5 Easy Ways to Thank Mother Nature this Thanksgiving
The holidays are nearly here; it's unbeleafable!
The holidays are a joyous time spent with family, friends, and loved ones chock full good company and of course, good food. That’s right, it’s during the holidays that we know we’re going home to your parents’ home-cooked meals that are simply too delicious to pass up on just one serving (It’s not my fault that my mom makes the best apple pie. And stuffing. And mashed potatoes. And biscuits. And turkey.).
While we inevitably indulge on all of the tasty treats that Thanksgiving brings, how much of this autumn feast is actually gobbled up?
Did you know in 2013 it was reported that $277 million worth of turkey was thrown away over the Thanksgiving holiday?
This equates to nearly 204 million POUNDS of turkey. In other words, this can feed more than 40 4-ounce servings of turkey to every American household that is “food insecure” and lacking accessibility to sufficient quantities of affordable, nutritious food, according to the USDA.
To put this into perspective, Feeding America stated that, “42.2 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 29.1 million adults and 13.1 million children,” in 2015.
Have no fear!
The GREEN Team is here to help! So are the Sustainable Development Goals. Goal #2 is aimed at ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture. While Agenda 2030 is nearly 15 years from now, there’s no better time to get started on working toward accomplishing these goals than now!
Here are a few easy ways to keep the environment in mind this Thanksgiving & holiday season.They’re easy as (pumpkin) pie!
Feast with Moderation
Often times, our eyes are too big for our stomachs. In order to avoid this phenomena and keep your turkey waste to a minimum, try purchasing a smaller turkey or a portion of one. Turkeys can range in size from 3 to 30 pounds! While turkey is a staple of the traditional Thanksgiving meal, let’s not forget about all of the delicious sides that come with this November feast, too!
Ditch the Disposable
While we can’t deny the convenience of disposable dish ware, we also can’t ignore the negative impacts of plastic, disposable cutlery & plates on the environment.
Did you know that In Styrofoam and Styrofoam products fill up 30 percent of our landfill space? In fact, a Recycling Revolution reports that packaging material makes up one-third of an average dump!
If disposable items are a must, there are environmentally-friendly options out there! Recyclable materials such as paper, recycled paper, and other biodegradable & compostable materials such as sugar cane or bamboo.
Get the biggest bang for your pluck: Leftovers
Leftovers are a great way to keep the holidays going while reducing your food waste. From turkey pot pie to pretzel mashed potato bites to Thanksgiving pizza (I repeat, Thanksgiving PIZZA), the possibilities are endless. Here is a full list of mouthwatering options to get those scrumptious juices flowing.
Give thanks & give back: Donation
Countless food drives, food banks, and other organizations across the US are dedicated to helping take action against food waste and hunger. Whether you’re interested in donating your time or leftovers themselves, there are many creative ways to get involved in your community.
In fact, food donation is hitting the streets, Uber-style! Food Connect, a Philadelphia-based organization is helping bridge this gap between food surplus and hunger. “Instead of throwing away surplus food, you can schedule the food to be picked up right from your phone,” according to the company’s website. From here, food is then brought to and donated to local shelters; it’s that easy!
Follow this link for a directory of nationwide food pantries and opportunities to get involved in your home-state brought to you by FoodPantries.org.
Hut, hut, hike!
Let’s be honest, the Thanksgiving holiday would not be complete without a game of touch football, a local hike, or capture the flag. Take a break from the kitchen and get outside to enjoy the fresh air with your family and loved ones. In fact, here are some great ways to #OptOutside with the whole squad to enjoy the Autumn’s beauty!