Thanksgiving is supposed to be the time of year where we give thanks for the things we have; much of which is provided to us by mother nature. Let us show her how thankful we truly are by greening up our Thanksgiving!
Here are a few ways to have a cleaner and greener Thanksgiving:
1) Natural Decorations: This Thanksgiving let nature be your inspiration for decorations. Beautifully colored gourds, pumpkins, squash and maize are in season and widely available. These are great alternatives to those cheesy store bought decorations. Pinecones and the colorful fallen leaves are other natural and pocket-friendly props you can incorporate in your holiday decorations. Try lighting beeswax or soy candles for some mood lighting.
2) Plan ahead: By making an extensive list of everything that you need to prepare your holiday meal you can avoid taking multiple trips to the store; saving yourself both time and gas.
3) Buy Local and Organic: Organic food is not only healthier for you but it also reduces the amount of harmful chemicals that are released into the environment. What’s even better than buying organic food is buying organic food that is grown locally! You can buy most of your holiday meal ingredients from your local farmer’s market or nearby family farm. Localharvest.org can help in your quest to buy locally grown produce! Try to choose recipes which require locally grown, as oppose to imported ingredients.
4) The table: Try to avoid using one-time use items including plates, napkins and utensils. Using actual silverware, dish-ware and cloth napkins will definitely class-up the dinner table! Remember that running a full dishwasher conserves more water than hand washing. If it is absolutely necessary to use disposables, make sure they are eco-friendly and biodegradable. Wooden plates and utensils are now widely available and a much greener option than their plastic counterparts.
5) The Meal: Not all turkeys are raised equally! Buying a heritage turkey is both a tastier and healthier option. If, however, this option is not available to you, you can opt to get an organic or sustainably raised turkey or chicken. This will ensure that the birds have had access to the outdoors and are antibiotic-free/hormone-free.
Another option is to forget the birds all together and go vegetarian. There are so many yummy meat-free holiday recipes.
6) Left-overs: DO NOT THROW THESE OUT! Remember Thanksgiving is a holiday that reminds us to be mindful and thankful for what we have. If you’re invited to someone’s house for dinner remember to BYORC, bring your own reusable container. Also don’t forget that by letting your food cool down before putting it in the fridge you are saving energy and money.
7) After the meal: Don’t be a couch potato! Put down the remote and actually spend some quality time with your friends and family. Here’s a novel idea: instead of sitting on the couch watching football try getting some exercise by playing the game OUTSIDE! In the fresh air!