It’s Thanksgiving once again. A time for gratitude. A time for gathering. A time for feast. However, creating a feast that’s sustainable can be quite a challenge especially when people have become so accustomed to preparing an over-the-top Thanksgiving dinner that isn’t exactly mindful and sustainable, even though it’s this kind of Thanksgiving party that Americans need now more than ever given ou environmental challenges and climate crisis.

Here are some reasons why it’s crucial to start throwing a green Thanksgiving dinner:

Animal agriculture

Over 100 world leaders came together at Glasgow, Scotland in October for COP26 with the aim of reaching agreements on how each nation can tackle the climate crisis and keeping temperature from rising over 1.5 degrees celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. It seems the final agreement settled at the conference by world leaders fell short.

While we wait for world leaders to move the needle on the crisis, there are still many things we can do as global citizens to take climate action. One easy and simple way to mitigate of the rapidly escalating effects of climate change is to eat more plant-based meals. Livestock emits more greenhouse gases compared than all transportation emissions in the world combined. However, leaders have dismissed this fact. This is why a plant-based solution is our best bet to catapult us into a better future.

So when preparing Thanksgiving dinner, aim to serve more plant-based meals. Check this post out for easy, super tasty vegan meals you can prepare for the occasion. Want to go further? Make sure to sign the Plant-Based Treaty and share it with you networks.

Animal cruelty

Hundreds of slaughterhouses are getting ready to give in to the carnivorous demands and appetites of those who are preparing to celebrate an opulent feast for Thanksgiving. Crammed in industrial farms before being prepared for human consumption, turkeys’ beaks and toes are removed to prevent the birds from harming each other in confined spaces. In 2018 alone, over two million turkeys were slaughtered in the United States and over six million turkeys were slaughtered in 2018 worldwide. Last year, over 200 million were slaughtered in the US alone.

Give these birds a chance, adopt a turkey for Thanksgiving. Give our planet a chance, and push for the Plant-Based Treaty.

Photo: Claudio Schwarz.

Health

We have been programmed to over-indulge even on regular days so it’s no surprise that on Thanksgiving we gorge ourselves and overeat, giving in to our gluttonous side. It is no wonder that health threats such as heart and diabetic issues are a concern during Thanksgiving.

It’s for this reason that the US Surgeon General declared Thanksgiving as a day to celebrate National Family Health History Day back in 2004 – to urge families to record their family’s health history. So start a conversation with your relatives to know where you are – health and genetic conditions-wise. Being aware of your family’s health background will make you more mindful of what to eat and what you plan to prepare for the family during Thanksgiving or any other day.

While it is highly unlikely that majority will go for a vegan turkey (tofurkey!) to carve on Turkey day, there are plenty of healthy, sustainable and delicious alternative recipes that your tastebuds will enjoy.

Food waste

It should be mentioned that while Thanksgiving dinner focuses on gratitude and giving thanks, it’s equally important that while giving thanks to the elaborate meal laid out in front of you, that you also aim to reduce food waste. A major contributor to the climate catastrophe, the food wasted in the US alone during Thanksgiving is a staggering 200 million pounds worth of leftovers every year. Out of the 200 lbs of food wasted during this time, only 6.3% of it gets composted. So if there is food waste at the end of the day that cannot be fed to your pets, make sure to compost it. Food waste sitting in landfills create methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas worse than carbon dioxide.

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Cover image by Brooke Lark.

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