Have a Happy (and Green) Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude in our lives and, in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, this year’s holiday will likely hold special meaning as many of us give thanks for the simple things in life such as warmth, the helpfulness of our communities and the chance to connect with friends and family in our homes.

Thanksgiving is also a great time to give thanks for the amazing bounty of our world around us and to re-affirm our efforts to protect and sustain it. The Weill Cornell Medical College Sustainability Team wishes you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving and offers the following tips to keep Thanksgiving green!

Eat organic. Choosing organic foods means less water and air pollution as well as increased food safety for you. Organic farming reduces soil erosion and improves soil quality as well as protects farm workers from potential chemical exposure.

Support your local farmers’ market. Buy your Thanksgiving dinner ingredients at one of the many wonderful greenmarkets available in the city. Commercial food in the U.S. travels long distances to reach the grocery story. Food shipping uses large amounts of natural resources (especially fossil fuels), contributes greatly to pollution and creates excess packaging waste. Food at the farmers’ market is transported shorter distances and grown using methods that minimize the impact on the environment. 

Forgo turkey this year. Factory livestock farming is inhumane, unsafe for workers and responsible for the large percentage of greenhouse gas emissions. If turkey is a must at your Thanksgiving table, consider organic, free-range turkey and then participate in Meatless Monday – an international campaign to avoid meat consumption on Mondays to support personal health and the health of the planet.

Make the family dinner a zero waste event. Use glassware and silverware for the meal, recycle packaging where possible and add food scraps to your compost bin. If you don’t compost personally, many of the NYC greenmarkets collect food scraps for composting material for local farmers.

Drink tap water. The production of bottled water has a large carbon footprint, results in a high volume of waste and has potential negative health effects as chemicals in the bottle leach into the water. Consider a water filter on your tap and taste the freshness.

Enjoy the leftovers! Reduce waste by savoring the wonderful soups, casseroles and sandwiches that result from the many savory Thanksgiving dishes.

Have a wonderful holiday!

Sources:

http://civileats.com/2010/11/23/10-tips-for-a-sustainable-thanksgiving/

http://www.downtoearth.org/environment/organic-vs-conventional-farming/organic-food-good-you-and-environment

http://www.meatlessmonday.com/why-meatless/

Posted on 11/16/2012 in Green team, Recycling | Permalink

Contact Info

The content of this site is managed by the Sustainability Web Publishing Team.  If you have comments or suggestions please contact us via email using the links below.  If you are interested in volunteering to support the team, please contact Kristen directly.

Kristen Adams, Department of Anesthesiology

Dorysel Mora, Department of Neurology