I read a blog post about a sustainable thanksgiving which stated that “Every year, around 50 million or so turkeys are consumed on Thanksgiving Day, about $30 billion is spent on the holiday (with 90 percent or so going to food costs), and the Sunday after Thanksgiving sees some 13.7 million long-distance travelers. If that doesn’t capture the size of this holiday, maybe the fact that the average meal is around 2200 calories.”
In a word... Excesive
So just for fun, here is what a glimpse of what a sustainable Thanksgiving could look like:
Well, first of all, your house is made of... well, a cave. No materials are needed to build your home. If you are lucky, your cave is infested with bats and is littered with guano (bat poop), a great resource which makes a great fire. Plus, bats make great eating. But if you have ever watched Crocodile Dundee, you would know they taste better with garlic, which does not grow in the wild near your cave. Sooo... no garlic for you. You also live in a moderate climate. Therefore you don’t need unnecessary materials to keep warm or cool. Your Thanksgiving table consists of the ground and your chairs consist of your butt.
So, what is on the menu?
You have been monitoring the turkey populations in your area and realize they are healthy this year. So this year you get to kill a turkey to eat. Last year the populations were declining so you did not want to kill a turkey.
You have the bow and arrow you have been using for the last decade to take on a turkey hunt with you and your children. You will teach them how to fend for themselves in the wild on this trip. Also, on the turkey hunt you have your children collect grains, fruits and vegetables that grow naturally in the area. They collect these in the turkey carcass you saved from Thanksgiving three years prior. They gather only enough to feed your family. You don’t want to over pick the food resources close to your home.
Success! You kill a turkey. You got an older female who probably will not be laying any more eggs, thus keeping the future generations intact.
You go back to the cave and cook the turkey over the fire (on low heat).
You invite only your friends who live walking distance to your cave in order to save energy costs and resources. Each of your friends gathers enough grains fruits and vegetables to feed themselves and brings them to the dinner.
When the food is prepared, you sit down with your friends and loved ones and enjoy a nice meal. You share stories of the time your mother-in-law died during the drought of 72’. Everyone has a laugh. When the meal is over, you have a nice game of cave wall Pictionary. You use the coals from the fire to draw on the cave walls.
And of course, all of this happens during the day time so you don’t have to use precious firewood and guano to light your cave.
So instead of 30 billion in spending this Thanksgiving, we can use that money to buy mini parachutes for all the wounded flying squirrels that are victims of undetonated landmines around the world.
The point: Although I think a Thanksgiving like the one above sounds sweet, I imagine it does not sound like fun to most people. Thus we either need to make sustainability convenient for people to take advantage of or stop making it so easy for people consume the worlds resources because of a consumer focused holiday.
And of course, the Give a Parachute to Squirrels (GPS) fund would greatly appreciate it.