Thanks, Giving & Green

Seven Thanksgiving Tips & Thoughts About Black Friday

Thanksgiving-Nikki Zalewski

 

Prelude: Deep Thoughts from Mrs. Green – As global citizens, these are challenging and tumultuous times on many levels. For many people around the world, next Thursday will be just another day but not for us. Let’s join together in making this special day count. This Thanksgiving, I will be focusing on gratitude – for my family, my friends, clean water, a roof over my head, my health, warm clothes, food to eat, for being part of a community of people who care about the planet and the list goes on and on and on. On Thanksgiving, I will be giving thanks for you. I am grateful for you, for your emails, your shares on Facebook, your spreading the word, your sustaining memberships. My gratitude list is long and my feelings of gratitude for you is sincere and heartfelt. I invite you to join me in making this Thanksgiving count in ways that are intentional, filled with gratitude and reflective of a consciousness of caring about each other and about Mother Earth – the very source of life itself.

So on to those great tips! I really do believe that imitation is the highest form of flattery. Imagine my delight when I was directed to the Long Realty Green Resource Guide by Mrs. Green’s newest partner, Long Realty, and found these 7 Great Tips. The upcoming holidays can be a great opportunity to pump up the volume on creating more sustainable AND fun traditions. It is as simple as being the change you wish to see in the world and being willing to share those changes with family and friends. Read on…

7 GREEN Tips for Your Thanksgiving

As you’re gearing up for the holidays this year, there are many eco-friendly twists to consider without taking away from your favorite Thanksgiving traditions.

  1. Limit Your Carbon Footprint with Your Turkey Day
    Can a turkey dinner really help fight climate change? It can when it’s made using foods that have a low carbon footprint. Resources like the Cool Foods Campaign can help when deciding between a free range turkey, a Tofurkey alternate or a local heirloom turkey. Another helpful tip to stay mindful of while prepping your feast is that using fresh veggies instead of canned can be a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Commercial canning of vegetables uses 3 billion kWh of energy per year – enough to run 8,571,428 refrigerators for an entire year!
  2. Stock up on organic foods for dinner
    There is an organic option available for most traditional foods for Thanksgiving. Organic produce is grown without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, and organic turkeys are raised without antibiotics or growth hormones. While it might take time to accumulate your complete menu of organic substitutes, it is a great way to provide a much healthier and equally delicious Thanksgiving dinner.
  3. Invest in a roasting pan
    While disposable roasting pans are inexpensive, if everyone in the United States used a disposable roasting pan to cook their Thanksgiving turkey, there would be 46 million tinfoil pans heading to the landfill every year. Instead, invest in a heavy-duty roasting pan you can use every Thanksgiving and throughout the year.
  4. Get fancy with your dishware and silverware
    Mrs. Green note: Do you know anyone who actually LIKES eating turkey and gravy on a paper plate? Bring out the real dishes or start your holiday collection now by shopping at fun places like Goodwill and adding to your collection every holiday. Oh, the treasures you may find.
    Paper plates and napkins sound like a good thing when you’ve been slaving over a hot stove all day but their environmental impact is huge. The average American uses 2,200 two-ply paper napkins per year – which adds up to 662 billion napkins being added to the landfill on an annual basis. If you must use disposable napkins, use napkins made from unbleached recycled paper.
  5. Polish your silver without toxic cleaners
    Conventional silver polish contains harsh chemicals such as ammonia. Choose a silver polish made with natural ingredients to get your best silver to sparkle for Thanksgiving dinner. An eco-friendly alternative to this is to make your own. To clean a few small pieces of silver, use a dab of white toothpaste. Squeeze a drop of toothpaste on your finger and rub it onto the silver for instant polish. If you have a lot of silver to polish, boil a few strips of aluminum foil and two tablespoons of baking soda in a pan. Add your silverware and let it sit for a few minutes to remove the tarnish.
  6. Encourage your dinner guests to bring their own re-usable containers (this is one of my favorites!)
    Wondering how to package your leftover turkey and stuffing? Instead of sending your guests home with leftovers piled on paper plates, covered in plastic wrap, ask them to bring their own to-go containers. This minimizes the amount of wasted plastic wrap and plates immensely.
  7. Compost leftovers that don’t get eaten
    There are bound to be some leftovers that outlast your family’s desire for leftover turkey dinners, in addition to kitchen scraps like potato peels, stuffing stuck on dinner plates, and the cranberry sauce. Leftover potatoes, carrots, green bean casserole and cranberry sauce can be composted – but note that meat and dairy products should not be added to home compost piles or bins

Green Is The New Black (Friday)

Black Friday is truly a green conundrum for me. I know that the holiday season can be a make it or break it time for small businesses. I know that “buying stuff” creates jobs and can help contribute to a strong economy. That is a good thing. On the other hand, the holidays can cause stress, some people go deeper in debt and often times we are buying things without giving thought to where they were made, who might have been harmed in the making of them, where the waste is going from their packaging and what kind of carbon footprint did the manufacturing process leave. Yikes. But we can change all that. We can shop locally, we can re-gift and make that fun, we can shop resale instead of retail, and we can give the gift of time by making a meal or offering to babysit. We can gather a group to go paint Ben’s Bells or some other fun activity. We can buy services like massages – gifts that keep on giving. We can help make Green Friday the hashtag and movement that everyone is talking about and support a true local living economy AND food for the soul.