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5 Ecologically and Socially Responsible Geek Gift Ideas

Tina Sieber 10-12-2013

We give gifts to express our affection. Yet nothing causes more harm and is more fleeting than a material gift. What lasts are the thoughts and actions associated with the gift. This year, make gifts that will last a lifetime or at least create lasting memories and strengthen your friendship with the recipient.


Below are five ideas for ecologically and socially responsible gifts.

eco-amp ($10)

The eco-amp is a passive amplifier available for iPhone and iPad. The iPad model will also fit most other mobile devices, including Samsung Galaxy S, Note, Tab; Amazon Kindle; Google Nexus, and many other Android devices. Choose from 24 different patterns for the iPhone and 8 for the iPad model.


What makes this product ecologically or socially responsible?

The eco-amp is made from recycled paper, which in turn is produced with 100% green energy and carries several different certifications, including FSC, Grean Seal, and Carbon Neutral Plus. The pattern is printed with soy-based ink. The entire manufacturing supply chain involved in the creation of the eco-amp is located within a 0.75 mile radius, which keeps the product’s carbon footprint at a bare minimum. The eco-amp is designed and produced in California, making it a great gift choice for those of you located in North America.

Not located in North America? Shipping consumes a lot of energy, which you can save if you build your own smartphone speaker Making Your Own Smartphone Speakers - MakeUseOf Tests The average smartphone speaker is an insult to an audiophile's ears. Poor quality, low volume, and a lack of bass can ruin the sound. Since those speakers are in-built, there isn't an easy way to... Read More using household items instead.


BytePac ($56-70)

BytePac is a kit to build an external hard drive. It contains everything you need to connect your SATA, eSATA or Thunderbolt drive and turn it into an external USB 2.0 or 3.0 hard drive. The enclosure is light, yet sturdy, and provides passive ventilation.


What makes this product ecologically or socially responsible?

The BytePac enclosure is made from 100% recycled cardboard and it is much lighter than plastic or metal cases. It’s a modular system in which each part can be replaced separately in case it breaks. Taken together, BytePac conserves non-renewable resources. The product is designed, developed, and made in Germany; making it a great eco gift for Europeans.

WakaWaka ($37)

WakaWaka is the world’s most efficient solar-powered lamp that can also double up as a mobile phone charger 5 Ways To Charge Your Phone In An Emergency Smartphones can be important tools in an emergency. Besides providing the chance to call for help, a phone can act as a flashlight, compass and GPS. But all of a phone’s functions rely on the... Read More . It is lightweight, multifunctional, and durable by design. The lamp provides up to 40 hours of light.


WakaWaka Power

What makes this product ecologically or socially responsible?

With each WakaWaka sold, a second lamp is donated to one of over 1.3 billion people around the world who don’t have access to electricity. A solar light can replace inefficient kerosene lamps, which pose a risk of fire and have adverse health effects. Studies found that this also increases the capacity for families to generate income and improves their children’s school grades. If you buy a lamp now, one will be donated to typhoon victims in the Philippines.


Instead of gifting something they may not need or want, give the gift of knowledge. A magazine subscription, e- or audio book in their field of interest won’t ever be boring and satisfies a geek’s biggest desire: learning more about their favorite subject. Find out how they prefer to consume new information and ask them which fields they would like to explore more. A librarian or bookstore employee can help you identify a book or magazine that caters to your friend’s interests.

If you can’t find anything, National Geographic, MIT Technology Review or Geek Magazine are general alternatives to consider.


Magazine Subscription

What makes this gift ecologically or socially responsible?

Few things can grow infinitely without causing environmental damage. Knowledge is one of those things. Apart from being an environmentally-friendly gift, especially if you gift a digital copy, knowledge also shapes the character and can help a person become socially responsible individual. Gift wisely.

Your Presence

Material gifts are fleeting. Only few very valuable things can last an entire lifetime and the most valuable ones cannot be bought with money, for example, friendship. If your geek friends has everything they need, give them something they crave, but may not be able to articulate; give them something from yourself – your time, your skills, and your attention. Invite them for a meal, cook or bake for them, offer your help with something you know they struggle with, and generally let them know you care about them.

What makes this gift ecologically or socially responsible?

Gift giving is a sign of affection. Unfortunately, this noble gesture has been distorted and abused to the point of absurdity. An entire industry is pushing us to consume Thou Shalt Consume: The Story of Consumer Electronics [Feature] Every year, exhibitions around the world present new high tech devices; expensive toys that come with many promises. They aim to make our lives easier, more fun, super connected, and of course they are status... Read More ever more and in the end, only a meager 1% of materials that make it into our household remain in use six months after we bought them. In other words, six months after Christmas, silly gifts are trashed and forgotten. Thus, making gifts that can’t or won’t be trashed is good for the environment.


True friendships and good memories, on the other hand, have zero carbon footprint. Moreover, strong relationships are good for our psyche, making us more confident and happy. So give the gift that keeps on giving and is the most precious of all, invest in your friendships.

If you agree, here is a public Facebook event you might want to join.

Trashed Gifts

What do you wish for this Christmas? And what are you going to gift?

Related topics: Buying Tips, Gift Ideas, Green Technology.

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