How to Have a Green Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is an American holiday loaded with tradition. This year, start a new tradition in your family by making Thanksgiving an eco-friendly celebration from start to finish.
Here are 7 tips to help capture the spirit of the original Thanksgiving & make your holiday celebration eco-friendly. Enrich your family’s holiday experience by reducing your impact on the environment – something everyone can be thankful for.
1. Start with the three R’s of conservation – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reduce the amount of waste you produce – buy only as much as you need and if possible, choose products that come in packaging that can be recycled.
Bring reusable bags when you do your shopping, and use cloth napkins that can be washed and used again.
Recycle all paper, plastic, glass and aluminum containers. If you don’t already have a compost bin, use your Thanksgiving fruit and vegetable trimmings to start one. The compost will enrich the soil in your garden next spring.
2. Buy and Eat Locally Grown Food
Locally grown food is good for your table, health, and the environment. Locally grown food also tastes better than food grown and packaged for maximum shelf life, and requires less fuel to reach store shelves.
3. Make Your Meal Organic
Organic fruits, vegetables, and grains are grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers; organic meat is produced without antibiotics and artificial hormones. The result is food that is better for your health and good for the environment. Organic farming also produces higher yields, increases soil fertility, prevents erosion, and is more cost-effective for farmers.
4. Celebrate at Home
Thanksgiving weekend is one of heaviest for highway travel in the U.S. This year, reduce global warming and improve air quality by lowering your auto emissions at the same time that you lower your family’s stress level. Skip the stressful holiday travel and celebrate an eco-friendly Thanksgiving close to home.
5. Travel Smart
Use less fuel and lower your emissions – make sure your car is in good working order and your tires are properly inflated. If possible, carpool to reduce the number of cars on the road and lower the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to air pollution and global warming.
6. Invite the Neighbors
The original Thanksgiving was a neighborly affair. Inviting your neighbors to share your eco-friendly Thanksgiving as an opportunity to say thank you, and also to reduce auto emissions by keeping more people off the road or ensuring shorter trips.
7. Make Your Own Eco-Friendly Decorations
With a few simple supplies and a little imagination, you can have fun and make great eco-friendly Thanksgiving decorations. Colored construction paper can be cut or folded into simple Pilgrim, turkey and harvest decorations. Later, the paper can be recycled.
Baker’s clay, made from common kitchen ingredients, can be shaped and molded into holiday figures and colored with non-toxic paints or food coloring..
How to Have a Green – And Cheap – Halloween
by Diane MacEachern
1. Reuse Costumes –
Tap into the treasures hidden in storage to pull together a great no-cost costume. Trade costumes with friends, family, or buy one second hand. Use your imagination and have fun!
2. Have a Halloween Party
Fill bowls with candy or snacks rather than serve up individual throwaway treat bags. Serve popcorn, hummus and pita chips, carrots and dips, fresh apple cider, bat-shaped cookies and muffins. FUN activities include: Painting pumpkins, decorating cupcakes, reading scary stories, bobbing for apples, and going on flashlight hunts in the yard after dark for hidden Halloween surprises. Send evite invitations to avoid wasting paper and postage.
3. Decorate with Nature
A trip to your yard or the farmers market will provide everything you need to dress up your house for Halloween: leaves and branches, hay bales, gourds, pumpkins, or dried flowers.
4. Light up the Night
If you string lights use strands of LEDs. They use much less energy than conventional holiday twinklers. Illuminate carved pumpkins with candles from beeswax or soy. Decorate windows and glass door panes with these beautiful non-toxic window paints from Hearthsong. If kids need flashlights to get around in the dark, try the BOGO light recharged with solar energy.
5. Let the kids Decorate
Have your kids or friends help make hand print spiders for the walls and windows. Upcycle egg cartons into bats. Carve and paint pumpkins.
6. Try a New Bag
The best option for candy collectors is a pillowcase, or a reusable shopping bag with handles. But if you need something new, try the reusable Chico Halloween Bag. Kids will love its spooky design. You’ll love that it only costs $5.
7. Save for Next Year
When Halloween is over, pack up costumes, treat bags, lights, and decorations in one big box or bag. Store everything in an easy-to-find place so next year, you don’t have to start completely from scratch.
Tips for a Green Valentine’s Day
There are so many ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day that are not only fun, but clean and green.
Buy organic flowers – With so many lovely organic flower choices nowadays, it’s seriously a crime to buy conventional. Organic flowers are grown under safer conditions for both humans and the planet, and don’t have icky chemicals. All you want to smell is that lovely rose scent.
Make your own Valentine’s Day cards out of recycled materials you have laying around the house. Collage cards are especially cool (and vintage looking) and allow you to use up bits and pieces of stuff. If you must go with new Valentine’s Day cards, choose cards made with recycled and eco-friendly materials.
When choosing decor, pick items that are sustainable and recyclable. Such as recycled paper decor or wool decor. Soon, in an upcoming post, I’ll bring in some specific decor ideas (I’ve got some cute ones!).
For your party use real dishes and cloth napkins. It’s gentler on the earth than disposables. If you go the disposable route choose recycled or sustainable materials made with soy inks and non-toxic coatings. Two good choices include, Amy Butler tableware or Bamboo.
Look for organic and fair trade Valentine’s Day goodies. Chocolates, lollypops, cupcakes, cookies, punch, wine, and more are all available in nice earth-friendly versions.
If you’re looking to spread some romance (more than fun) light candles, just make sure they’re organic soy or beeswax.