I don’t mean to be a Thanksgiving party pooper, but after doing some research on the huge carbon footprint of this favorite family holiday, I thought I’d share some food for thought. (Vegetarian, in my case!)
Consider how far the food you purchase for your meal had to travel to reach your plate, how you cook the meal (whether or not your electricity is generated by renewable sources), and the distance you have to travel to visit family or friends. These factors all play a part in your holiday’s overall carbon footprint.
While you may not be able to do much immediately to change how you cook your Thanksgiving feast, you can lower your impact by buying as much locally produced food (the turkey and all the trimmings) as possible. Thanksgiving is the biggest travel day of the year, which means that billions of pounds of carbon dioxide get emitted over the weekend annually. If you do plan to travel for the holiday, consider taking a train if at all possible, rather than driving or flying. Or, since air travel emits huge amounts of carbon and we all need to change our habits and routines due to the climate emergency, consider only traveling every other year to visit those relatives in Florida or California. And if you’re looking for a reason to avoid attending Thanksgiving this year, you can cite your concern for the environment as your excuse!