Happy holidays to all our readers, and we do mean to emphasize the plural in holidayS.  So many celebrations come in the month of December that we just had to write a festive post to explore the best conservation traditions associated with each of our end-of-the-year holidays.

Hanukah takes place December 12-20.  This 2,000 year old tradition has conservation baked right into its premise: a resource was limited and yet people were able to make it last far longer than they’d anticipated.  Granted, the long life of the Hanukah oil was more about a miracle than about conservation, but that hasn’t stopped many organizations from holding the holiday up as a symbol of resource preservation

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You’ve probably heard of the Yule Tide or Yule log, but have you ever wondered what the word “yule” actually means?  As it turns out, Yule is a pre-Christian and Pagan celebration of the solstice on December 21, a day to honor, among other things, the natural progression of the seasons and the return of spring after the shortest, coldest day of the year.  Most modern seasonal traditions, from the use of mistletoe, holly, and evergreen to putting up a tree in your home, stem from Yule celebrations.

Christmas is one week away and you know what that means: time to go bird-watching.  It may not be the first Christmas tradition that springs to mind, but the Audubon Christmas Bird Count encourages people to go bird watching and then share their results, allowing the Audubon Society to track and assess the size and health of bird populations. 

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Kwanzaa is a seven day celebration running December 26-January 1, and each day has its own theme.  While none of them is explicitly conservation oriented, the third day is themed around collective work and responsibility.  What greater responsibility exists than what we owe to our planet?  That’s why there are several conservation themed volunteer opportunities here in Los Angeles on Day 3.

No matter which holiday(s) you celebrate, don’t let the dead of winter dissuade you from thinking of the natural world that’s going to spring to life again.  Keep conserving, and happy holidays.

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