Thanksgiving is just a week away and many of us will be surrounded by friends and family enjoying an amazing home cooked meal of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy. With delicious food on our minds, we often forget how the Thanksgiving holiday affects the environment. Of the 248 million turkeys raised each year, over two-thirds (that’s 82.67 million turkeys) are consumed each Thanksgiving.. For many Americans, turkey is a must-have during the holiday feast, even with it, there are ways to have a healthier, more sustainable “Turkey Day”.
As a measure to reduce carbon emission, it’s best to purchase your turkey from a local, organic source which helps keep agriculture thriving in your area. Check AllOrganicLinks.com for a comprehensive database for all things organic. Organic turkeys ensure that no pollution will enter the air or water as a result of harmful pesticides and hormones, thus making them taste better ultimately better for you. Additionally, when buying produce make sure to buy local and organic and in-season vegetables. This will reduce the carbon emissions of your Thanksgiving. If you’re unsure of which vegetables are in season, click here.
Many Americans hit the road to visit family and friends; this is one of the hidden greenhouse gas creators during the Thanksgiving holiday. When possible, make sure to carpool to your dining destination, or invite your neighbors into your home, keeping everyone close and strengthening the community while reducing the ecological impacts of the holiday. According to GreenLivingEco.com, if every family reduced their Thanksgiving gas usage by one gallon, we would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one million tons each year.
Like many people, the meal is the favorite part about the holiday. However, Americans waste about 25% of food each year on Thanksgiving. To reduce this, plan your meals appropriately. A rule of thumb is to have a main course, four sides, and a dessert – assume each person will have about one pound of turkey and approximately one-fourth of a pound of each side. If you still end up making too much, remind your guests to bring food storage containers and send them home with a ‘doggie bag’ or donate them to local homeless shelters. Composting the remaining scraps is another sustainable alternative.
While a big feast can generate holiday bliss, festive decorations can also contribute. When decorating, keep in mind sustainable, homemade ways to give your home the Thanksgiving vibe. Use items from your yard – gather pine cones, twigs, and leaves to create a centerpiece. Pair candles with walnuts to create a modern tablescape.
With cheer in the air around the holiday seasons, it’s always important to thank your family and friends for an amazing year, but we should also appreciate the earth for supplying us with an amazing place to live, beauty to view, and food to eat. Do your part to have a sustainable, healthy Thanksgiving to make sure there are more beautiful holidays for generations to come.
[source: US Census]