With Thanksgiving coming up, it’s important to take a few minutes to think about how we can all be a little more environmentally friendly during the holidays. After all, this time of year is especially noted as a time of copious amounts of waste in western countries, with excess food and plastic wrappings being dumped at an amazing rate per day
Thanksgiving is obviously centered around one thing (other than family!): food. Thanksgiving has always been a great excuse to forget about calories and have at least one gluttonous day a year, but the reality is that it creates a lot of waste. Since my Canadian friends have already had their Thanksgiving, this specific post will be geared more toward readers from the US, but Canadians can pick up a trick or two for next year– or even Christmas.
This post is about food, but primarily about turkey. It’s the centerpiece to most Thanksgiving meals, and even a lot of Christmas ones. I personally love turkey, but I’ve never liked knowing how commercial turkeys are raised. When you buy a factory farmed turkey, it’s pumped full of hormones and over-bred so it produces an enormous breast. The problem is that their massive size makes quality of life miserable for these birds, and they generally just end up laying around in piles of their own feces before being slaughtered. Even the ones that are large enough to move rarely ever see daylight, spending their entire lives in a warehouse. With this in mind, a great way to have a more eco-friendly holiday season is to break yourself from that cycle
Instead of getting a factory turkey, look into heritage breed turkeys or even meatless turkeys. I’m a meat eater personally, but there are a few tofu turkey options out there that are both popular and made from sustainably grown soy. Tofurky is the leader in this, and they don’t use GMO soy for their tofu. However, if you’re a meat eater like me, you’ll have to find a heritage turkey breeder to get your turkey from. These breeders will generally put sign-up sheets at local grocery stores or health food stores, letting people sign their names up for a turkey. If you live in an area that doesn’t have a local breeder offering humanely grown turkey, then there are a few places online that sell them. Williams-Sonoma is popular for their turkeys, and they’ll ship it right to your front door. Keep in mind, though, that when frozen meat is being delivered it will always be left on your doorstep whether you’re home to accept it or not. So make sure you’re there to accept the delivery, or leave a note for a safe place that a carrier can stash it until you get home
I’m going to be doing a series on what we can all do to have a more eco-friendly holiday season. Some of these things can be fairly expensive, and it’ll be up to you to decide what you can swing and what you can’t. Hopefully, we’ll be able to find a bunch of things that everyone can afford, though.