Everyone working in the Office of Sustainability is extremely excited about Thanksgiving on Thursday. We are all especially thankful for the environment and the great job Volunteers have put into making orange green here at the University of Tennessee! If you want to keep up the hard work towards your sustainability efforts over Thanksgiving, never fear! I’m here to give you some tips for a more sustainable holiday.
First, learn what’s in season in your area. Thanksgiving was obviously originally a local, seasonal meal. From pumpkin to sage to apples – something is in season where you live.
Involve your entire family. Your family will be more likely to buy into the concept of local food if you include them. Plus, kids love learning where their food comes from, especially if it is a place nearby they can relate to.
You can’t have a proper Turkey Day with a turkey. There are lots of sustainable turkey options including heritage, pastured, or organic turkeys!
Next, you can save trees while you eat by using your real dishes and silverware instead of disposables. Fun fact: If every family in the US bough on less package of paper plates this year we could save almost half a million trees! Also, be sure you have plenty of reusable containers to store your leftovers in as opposed to throwing them away, or using Styrofoam.
Now, if you’re a college student like me, you might not be doing much of the cooking or planning for Thanksgiving. So, what can we do to be more sustainable? Well, last year alone, Americans were expected to spend around $533 million at the gas station to fuel their Thanksgiving trips. As you are driving over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house, try and maximize your fuel efficiency by making sure you tires are properly inflated, removing unneeded heavy items from your car, observing the speed limit, and using cruise control.
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving! We’ll look forward to seeing everyone back on campus!