Expert Interview: Green Gifts Guide’s Amity Hook-Sopko Answers our Earth Day Questions

To celebrate Earth Day at The Gifting Experts, we thought we would introduce you to our new friend, Amity from Green Gifts Guide. Amity was a delight to work with and she was the perfect expert for Earth Day! Amity loves gifting green and after reading the below interview, you might want to gift green too!

How can we easily celebrate Earth Day as a Family?

Go OUTSIDE and get to know nature for Earth Day.  Disney Nature films are great for a rainy day, but U.S. children already spend too much time in front of a screen.  Kids need hands-on activities to connect with the planet and understand why conservation is so important.

Some fun and inexpensive ways to celebrate are: Plant a tree as a family, Visit a wildlife center, nature preserve, or game ranch,  (Different from a zoo, you’ll find native animals in their natural habitat or in rehabilitation at these centers.) Volunteer to help clean up litter or collect items for recycling and Unplug from TV, video games, cell phones – this is also National Screen Free Week.

What is your favorite “green” tip that we might not have heard yet?

One of my favorite green tips is to stop giving mindless ‘stuff’ as gifts.  Have you ever stopped to look around your home or your friends (especially those with kids) homes and really look at how many things everyone has?

A thoughtful, carefully selected gift makes all the difference.  You want to give something your recipient can use again and again.  Not just something that starts the endless cycle of needing a place to put it, batteries to power it, someone to fix it, and ultimately having it end up crowding our landfills, because we never used it anyway.

What is “Fair Trade” and Why is it important to buy “Fair Trade” and local products?

To understand what Fair Trade is… sometimes it helps to start with what it’s not.  Many of the things we buy come from China or other countries that export cheap products.  And while the laws protecting child labor are helping, there’s still no guarantee that the last toy you bought was made by a worker who received a decent living wage for his or her day’s work.

The Fair Trade Certification lets you know that the person who made this item for you was paid fairly and is allowed to work in decent conditions.  Many Fair Trade items are made from sustainable or recycled materials, so we can know there was very little impact on their native land to bring these items to us.

Imagine the connection you’ll feel holding the same piece of jewelry that was made by the hands of a woman in a tiny village and knowing that because you bought this, she can feed her children today.  It didn’t come from a factory assembly line.  It came from the heart.

What’s a product that you own that’s not only eco-friendly but a real time-saver too?

School day mornings are one of the busiest times in our house.  We always try to pack a waste-free lunch for our children.  I love the Wrap-n-Mat sandwich wrap and snack pouches.  They’re reusable – some of them have lasted us two years now!  And they’re so simple; our 5 year old can help pack his own lunch.

What are some of the greatest energy wasters we do every day? Are these easily preventable?

There are several when it comes to energy or water around the home.  The main one I’m currently working on this spring is drying our clothes outside to avoid running the dryer
so much.

What are your top 5 green gifts of the moment?

1. I love the green Fair Trade scarf on The Gifting Experts’ Green Finds for Spring!

2. Plant a tree in your recipient’s name

3. Donate to your recipient’s favorite charity

4. You can often find new items (still with tags) at …Goodwill, eBay, or Craig’s List.

5. Give an experience gift – travel, state park season passes, or gift certificate to a restaurant with local food.

A thoughtful experience gift gives them something they’ll always remember, but never ends up in the Goodwill box.

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About Green Gifts Guide: Amity left a nine-year career in corporate Sales & Marketing shortly after the birth of her second son.  Her time as a SAHM allowed her to reconnect with nature and slow down enough to enjoy her family.  As birthday parties and holidays went into full swing – and all the waste that goes along with them – Amity was inspired to help busy moms find simple options for Eco-friendly gift giving.