Thursday, November 22, 2012

Seven Ways to Make Your Thanksgiving Greener

To help make this holiday greener a growing number of people are looking at better more ecologically sensitive alternatives. Thanksgiving takes a tremdous toll on the environment. Here are seven ways that people are enjoying the Thanksgiving Holiday while lessening their impacts on the Earth:

1) Reduce Food Waste: To help minimize waste create a detailed, organized plan to reduce waste and eliminate excess. Make what you need and no more. The Love Food Hate Waste organization, offers convenient tips for reducing food waste, they even provide a handy "Perfect portions" planner to calculate meal sizes for parties as well as everyday meals. Use leftovers by storing them safely. Make sure to compost all vegetable waste. Donate excess to food banks and shelters. To find a food bank near you, visit Feeding America's Food Bank Locator.

2) Choose a turkey that is organic (it has fewer synthetic chemicals which is good for the animal, your body, the land and the water). Find a turkey that is locally raised (for fewer transit-related emissions). Offset your turkey by saving another's life at Farm Sanctuary. You can also consider trying alternatives to turkey like Tofurky or other meat alternative. For ideas about how to plan a vegan or vegetarian Thanksgiving go to Gentle Thanksgiving.

3) Buy local: Reduce the impacts of transportation by using products from local sources. Localy produced goods support the area economy and require fewer environmental resources due to diminished transporation.

4) Reduce Non-Food Waste: Purchase reusable rather than disposable items and when buying gifts avoid excess product packaging and recycle as much as possible. Take reusable shopping bags with you when you shop. Make shopping lists and stick with them.

5) Go Natural. Look to nature for festive décor and avoid commercial décor and party supplies. You can make a beautiful cornucopia of a centerpiece from fallen pinecones, autumn leaves, and seasonal fruits and vegetables. As for the rest of the table, use a natural sourced fabric tablecloth, not a plastic one.

8) Greener travel: Minimize your carbon footprint with green travel planning that sources the most eco-friendly transportation option available. You can also consider offsetting your flight: TerraPass and Carbonfund are good services by which to do so. You can also consider carpooling. You can find shared rides at Zimride or on Craigslist. Look into public transit too like the train or bus. The best option for those traveling short distances is to bike or walk. The Alliance to Save Energy's Drive Smarter Challenge offers extensive money and emissions saving tips for travelers as well as everyday drivers.

7) E-cards: Where possible try to replace paper cards with electronic cards such as:,, or

Be sure to check out Sierra Club Holiday Survival Guide. In addition to recipes, green gift-giving tips, there is an interesting section on how to communicate environmentally conscious living to your family and friends.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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