Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it’s time to be thankful for the things we have. Time to relax and visit with friends and family, feasting on a giant meal. One thing we should all be thankful for is the planet we live on and how beautiful it is. It is vital to protect the planet before we destroy it with environmental degradation and carbon emissions.
This year, why don’t we be kind to the planet and animals by going vegan with our traditional meal? Skip the turkey this year and substitute it with a “fake” turkey instead. There are several brands out there. Or don’t substitute it at all and instead have lots of recipes with grains, fruits, and vegetables. While you’re at it, try a vegan stuffing recipe. Go ahead and still serve the cranberries, mashed potatoes, pudding, and everything else that goes with your meal, but make it vegan or vegetarian.
If you and your recipes can’t go entirely without the meat, eggs, and dairy, don’t’ fret! Choose to purchase your turkey from a local butcher or farmer to support your community and cut down on transportation emissions at the same time. You can also buy a turkey at your local grocery store. Pay attention to the labels and choose turkeys labelled as ‘free range’ or ‘cage-free’. Some turkeys may also have a description of how they were raised, so read the packaging details to see what the brand claims about their turkeys. Are they sustainably raised? Did they use antibiotics? Were they raised nearby?
Here are some links to vegan/vegetarian Thanksgiving ideas:
Another way to have a sustainable meal is by reducing your waste and disposing of it properly. Go the extra mile and be zero waste. Make all your recipes from scratch in order to avoid packaging of premade foods. Buy your produce and ingredients without packaging, in recyclable paper/cardboard containers, in recyclable cans, or in recyclable plastic packaging. Glass isn’t recyclable in Pullman, so avoid glass containers unless you plan on reusing them or taking them to the west side on your next trip over there!
Unfortunately, turkeys are so large that it is basically a requirement for them to come in packaging. Vegan and vegetarian alternatives almost always come in packaging too. If possible, look for real or fake turkeys in recyclable packaging, but don’t fret too much if you can’t find a zero-waste option!
When eating, don’t use disposable plates, utensils, cups, and bowls. Opt for reusable options like glass, ceramic, wood, bamboo, metal, or reusable plastic. You can even use cloth napkins and rags instead of paper napkins.
Save your leftover food for another meal (use both the freezer and the fridge if needed). Compost inedible leftover food, food waste, and food-soiled paper. Just don’t throw it away if possible!
This year let’s be kind to the planet by creating as little waste as possible, and to animals by not eating them or supporting cruelty-free, sustainable, and local animal-raising practices. The animals and planet will thank you and you can be thankful you helped save lives.
Any and all brands, specific products, or websites named in the above article are discussed purely for creative Thanksgiving ideas and references. They do not reflect opinions, preferences, or endorsements of WSU’s Environmental Science Club and do not have any affiliation with WSU’s Environmental Science Club or any entity related to Washington State University.
~Written by Shaelyn Campbell and Jennifer Beyer~