10 Tips for a Sustainable Friendsgiving
By Andrea Spacht Collins
It's been a big year for me: new name, new address, renewed sense of purpose about the need to tackle climate change now. As the holiday season approaches, I'm reminded that I couldn't have done any of these things on my own. I have a powerful community of friends who have supported me. And I can't wait to honor and celebrate them over Friendsgiving dinner this year.
While Thanksgiving gets the most attention, this 21st century holiday is a wonderful way to connect with your chosen family too. Unfortunately, big feasts like this often result in a lot of food going to waste. Nobody wants to be wasteful. It generally happens because we want to show we care by filling our guests' stomachs — or because we're unsure how much to cook for a big group.
But when good food goes to waste, so does everything it takes to get it to our plates. Each year, about 200 million pounds of turkey meat are thrown out over the Thanksgiving holiday. It takes a lot of resources to produce that meat. The greenhouse gas emissions from a pound of wasted turkey meat are equivalent to those of burning a half gallon of gasoline. And producing that pound of turkey meat used up 520 gallons of water; you could run your shower for 75 minutes with that much water.
It doesn't have to be this way. As scientists continued to sound the alarm on climate change this year, this Friendsgiving is an opportunity for us to celebrate in a way that invests in each other's future.
Here are my top 10 tips for a more sustainable celebration that is just as delicious, festive and Instagram-worthy as ever:
1. Plan Your Portions
Figure out just how much you need to prepare for your party by using the Natural Resources Defense Council's free digital portion planner, The Guest-imator. You tell it how many people you are hosting, what kind of eaters they are, what you are serving and how much you want leftover, and it tells you how much to prepare.
2. Start Small
Serve dinner on salad plates. Especially if your guests tend to have a lot left on their plate at the end of the meal, start with a smaller plate so that when they pile it up, it's more closely aligned with what their tummies can handle. If anyone is still hungry after the first pass, they can always go back for seconds.
3. Pardon a Turkey
If you're willing to make your own traditions you can save a bit of cash and a lot of climate pollution by prepping a vegetarian main course instead of the bird. That's because meat has an outsized climate footprint, so wasting it especially harmful for the planet. Skipping the meat can also help keep our lifesaving antibiotics working when sick people need them. In fact, turkeys are given antibiotics more intensively than other food animals in the U.S. — a problem that is fueling the growing epidemic of drug-resistant infections in humans. A beautiful stuffed squash can be an eye-catching main dish without the added climate guilt or risk of Salmonella superbugs.
4. Keep the Peel
Since you're already planning a crazy amount of side dishes, save yourself some time and don't bother to peel your veggies. Just give them a good wash and embrace the rustic look.
5. Pickle It
In recent years, gut health has become a core (pun intended!) facet of a healthy diet. Fermented foods like pickles are great for your digestive system, and also happen to be a good way to preserve surplus produce. In the weeks before the party, consider pickling veggies — from cauliflower to onions and carrots — that you aren't going to get to before they spoil, and serving mixed veggie pickles as part of your appetizer board.
6. Salvage a Cooking Crisis
Burned the stuffing? Over-salted the gravy? Potatoes too bland? There's a fix for that so you don't have to toss it!
7. Savor Your Scraps
Give surplus ingredients from your core recipes new life — whether as a new addition to the Friendsgiving feast, or in the week to follow. Leftover pumpkin puree? Mix it up into a pumpkin spice cocktail. Extra fruit and opened bottles of wine? Make sangria. Too many potatoes? Make donuts.
8. Love Your Leftovers
For those dishes so good that less than a single serving is left behind (like my famous green bean casserole!), incorporate them into a frittata, soup or pasta for Tuesday when you'll no longer have energy to cook something fresh.
9. BYO Doggie Bag
Tell your guests to bring a to-go container to share the leftover love.
10. Just Freeze It
The freezer is a magic pause button for food — and almost anything can be frozen. If you don't eat it within a couple days after the feast, freeze it, label it and you'll be excited to have a pre-made option in a couple weeks when you need it!
So pull up a chair, give thanks for all that's good, enlist your friends in the fight to prevent food waste and build a better future for the people you love.
In a dramatic rescue captured on camera, a Florida man ran into a pond and pried open an alligator's mouth in order to rescue his beloved puppy, all without dropping his cigar.
- 'He had green eyes': Florida man will paint alligator that attacked him ›
- Florida alligator attack: A woman was attacked by a 10-foot alligator ... ›
- Weird presidential pets include alligator, tiger cub, dog named Satan ... ›
- Alligators make terrible pets: 'You're basically dealing with a dinosaur.' ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.
When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."
Mounting Piles of Waste<p>It is not only the streets of Chatellerault where pandemic pollution is piling-up, but also the world's beaches and oceans. Once there, they can take up to 450 years to degrade and disappear.</p><p>Esther Röling, co-organizer of the annual Adventure Clean Up Challenge held on Hong Kong Island, has seen this waste firsthand. In October the sports challenge pitted teams against one another in a competition to remove trash from 13 hard-to-reach coastal areas around the city.</p><p>They find tons of both disposable and reusable masks, said Röling. "You wonder how it ended up there. Was it just thrown on the ground? Or was it in a garbage bag that broke open?"</p><p>Almost 10,000 kilometers away in Antibes on the sunny French Riviera, it's a similar picture. For the past few months, divers and clean-up volunteers working with an ocean clean-up non-profit called Operation Mer Propre have been collecting an increasing number of masks found on land and in the sea.</p><p>"Since the beginning of the lockdown when we started to count, we've reached 800, 900, [and now in total] 1000 masks," said co-founder Joko Peltier. </p><p>According to <a href="https://unctad.org/news/growing-plastic-pollution-wake-covid-19-how-trade-policy-can-help" target="_blank">UN estimates</a>, up to 75% of all coronavirus-related plastic could end up as waste in oceans and landfills.</p>
The Limits of Recycling<p>Yet not all are convinced the recycling of this waste is possible on a global scale. </p><p>"What those citizen groups are doing is really beneficial but once they collect it, it should just go to a landfill or an incinerator. They shouldn't necessarily expect it to get recycled," said Jonathan Krones, an industrial ecologist and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Boston College.</p><p>That's because mask recycling programs like Plaxtil are few and far between and most don't have the benefit of a readily adaptable production process. </p><p>Even in countries with solid recycling infrastructure, he says, the system is designed to separate out specific types of waste like bottles or cardboard.</p><p>"I imagine that it would be technically feasible to develop a separation process to filter out masks, but there simply aren't enough of them to make that economical," he said.</p><p>Collection is a big hurdle, he adds. Since each mask only weighs a fraction of a gram and they're scattered on roads or mixed with other trash, it is difficult and costly. </p><p>"You need a lot of raw material of the right quality to make investing in the recycling technology and the recycling system worthwhile," he said.<span></span><br></p>
Hemp, Sugar Cane and Sustainable Alternatives<p>Some projects are instead addressing the material used to make masks.</p><p>French company Geochanvre have created a mask made primarily from hemp, while in Australia, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are experimenting with a disposable product made from agricultural waste. </p><p>Biodegradable options are exciting alternatives to reduce the fossil fuels needed for the creation of plastic-based masks, said Krones, but they don't absolve the wearer from the responsibility of what happens afterwards. </p><p>Bio-based masks often need their own composing solutions, he explains, because in landfill they can produce high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane when anaerobic bacteria feeds on the organic material. Methane is known to be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.</p><p>"I think as long as we have in our mind that we want to have disposability, we're going to have to wrestle with a variety of different sorts of environmental tradeoffs," he said, adding that reusable, fabric masks are the best option available to most people.</p><p>Precimask is developing a clear face covering with an optional visor made from hard plastic, designed to be long-lasting.<br></p><p>Air enters either side of the cheeks through a technology normally found in pool filters and car exhaust systems, said company spokeswoman Juliette Chambet.</p><p>"We wanted to make ceramic-based filters that would be washable and cleanable, which would allow them to be reused as many times as desired without having to buy a new consumable or produce waste," she said. </p><p>Ultimately, encouraging mask wearers to think about the entire lifecycle of a mask is key, explains Neveu. </p><p>"We want people who put on the masks to realize that they are also responsible for the waste, he said. "It's not inevitable that this [pandemic] will become an environmental catastrophe.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-recycling-pollution-trash-pandemic/a-55707817" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649032193#/" target="_self"></a></p>
- Coronavirus Plastic Waste Polluting the Environment - EcoWatch ›
- Scuba Divers Make Face Masks out of Recycled Ocean Plastic ... ›
By Bret Wilkins
In a year in which the United States has already suffered 16 climate-driven extreme weather events causing more than $1 billion in economic damages, and as millions of American workers face loss of essential unemployment benefits due to congressional inaction, a report published Monday reveals the Trump administration has given fossil fuel companies as much as $15.2 billion in direct relief — and tens of billions more indirectly — through federal COVID-19 recovery programs since March.
- 'We Need People's Bailout, Not Polluters' Bailout': Climate Groups ... ›
- Corporate Polluters Have Received Tens of Millions in PPP Loans ... ›
- Trump Bails Out Oil Industry, Not U.S. Families, as Coronavirus ... ›
- Former Federal Reserve Governor Rebukes Fed for Fossil Fuel Bail ... ›
By Ashia Aubourg
As Thanksgiving approaches, some Indigenous organizations and activists caution against perpetuating further injustices towards Native communities. Indigenous activist Mariah Gladstone, for example, encourages eaters to celebrate the harvest time in ways that do not involve stereotypes and pilgrim stories.
- Why Face Masks Belong at Your Thanksgiving Gathering + 7 Things ... ›
- Reasons to Be Thankful — 8 Food and Farm 'Good News' Stories ... ›
- Why I'm Going to Standing Rock for Thanksgiving - EcoWatch ›
By Alex Middleton
Losing weight and reducing fat is a hard battle to fight. Thankfully, there are fat burner supplements that help you gain your target body and goal. However, how would you know which supplement is right for you?