Thanks for Your Sustainable Thanks

Do you know what happened in the year 1621? If you guessed the First Thanksgiving, you would be correct! 1621 was witness to a successful harvest season for our pilgrim friends (finally!), and their Gourdswanting to thank their Native American contemporaries who had so graciously taught them how to manage the land and its yields. Today, close to 400 years since, Thanksgiving is still a time to be with family and friends and give thanks for all the good things we have in life. Something to think about this holiday season is how important the earth is to each of us. The oxygen we breathe, the water we drink, the sunshine we need to stay healthy, the snow we ski in, the mountains we hike in, the soil we garden with; all are a valuable part of the earth that we should stop and give thanks for. And what better way to give thanks to the earth this Thanksgiving than by making our Thanksgiving dinners more eco-friendly?! In honor of the earth and in the spirit of thankfulness, I have composed a list of things you can do to say ‘thank you!’ to the environment this holiday season.

First of all, consider buying an organic, free range turkey. Not only are you ensuring that your turkey had a lovely little life outside of a cage, enjoying organic food, but you are also making an investment in the environment: organic farming practices are way less harmful to the earth than standard bird farms. You might even try to buy your organic turkey from a local farmer, thereby purchasing a great tasting, healthy bird for your table, and also racking up the good karma points by supporting local business.

Secondly, and on the same note, why not buy your green beans, pumpkins, cranberries, and sweet potatoes from a farmer’s market? Not only will you be supporting your local food producers, you’ll also be saving fuel and carbon emissions caused by shipping. Can it get better?

Third, if you are having a large gathering over for the holidays and are dreading doing dishes, consider buying compostable disposable plates and cups, instead of Styrofoam and plastic tableware.

These are just a few ideas to get you started on your eco-friendly Thanksgiving dinner. Remember to say ‘thank you!’ to the earth and all the good things that come with it this season, and have a wonderful and safe break!

And finally, because I am an anthropology major and a total nerd, here’s a small list of food typically eaten at this time of year that was domesticated in the Americas: turkey, chocolate, squash, and maize. If you’re eating any of these things over the holidays, think of the Neolithic people domesticating them thousands of years ago, and be sure to thank them too.J

~ Anna Crona