As you check off the names of everyone on your holiday shopping list this season, keep your carbon footprint to a minimum with these sustainable gift ideas. Everyone is sure to appreciate these unique gift ideas that not only benefit the environment but also support our local economy.

A Ticket to Ride: In an effort to minimize the negative impact on the environment of owning a car and to escape the skyrocketing expenses of gas, maintenance and parking, savvy Philly urbanites are forgoing car ownership for alternate ways of getting around, including public transportation and car-sharing services. Give a month of travel using SEPTA services beginning at $91, or gift a “Zipertificate” from Zipcar Philly, perfect for getting around without being at the mercy of public transit schedules or pricy cab rides.

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Locally Grown Food: Give gift certificates to one of Philly’s local farmers’ markets like Weavers Way Co-op, pick-your-own produce farms and food CSAs like North Star Orchard and Philly CowShare. If you know someone with a green thumb but no yard or space for a garden, they will surely love a membership to one of Philadelphia’s community gardens. There, they will be able to mingle with other gardeners from the community while growing produce they can serve at their own dinner table or donate to a local food bank or shelter.

Zoo Membership or Adopted Animal: Support the efforts of the Philadelphia Zoo to conserve wildlife and natural resources by presenting the animal lover on your list with a gift they’ll treasure and use year-round; a membership to the Philadelphia Zoo or an adoption certificate for a lion, tiger, bear or even a hippopotamus. The Philadelphia Zoo offers adoption packets that help support the care and feeding of one of the zoo’s many residents. Benefits of adoption include a fact sheet and photo of the adopted animal, an adoption certificate, enrollment in the monthly newsletter ZooNooz and an invitation to a special “Adopt Day” event held each year at the zoo that includes zoo admission for one, a group tour, a cake-cutting ceremony and special keeper talks. Adoption packages begin at $50 and memberships begin at $70 for an individual and $115 for a family.

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Shop Local: Shop for sustainable gifts at Philadelphia shops such as Save Some Green, selling organic bedding, natural cleaners, toys, fun gifts and more. Philadelphia-area residents can enjoy a one-stop holiday shopping experience at Reading Terminal Market where sustainable gift seekers can find fresh produce, baked goods, candies, hand-crafted candles, jewelry, clothing and many unique gift ideas. Many items, including Amish specialties from local farms and workshops as well as gift items from around the world, are hand-crafted from natural and organic materials.

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Christy Ayala covers sports, recreation, the outdoors, and leisure activities in the Philadelphia area. She earned a masters degree in recreation administration from George Williams College and managed programs in the Midwest, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. Her work can be found on