Sustainable Living & Sustainable Lifestyle

Going green this holiday can be easy when following these simple tips

Tips on How to Have an Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving

According to AAA’s press release, we are expecting a 4% increase in Thanksgiving travel vs. last year, meaning an estimated 42 million people will travel more than 50 miles this holiday.  Whether you are one of the road warriors or staying home you are likely one of the 88% of Americans that will eat Turkey today as well.  A common question we receive is “how can we have an eco-friendly Thanksgiving “and with all this travel, cooking, trash production and wasting of food it can be a challenge.  This year we wanted to share a few simple tips to help you go green this holiday.

Thanksgiving Travel Has a Significant Environmental Impact

Thanksgiving turkeyIf you are one of the 42 million that are expected to travel this holiday remember that flying is far better for the environment than driving.  Full flights are also the most environmentally friendly so while you are cramped in the middle seat fighting for armrest space, feel confident that you are doing your part for the environment.  For many, flying is not an option, thus we have a high number of road warriors out there trying to beat the traffic.  While carpooling and driving low emission vehicles are common sense approaches, don’t forget to check your tires to ensure they are properly inflated.  Tires which are under inflated cause a decrease in gas mileage and can reduce the lifespan of the tires.  Other eco-friendly options such as bus or train travel should be considered if they can fit within your plans.

Eco-Friendly Turkeys & Organic Food Choices

Sustainable living involves being aware of your impact of daily choices, including food consumption and production.  The great news for Thanksgiving is that in terms of environmental impact, the turkey is a better choice when compared to lamb or cow.  This is because when you review the life-cycle analysis it requires less fossil fuel to get that turkey on the table than a roast beef or lamb chops.

When choosing your turkey or other foods, going local can usually be the eco-friendly solution.  This is pretty straightforward because the food will have to travel fewer miles to reach your table, meaning less energy is being expended.  There are some exceptions here as the energy efficiency of a shorter trip to the table could be negated if the local operation is less efficient than their distant competitor.  For example, if a distant product travels by train it would have a lower carbon footprint than one that was shipped via a diesel truck.

Organic turkeys are popular choices among those choosing a sustainable lifestyle.  There is evidence that supports the theory that organic farming techniques increases food production over longer periods of time by maintaining water and soil quality.  These choices also reduce the amount of chemicals released into the land and our bodies when food is consumed.  The health benefits of organic food production is a plus as well, without hormones, antibiotics or other additives your family can feel a little more safe when enjoying dinner.

Smaller Portions Reduce Wasted Food

Americans on average throw out 25% of their food every year, a staggering statistic that highlights the wastefulness we are fighting.  The energy that goes into growing, shipping, packaging, cooking and even disposing of this food is simply wasted, a testament to our gluttonous society.  There is no magic to solving this problem, it is very simple, don’t waste food.  Cook fewer side dishes and fewer desserts or even bring friends and family over and share your cuisine.  Enjoy your leftovers as well, by wasting less food you will become more energy efficient.

Going green this Thanksgiving is not very difficult; it just comes down to making eco-friendly choices through the holiday.  By being cognizant of the impact your travels make to not throwing food out, you can reduce your carbon footprint and fill your belly.  We hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday and give thanks to those around you.

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