Green Tip: Green your Thanksgiving

Green Tips | November 8, 2017

With Thanksgiving around the corner, consumption is on everyone’s mind. The food, the drinks, the supplies–consumption will be at an all time high on November 23. It is predicted that each family in America will spend $50.11 on Thanksgiving dinner food alone and that the average American will eat 4,500 calories of food.

Even though Thanksgiving is a day of consuming, there are ways to limit your carbon footprint and environmental impact this Thanksgiving by adding these sustainable practices to your Holiday preparation.

Holiday Preparation:

Beginning with dinner preparation itself, be sure to consider the amount of guests you are serving before purchasing food to prevent food waste. Our friends at Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) found that 200 million pounds of turkey will be thrown away this Thanksgiving, contributing to the $282 million price tag on wasted food for the holiday. Some ways to prevent waste are to serve your guests portions that you pre-decide to limit the amount of scraps thrown way, use smaller plates so guests don’t overload them, cook less food, plan leftover meals,  and compost.

Supporting Local Food Markets:

Another way to care for the environment this Thanksgiving is to buy locally sourced food. By purchasing local food, you not only are getting fresher produce and higher quality food, you are also support local industries, and as a result, you are cutting back on the amount of fossil fuels used to ship food far distances.

Some thoughts on the Turkey

Choosing not to eat meat saves food, energy, and cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions, so consider eliminating some or all of the meat dishes at your Thanksgiving table. If you do serve turkey or other meats, consider your purchasing options:

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.
  • Heritage: These turkeys have biological features that most closely reflect wild turkeys, which have been bred out of existence in most modern turkeys.

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. For more information on turkeys, check out this blog post by our friends at Grace Communications Foundation.

Talk Environmental Issues:

While your last Thanksgiving may have created tense political discussions, most families have made amends and are ready to have civil, Thanksgiving dinner-talk this year. Consider bringing up environmental topics among family members and friends to teach others and learn from their ideas.

Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy your holidays and be thankful that progress is being made on environmental issues throughout the world!


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