Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Have a Great...and Green...Thanksgiving!!

Yes...this is a wedding blog....but it is also titled "Savvy!" Therefore, every now and then you will see me post tips to savvy-up your life. I thought this list would be fitting for this Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season. Let us all challenge ourselves to tread as lightly as possible on the earth this season, shall we?

10 Tips to "Green" Your Thanksgiving and Holiday Season
Practical advice to make your holiday festive and green

1. When you buy organic you are ensuring the food on your table was grown without toxic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and antibiotics. When choosing a turkey, look for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) organic seal. It guarantees that a turkey was not fed antibiotics, which helps ensure those same drugs still work for humans. Also look for organic apples, celery, potatoes and green beans because these holiday favorites are among the fruits and vegetables that typically carry the highest pesticide residues.

2. Buy locally grown produce and meats from local farmer's markets. Food travels an average of 1,500 miles or more by train or truck from the farm to the supermarket. Trains and trucks emit air pollutants and heat-trapping carbon dioxide. Regionally grown meat and produce not only travel a shorter distance to your table and arrive fresher, but they may also come from mid-sized, pasture operations that often follow more environmentally friendly practices. To find local farmers and farmers markets near you, go to http://www.eatwellguide.org/.

3. Search for more genetically diverse meats and produce. Today's large-scale farms unfortunately focus on only a select few varieties of livestock and crops. For example, of the more than 250 million turkeys sold in the United States each year, 99 percent are the Broad-Breasted White variety. Many chefs and consumers, however, are finding that more unusual varieties, such as American Bronze turkeys, taste a lot better. Likewise, heirloom fingerling potatoes generally taste better than russet potatoes. Choosing such "heritage" varieties promotes biodiversity and ensures a reliable food supply for future generations.

4. Consider a meatless main dish. With the price of food substantially higher than last year, you can save money on groceries by skipping or reducing the amount of meat, often the heftiest part of the bill. By going vegetarian, you also will be helping the planet. Meat production generally depletes environmental resources more than other food production.
It's All in the Details

5. When entertaining, skip paper invitations and either call or send an email invitation to your guests. If printed invitations are a must, save paper by sending the information on a postcard or folded sheet of paper instead of in an envelope. For dinner, use reusable, washable dinnerware instead of disposable paper plates and cups.

6. Encourage guests to carpool or take public transportation to Thanksgiving festivities. If you have guests flying in for the holiday, suggest arrival times so you can reduce the number of trips you have to make to the airport. Urge them to take a direct flight, which uses less fuel than trips with two or three layovers. Better yet, tell them to take a motor coach or a train instead of flying.
After the Turkey, Deck the Halls!

7. Once the Thanksgiving celebration is over and the decorations come out, consider switching to energy efficient lighting for trees and outdoor displays to save money and protect the environment. Traditional holiday lights generate as much global warming pollution as about 250,000 cars annually, according to UCS research. So opt for LED (light-emitting diode) holiday lights, which use semiconductor technology to convert electricity into light directly, resulting in significant energy savings.

8. Get crafty with holiday decorations. Make your windows or dinner table more festive by creating decorations from recycled wrapping and tissue paper (For instructions, go to: www.marthastewart.com/article/pom-poms-and-luminarias). For a whimsical table centerpiece, try growing your own wheatgrass in a shallow container (For instructions, go to: http://www.gardenguides.com/how-to/tipstechniques/herbs/wheatgrass.asp). A vase with a display of organic flowers or interesting rocks is another low-budget, earth-friendly centerpiece idea. Instead of traditional Christmas wreaths, opt for an organic one made of mossy twigs, leaves, grasses or lavender.
Give Green Gifts!

9. Challenge yourself this year to purchase products made from organic or recycled materials wrapped in minimal, recyclable packaging. Look for gifts that are long-lasting and durable or that can be given to someone else when the recipient has finished using it.

10. Buy the most efficient electronic gadgets. Electronics with the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star label use significantly less energy than conventional models. Energy Star-rated power adapters and battery chargers also are available. Also look for models that come with a rechargeable battery. If the gadget on your shopping list comes only with conventional alkaline batteries, replace them with rechargeable batteries and include a battery charger with the gift.
(list courtesy of http://www.ucsusa.org/)

See ya next week!

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