Quantcast

Sierra Magazine: Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.
The Green Life: 5 Tips for a Low-Carbon Thanksgiving

« Big Ideas: Building a Food Desert Oasis | Main | Q&A: Clothiers' Kickstarter for 3D Printer »

November 21, 2013

5 Tips for a Low-Carbon Thanksgiving

Plate of Thanksgiving foodsMost of us are aware of that Thanksgiving can take a toll. Between the hours spent cooking and decorating, then arguing with your crazy uncle about politics, and pretending to like your little sister's new boyfriend, it can be an exhausting holiday. For many, the meal makes it worth the stress. But don't take too much comfort in your holiday feast. A University of Manchester study has shown that the dinner itself has a significant impact on the environment. The report finds that a turkey-n-trimmings feast for eight produces approximately 44 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, 60% from the life cycle of the turkey alone. Here are a few tips for reducing the carbon footprint of your favorite dishes, and keeping your Thanksgiving meal green: 

1. Shop Local: Thanksgiving is a seasonal meal, which means you should find all of the fruits and veggies you need at your local farmer's market. The farm-fresh goods should be pretty guilt-free purchases, as they've traveled little and bypassed refrigeration and storage. The trip may mean planning slightly further ahead than is convenient, but it'll be worth the fresh flavor added to the meal. 

2. Buy Ingredients, Not Dishes: The Center for Food Safety recommends skipping pre-packaged and processed foods in favor of side dishes made from scratch with fresh, bulk ingredients. While more time consuming, this extra step eliminates or reduces the need for machinery and packaging, which have significant climate impacts. 

3. Eat Your Veggies: Since your turkey probably takes the most energy to produce, consider either going meatless or serving a smaller bird and increasing the number of side dishes you serve. You might also reduce the impact on your waistband and wallet as an added bonus.

4. Cook Just Enough: Thanksgiving has earned a reputation for excess. Most of us take our seat at the table planning to eat 'til it hurts, followed closely by a tryptophan-induced nap. But this expectation of overindulgence usually results in a lot of leftovers, and a lot of good food wasted. Make your food miles count by buying just enough to feed everyone comfortably, or inviting others to join in the feast. 

5. Consider Your Turkey Purchase: Avoid factory-farmed poultry and instead seek out a local, heritage, or organic bird. Localharvest has great tools for finding turkey farmers in your area, and learning more about heritage breeds

— Image via iStockphoto/MentalArt

 

Headshot_Julie_BlogJulie Eng is an editorial intern at Sierra. She studied literature and anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and wrote for several publications before joining the Sierra team

 


READ MORE:

Green Your Thanksgiving: Get There Responsibly

Thanksgiving Centerpiece: DIY Candle Holders

Thanksgiving Recipe: Turkey Soup

Bonus: The Sierra Club's Holiday Survival Guide

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b96069e2019b0109f215970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference 5 Tips for a Low-Carbon Thanksgiving:

User comments or postings reflect the opinions of the responsible contributor only, and do not reflect the viewpoint of the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any posting. The Sierra Club accepts no obligation to review every posting, but reserves the right (but not the obligation) to delete postings that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate.

Up to Top


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...