Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Here are several tips to help you plan a greener holiday, whether at home or at your parish’s community feast:
1. Use reusable dishes and napkins: Avoid the waste of paper or plastic plates, cups, and silverware. If Thanksgiving isn’t a festive enough day for the good china or cloth napkins, what is? Perhaps cleaning the dishes as a family can even become a new tradition!
2. Three ways to use less energy: Put dishes that need the same temperature into the oven at the same time, cook less by letting ingredients like butter warm up to room temperature first, and turn down the heat 2-4 degrees since the cooking and guests will warm things up.
3. Reduce food waste by using smaller plates: It’s better to take smaller portions and go back for more than to take too much and throw some of it away. This is especially true for the kids’ table!
4. Shop local and organic: According to Sustainability at Harvard, “There are significant benefits of using local and organic foods, and free range and naturally fed animals taste better. While a lot of these choices may seem cost-prohibitive, buying even one or two items locally and/or organically grown can make a difference.”
5. Use natural decorations: Plastic fall decorations at the store may be beautiful, but they’re made of petroleum and needed fossil fuels for shipping. Use berries, boughs, pinecones, acorns, or leaves from your neighborhood to fill jars and vases – you can even get the family outside together to gather them! Also use soy or vegetable-wax candles.
6. Eat less meat: Roughly 20% of greenhouse gases come from livestock. We’re not going to tell you to not to serve turkey, but perhaps there are ways to at least reduce our meat consumption. Does that green-bean casserole really need bacon in it?
7. Remember to give thanks for God’s earth, which gave us everything in this wonderful meal and even gave us our loved ones, themselves a part of creation.