Zionsville Times Sentinel

November 21, 2012

Green eggs and turkey for Thanksgiving?

By Lynn Jenkins/Times Sentinel columnist
Zionsville Times Sentinel

Zionsville — While Sam-I-am would not eat green eggs and ham, (the rest of us should consider a green turkey for Thanksgiving. Not colored green, but with as much sustainability as we can find.

Thanksgiving begins a holiday season that persists through New Year’s. Consumerism has bypassed the original meanings of family, gratitude and giving.

There’s still time to put on the brakes and begin the season with a green and sustainable Turkey Day. Here are a few ideas for now and throughout the holidays.

•  Buy natural or organic. Avoid the chemically produced foods that have become a mainstay of American diets. Avoid buying foods that are heavily processed and/or laden with artificial ingredients. Or as Michael Pollan aptly states in his book “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto,” “Don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”

Buying organic not only benefits your own health by avoiding toxic chemicals, but also helps protect the soils, air and water.

• Avoid paper and plastic. If you are celebrating with a large gathering, don’t be tempted to use plastic coated plates, paper napkins and plastic cups to avoid a cleanup. It is a special get-together so make the extra effort to express your delight in sharing the day.

Accept the offers for help in cleaning up; make it an opportunity to share both joy and toil for the day. Not only your guests, but also the planet, will appreciate your efforts at reducing the use of paper and plastics.

• Save energy. Carpool if you are traveling to a friend’s home. Your kindness in picking someone else up shows your generosity to both your friend and the earth. If you are hosting the gathering, plan ahead to make best use of the oven by doubling up foods or cooking them in tandem to reduce energy use. You will not only save on energy costs, but will also protect the planet by demanding less of a non-renewable resource.

• Shop local. Whether it’s for the turkey and trimmings, or holiday and hostess gifts, consider how you might find a local source. “Local” here doesn’t mean the nearby grocery. It doesn’t mean the gift shop or department store in the neighborhood mall, which carries trinkets and baubles made in China and shipped across the world. There are numerous bazaars and holiday marts, as well as winter farmers’ markets and independently owned stores for food and gifts.

Ask where the product was farmed, grown or made. Know that you are pleasing not only your family and friends with local items, but you are also supporting your community by keeping your holiday money within the community. In addition, you and the earth again benefit by not using non-renewable resources to have your products shipped across country or from the other side of the world.

• Recycle. Make a point to recycle during the abundant cooking, cleanup and shopping of the holidays. You just might encourage someone else to make the effort as well. It takes so little to recycle, but it makes a huge impact on our limited resources.

Lynn Jenkins is a Zionsville resident and member of ZIGG, Zionsville Initiative to Go Green. Email her at LJenks@tds.net.