Our 2020 Christmas Gift Guide: The ethical & sustainable edition

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be compiling a host of gift guides to help you with your Christmas shopping.

Here are some gift ideas for those who want to shop more sustainably or ethically this festive season. And you can find even more suggestions by browsing the collections below.


Ideas to inspire action against the climate crisis

  • First published in 2017, Call of the Reed Warbler attracted a whole new audience this year when the book’s author, radical farmer Charles Massy, appeared on Australian Story. Now available in a new updated edition, this groundbreaking work explores transformative and regenerative agriculture, and the vital connection between our soil and our health.

  • Released to coincide with a new Netflix film, A Life on Our Planet is an urgent call-to-action from iconic broadcaster David Attenborough. As well as clearly describing the devastating impact of climate crisis that he has witnessed with his own eyes, Attenborough also points to possible scientific solutions to reverse the planet’s decline. A hopeful call-to-action.

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  • This year, Australians are all witnessing an unprecedented government response to crisis - swift decisive action to avert catastrophe. Yet, the advice of scientists on the impending catastrophe that climate change will bring has been ignored, dismissed and even ridiculed for decades. In The Climate Cure, Tim Flannery makes a case for why the government needs to use the same approach regards the environmental crisis at our doorstep.

  • Actress and political activism Jane Fonda shares her incredibly inspiring personal story in What Can I Do?, as well as lays out concrete solutions and actions that everybody can take in order to combat the climate crisis within their own communities.

  • For those looking to make a difference where their wardrobes are concerned – Sustainable & Fashionable: Melbourne encourages Melbourne consumers to seek out and support ethical and creative artisans in their local community.

Ideas to help reduce, reuse & recycle

  • The perfect present for city-dwellers who yearn for a romantic regional lifestyle – My Suburban Farm provides practical homegrown craft, garden and kitchen activities that help conjure the feeling of a rural idyll.

  • A hive-mind of wonderful home cooks, chefs and nutritionists – the Kindness Community – give their best tips, recipes, hacks and substitutes for the plant-based life in The Kindness Community Vegan Cookbook. This treasure trove will be appreciated by expert, newbie and wannabe vegans.

  • It’s easy to create stylish sustainable and zero-waste gifts with the help of Sustainable Gifting and author Michelle Mackintosh’s design nous – chock-full of innovative ideas, step-by-step instructions and templates for gifts like potted plants, baked goods, lovely handmade journals and clever tote bags.

  • Based on her hugely popular Instagram account, Julia Watkin’s extensive and accessible book, Simply Living Well is crammed with rituals, recipes, checklists and projects for living simply and sustainably at home, with a focus on eliminating wasteful packaging, harmful ingredients, and disposable items.

  • For those with big dreams of one day building an affordable, eco-friendly and efficient green home, The Sustainable House Handbook is a true bible by expert environmental scientist and Gardening Australia presenter Josh Byrne, illustrated throughout with helpful photos, plans, charts, diagrams and useful statistics and measurements.

Ideas to expand empathy & minds

  • The co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Alicia Garza, details her experiences as a Black woman and the things she’s learned while building the prominent grass roots organisation in The Purpose of Power, a timely exploration of recent racial history and the possibilities of activism to create much-needed change.

  • Read young, up-and-coming Black voices in maar bidi: next generation black writing, an anthology of diverse prose and fiction that speaks to strength, meaning, connections and finding the form and style that suits best.

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  • Ronnie Kahn, founder and CEO of the food rescue organisation OzHarvest, tells the story of how she found her voice, her heart and her deepest calling in A Repurposed Life - essential and inspirational reading to put the fire back in your belly.

  • People who love expanding their minds with experimental, genre-bending and futuristic stories will love Collisions: Fictions of the Future. This is a collection of the top entries from the inaugural LIMINAL Fiction Prize that brings together both emerging and established writers of colour.

  • The extraordinary 60-year friendship between Dr Catherine Hamlin of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital and surgeon Mamitu Gashe is detailed in Healing Lives. This is an eye-opening account of not only a productive and moving friendship, but also of their joint mission to save the lives of some of the world’s poorest and most desperate women.

Ideas to encourage reconnecting with nature

  • English Pastoral is the new book from The Shepherd’s Life author James Rebanks, and it’s another moving work of non-fiction. Describing how he has put his environmental ideals into practice in his own work and life, Rebanks promotes a sustainable farming and food.

  • If you’re hoping to convince your selected giftee to head out on more bushwalks, we recommend Melissa Harper’s quirky history of bushwalking in Australia – The Ways of the Bushwalker. First published in 2007, this newly updated edition is an entertaining look at one of the nation’s favourite pasttimes.

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  • For those inspired by poetry, naturalist John Blay provides a lyrical and philosophical account of his long walk through the great native forests of Australia’s south-east in Wild Nature: Walking Australia’s South East Forests.

  • In How Birds Behave, biologist and conservationist Wenfei Tong explains the science behind bird behaviour. The information is revealed in brief, conversational vignettes and alongside full-colour photography, making this book a brilliant gateway read for those intrigued by birdwatching.

  • Helen Macdonald won many fans at Readings with H is for Hawk, her memoir of grief and falconry. Now with Vesper Flights, she brings together a collection of her best-loved writing including essays on hunting mushrooms, on twentieth-century spies, on the tribulations of farming ostriches, and more. Part memoir, part nature writing, part history, and wholly enthralling.

Still stumped? We also sell gift vouchers which can be used in-store and online.

Sustainable & Fashionable: Melbourne

Sustainable & Fashionable: Melbourne

Greta Lukavic

$34.95Buy now

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