With just over a month to go until Thanksgiving, there’s still time to make sure your celebrations are as animal and environment-friendly as possible! Here’s our tips to get you started!
1. Celebrate Thanksgiving at home
Thanksgiving may be a time for families to get together and it can be tempting to go away, but travelling, particularly by air, has huge environmental consequences, including producing air pollution that impacts animals in exactly the same way it does us, by damaging organs. Instead of travelling great distances, why not stay home and invite some close friends over? If you are travelling, look into public transport options or try carpooling.
2. Use natural decorations
Bring a little bit of nature inside this year rather than contributing to a wasteful society and buying plastic decorations from the shop. Pine cones, holly leaves and ferns all make great, natural, plastic-free decorations, and you can return or compost them when you take them down.
3. Have a meat-free Thanksgiving
Cutting meat out of your Thanksgiving meal is an obvious way of reducing your impact on animals and the environment – read our recent blog on plant-based eating here – but before you rush out and grab the nearest ‘tofurkey’ take a moment to do some meat-free recipe searching. There are so many tasty alternatives to meat that you could serve up instead. Try a wholesome nut-roast, a vegetable pie or test your culinary skills with some jackfruit ‘pulled pork’.
4. Aim for zero waste
Waste is a huge problem; we’re drowning in it and animals are eating and becoming tangled in it. Cutting down is a must and shopping with packaging in mind this Thanksgiving is a good place to start. For example, take your own bags and containers to the supermarket, shop at greengrocers that sell loose fruit and vegetables and cook rather than buying packaged convenience food; it’ll taste better too! If you’re planning on using disposable plates and cutlery, switch them out for the real deal, or find a 100% compostable alternative and check out our blog for more hints and tips.
5. Shop Locally and seasonally
Importing food takes energy and it’s more likely to come heavily packaged. Buying from small businesses such as greengrocers, bakeries and butchers this Thanksgiving will massively reduce your carbon footprint, especially if you prioritise in season, loose ingredients.
6. Skip a Side
As well as contributing massively to carbon emissions, food waste impacts animals and ecosystems, for example by attracting them into areas where they wouldn’t normally be in search of a quick snack – think seagulls and rubbish. Cut down food waste this Thanksgiving thinking about the amount of food you actually eat and cutting out a side or two.
7. Compost your scraps
Speaking of food waste, consider composting any scraps you do have. Fruits, vegetables, eggshells etc. are all great compostable material, and you can save money and use the nutrient-rich compost to grow your own produce in the future!
8. Think Reusable
If there’s still food leftover be sure to store it in reusable containers. Take your own container with you if you’re not hosting and if you are, encourage guests to bring their own! Some great alternatives to plastic wrap include beeswax wraps, glass jars, Tupperware’s or even just a cleaned out yoghurt pot! Get creative and say goodbye to cling film.
We consume over 46 million turkeys every Thanksgiving. Whether you decide to go meat-free or not, consider adopting a turkey through an organisation such as Farm Sanctuary; the turkeys will thank you for it!
10. Create a safe haven for your pets
Just because you love Thanksgiving, it doesn’t mean your dogs, cats and other animals do. Big events can be stressful for pets, particularly if there are a lot of extra people around or fireworks going off. Create a safe haven, make sure they have the food, water and comfort they need and keep any forbidden and harmful human treats out of reach. Read our blog about keeping animals safe during fireworks here.