith Wright, artist John Busst and forestry scientist Len Webb joining forces in 1967 to save Ellison Reef from being dredged and mined reflects current events, and shows what a political minefield conservation can be. A great gift for history lovers.

If you’re looking for more gift ideas than browse our Summer Reading Guide or our picks for best books, music and films in 2013, or come visit one of our stores to chat with us in person.