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Emily H wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving

by on November 28, 2013

Emily H wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving

“The Washington Post article, “The Environmental Costs of a Thanksgiving Meal,” discusses a Thanksgiving meal’s contribution to green house gas emissions in the atmosphere.”

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  1. We often forget what it the cost of our thanksgiving dinner is. This article is definitely a good reminder to people of this cost and to try to reduce this cost as much as possible. A typical thanksgiving dinner is equivalent to 10 miles of driving. Ten miles may not seem like a lot, but that ten miles is for every person. When you think of how many families will celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States, that is a huge amount of carbon dioxide. Also this does not include all the traveling that is done before Thanksgiving or on Thanksgiving day. The day before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year and thus produces a large amount of carbon dioxide. On thanksgiving, we will need to think about reducing our carbon footprint, by trying to buy locally for our meal or reducing our traveling miles.

  2. Michael Miliano permalink

    Although this article made me feel a little guilty, I still think it is important to remember where our food comes from, especially for the most important meal of the year. The article states that an average Thanksgiving meal equates in greenhouse gas emissions to about a ten mile drive. Once these ten miles are spread out amongst the millions of people celebrating Thanksgiving it is very obvious that Americans’ habits need to change. In New England especially, Thanksgiving has the potential to be completely locally produced. Most of the critical ingredients (turkey, potatos, veggies) can be bought or grown locally. This is something I would definetly like to improve for my Thanksgiving meal next year.

  3. Sammy D permalink

    After coming back from the holiday, it is interesting to reflect on what the environmental cost is of a typical Thanksgiving meal. All across the country, families prepared dinner in their local community, however the turkey, potatoes, corn and cranberries traveled miles to their end destination on the kitchen table. According to the article, the carbon footprint of one meal would have been responsible for emitting nearly 10 pounds of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Although the figure is based on estimation, it is still shocking to think that one meal could be responsible for such a huge cost to the environment. During our class exercise of documenting the food we ate in one week, I thought about my food consumption in an entirely new way. After studying how animals are produced, it was very difficult to write down “one piece of chicken” without thinking of the environmental costs behind it. This article brings to light the importance of growing and producing food on a local level instead of the large, national scale of mass production. If we think about how many meals are prepared in Kimball in one day, the carbon footprint of one meal is probably an astonishingly large number. If Holy Cross actively searched for alternative methods of bringing food to the dining halls, for example by supporting local farmers, the school would be able to greatly reduce its carbon footprint.

  4. caaher16 permalink

    I was really surprised when I started reading this article. Just from reading the article, I was expecting to read a whole page of stats about which foods are least environmentally friendly. But as I started reading the intro about the European settlers and Wampanoag tribe, I started to really consider what they would have thought about how we produce and consume food today. Like the article states, if the Wampanoag or Europeans were hungry, they walked out of their homes to the fields right outside or went hunting for meat. Nowadays, people on the East Coast are eating Illinois and Iowa corn… I can say from experience, that is not a quick or easy trip! I’m also wondering where the turkey came from that was placed on my family dinner table in Northbrook, Illinois. How big was the overall carbon footprint that went into the making of my family’s Thanksgiving meal? Its shocking that the 3.5 oz of turkey I ate caused 2.4 lbs of carbon dioxide, which is the same amount of CO2 that was emitted when my aunt and uncle drove the 3 miles from their house to my house… it all adds up. What about all the other families celebrating Thanksgiving!? Sounds like too much CO2 for just one day. If all the people in my town were able to buy corn, potatoes, and other vegetables on their table from the local produce farm rather than from the grocery store, at least 100+ lbs of carbon dioxide would have been spared. Imagine if every family celebrating Thanksgiving only bought local food, the amount of carbon emissions spared is something we would all be thankful for.

  5. This article makes me feel incredibly guilty for having 2 Thanksgivings, one at school and one with my family. When eating Thanksgiving with your families, family members tend to buy quality, fresh ingredients, which tend to be more locally grown, since they’re real people and can afford to buy fresh ingredients to impress other family members with their cooking abilities. My Thanksgiving at school was definitely not locally grown since we’re all poor college students on a budget. The carbon footprint of that dinner must have been incredibly high. But, on any normal day, everyone who attended the dinner would individually make themselves dinner with comparable quality ingredients imported from various locations around the US to our local Shaw’s. So in theory, our collective carbon foot print from that Thanksgiving dinner occurs on a daily basis. Daily meals don’t draw as much attention as major holidays do, but they cause just as much collective damage. This then brings up the importance of buying locally to decrease “food miles”. We need to start buying food locally, not just on holidays but normal days too.

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