Whether you are cooking a turkey, adopting a turkey, or skipping the turkey, here are a few tips for a greener Thanksgiving.
Can you believe that Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away? For a lot of folks, that means eating turkey until they pop. Americans eat over 45 million turkeys on Thanksgiving and most of those turkeys come from factory farms which are responsible for tons of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
The waste at Thanksgiving doesn't stop there. There are also the countless amounts of dishware and decorations, often of the disposable variety, all for a one-day event.
I know, what a downer, right? Don't despair! It's easy, fun, and totally delicious to lighten your Thanksgiving celebration's footprint without feeling like you sacrificed a thing.
For the Birds
I know that some folks might not be ready to do the meat-free thing quite yet, and that's alright. If you've got to have a turkey on the table, you can look into more eco-friendly options.
Luckily, there are lots of options now for folks looking to put a turkey on the table without the cruelty. Humanely-raised birds are sometimes on the pricier side, but you can even things out by buying a lighter bird and upping the side dish options. With enough tasty sides, no one will feel like they're missing out!
When you think about Thanksgiving, a big part of the picture is that cornucopia overflowing with Fall produce, right? The lovely winter squash, apples, potatoes, and leafy greens. You can have a hearty, satisfying, delicious Thanksgiving feast by focusing on seasonal produce.
Over at Healthy Happy Life, Kathy has some great suggestions for planning a vegan Thanksgiving . Need more inspiration? Jes at Cupcake Punk not only has a ton of Thanksgiving recipes, many of which are gluten free!
If you're into the fake meat, the Tofurkey roast is a Thanksgiving classic. I'm also a big fan of Celebration Field Roasts. If you're feeling like you want to wow your friends with some from-scratch cooking, check out Vegan Dad's seitan roast with wild rice and chestnut stuffing. I promise you that even your omni friends will be impressed!
Rather than disposable paper decorations, you can take advantage of Fall's bounty for your Thanksgiving decor! Cover your table with beautiful flowers, gourds, pine cones, and colorful field corn. Not only do you get the same festive feel, often for less money than disposable items, your decorations can go right into the compost bin when the festivities end. Of course, Martha Stewart is full of great, natural Fall decor ideas.
You might also opt for some handmade decorations. Rather than throw-away items that you replace each November, you can sit down at your sewing machine and create yourself an heirloom that you'll use at your family's table year after year! I just love some of these ideas from Craftster. I'm especially smitten with this quilted table runner. Wouldn't it be awesome to make something like this out of fabric pieces that meant a lot to you?
If you're looking for a smaller project, Betz White has a great tutorial up on making acorn napkin rings from felted, second hand sweaters.
When planning big, family affairs like Thanksgiving, the idea of washing all of those dishes at the end of the night might be a little daunting. If you're going to do the disposables thing, check out these awesome dishes made from fallen leaves. At the end of the night, you can toss these into the compost heap with the rest of your natural decorations!
Do you have any ideas to add a little green to the Thanksgiving table? Share away in the comments!