• Green Tip: Being Environmentally Conscious on Thanskgiving

    Posted by   |  November 18, 2016
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    Thanksgiving is one of the highest consumption events in the year, so carrying out sustainability practices during the holiday carries more impact than on typical days. At each step in preparation, you can choose to support ethical, environmentally friendly practices, and to minimize your own consumption without missing out on quality.

    Here are some tips to get you started:

    Support Local Farmers Markets
    A general rule of thumb for sustainable food is to buy what’s closest to you, because this cuts infrastructural costs and emissions (from, for example, transporting food across the country) and waste. By purchasing your Thanksgiving ingredients at farmers’ markets, you’re also supporting the local agriculture economy!

    Do Math on Guests and Portions – figure out how much you need to make ahead of time
    Being realistic on how much your guests will eat can prevent unnecessary food waste. At the table, allowing guests to serve themselves is a polite way to let everyone cut waste by choosing their own portions.

    Save your Scraps
    While cooking, use as much of each ingredient as you can, and compost the rest rather than throwing it in the garbage. After the meal, remember that Thanksgiving leftovers make great seconds! Save the entrees you don’t eat for reheating over the holiday weekend.

    Some thoughts on the Turkey
    Choosing not to eat meat saves food, energy, and suffering, and forces the meat industry to lower the number of life cycles it chooses to support. If meat omission is not an option, there are decisions to make:

    First of course, is the decision of what kind of turkey to buy. The rule of thumb among domesticated animals is that the more natural its life is, the healthier its meat is. This is because of the nutritional value accumulated over the animal’s life and the exclusion of unnatural substances that carry into the human body.

    • Free Range: Legally, these turkeys have access to open spaces during their days in captivity. Supporting free range practices is the best way to fight commercially against birds living in floor-less mesh cages, not being able to move.
    • Organic: To be called “organic” in the United States, the animals were fed pesticide-free food, did not receive antibiotics, and had some degree of access to open spaces during their lives. Non-organic turkeys eat artificial foods to make them grow abnormally quickly, so their lives are much shorter than organic turkeys’. Shorter lifespans from artificial foods mean that the meat produced from those turkeys is not as healthy, since the birds’ metabolisms were in extreme conditions their whole lives.
    • Heritage: These turkeys have biological features that most closely reflect wild turkeys, which have been bred out of existence in most modern turkeys. Unlike all other industrial turkeys, heritage turkeys live full life cycles. Industrial turkeys are bred to maximize biomass in their breast, leading to cardiac, respiratory, mobility difficulties, as well as the structural inability to reproduce. Heritage turkeys retain full functionality of their bodies throughout their lives, and their meat is the most wholesome.

    There are, of course, a range of opinions, even among environmentalists, as to what quality of lifestyle a turkey should be guaranteed during its life. So, when shopping, the choice of what practices to reward is your own.

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