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How Eco-Friendly Was Your Thanksgiving?

By way of wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving we thought we’d look around the web for the best suggestions on making your Thanksgiving more eco-friendly. Incorporating eco-friendly habits into our daily life is what it is all about and this can include feast days.

green-beans-thanksgivingMicaela Vega / CC BY-NC 2.0

We can still let our hair down. We can still eat special things and have a real party. In fact many tips involve making things instead of buying them. So there is plenty of opportunity for group activities.

Thanksgiving, giving thanks for an abundant harvest and preparing for the winter, should be a time for valuing what we have. There is a danger that, instead, we barely realize how much we take for granted. Unless, of course, the price changes. This year, with World food prices soaring, many people will be noticing price changes.

If you were a turkey farmer in the Midwest you would know what temperature changes can do to your business. You might be thinking about climate change and what should be done about it. What do you think about when you are paying 60% more for your turkey than you did 2 years ago? Drought? Demand for corn ethanol?

If you were a cranberry farmer in Wisconsin you might be thinking about temperatures too as you calculate your losses for the year. Mild winters have meant that berries have not frozen and have therefore required special treatment. An early spring followed by a return of the cold then damaged the crop and the bottom line.

Before I frighten you out of your party mood I will just say that you can read more on the subject at Mother Jones: This Is Your Thanksgiving on Climate Change.

Now, back to those tips.

A great article at the Daily Green gave us the option of keeping our feast within a 100 mile radius of home. Recipes from all around the country where no produce needs to travel more that 100 miles. How locally did you eat this Thanksgiving?

If you would like to try another time then will help you.

Local, ethically produced food was definitely the ‘in thing’ this year when it came to offering advice. Top chefs, top magazines and top blogs all wanted us to go the local route.  gave excellent advice on finding a well-bred, healthy and well looked after turkey.

thanksgiving-turkeyInspireFate Photography / CC BY 2.0

Using what is in your yard or in the fields around you to create beautiful, homemade decorations was another popular suggestion. Great for family activities and if you were able to turn the TV off and cut down on some energy use while you were doing it, so much the better.

Reduce, reuse and recycle was high on everyone’s list but that is no surprise.

An interesting thought from the Kansas City Star reminded us to remove unnecessary weight from the trunk and check tyre pressures to maximize fuel efficiency if your Thanksgiving involved a long journey.

We were also advised, if possible, to celebrate at home as a way of reducing emissions during this busy time on the roads. Not sure that one takes into account the complexities of the modern family! Sharing cars where possible, however, is a suggestion which makes sense from just about every point of view. says plant a tree!  Yep it’s always a good one if you have somewhere to plant it. How about a neighborhood tree planting party some year for a change?

thanksgiving-decorationsalasam / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A simple reminder to use Thanksgiving to ‘say thank you’ got me. If we are remembering to be thankful and thinking about what we have to be thankful for, it seems to me we are less likely to exploit what we have.

Sara Novak at howstuffworks points us in the direction of games and activities that don’t involve electronic gadgets or burning fossil fuels. Playing games like flag football or kick the can. Running in a turkey trot race.

I noticed a comment on one blog which reminded me how things used to be. If you are buying decorations, buy something really special and then keep it. Use it year after year and let the memories grow. That’s how this lady put it. Still using a baking tray that her grandmother used.

There were no great surprises out there as I looked around for what is being said about how to have a more eco-friendly Thanksgiving. It has been a reminder though, of what is important about feasts and celebrations. Getting together and doing things together. We do seem to be in ‘the old ways were best’ territory here. Finding local food, cooking together, preparing together. With a little care and reference to the mantra of reduce, reuse, recycle it seems to lead naturally to more eco-friendly habits.

Here’s wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving and please support green businesses on black Friday!

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