Thanksgiving is the time of year to give thanks and express gratitude. It is a time for relaxation as well as spending quality time with friends and family members. During holidays such as this it’s important we pay attention to our purchasing choices and habits just as much the rest of year, perhaps even more.  Even though, Thanksgiving can feel like an indulgent and gluttonous holiday, what it represents is far more deep. And its the lesson of appreciativeness for what we have and where life has taken us should transmit to the way we celebrate, as well as our daily choices. I n honor of this holiday, we at AP have put together tips on How to Have an Ethical Thanksgiving below. So savor the suggestions below just as you savor your Thanksgiving meal and remember to extend your conscious choices beyond the holidays. Happy Thanksgiving from us at AP and thank you for all your support!

Autonomie Project’s Tips on How to Have an Ethical Thanksgiving:

1) Eat Organic: As you are shopping the aisles of your market, keep in mind how important purchasing organic can be. Most products and definitely most vegetables and fruits come certified organic these days. Not only is it helpful to the environment to eat organic, it is terrific for your body. Non organic foods can contain harmful chemicals and pesticides which can do a number on your body and seep into our soil and eventually into our water supply, thus harming our entire environment. Of course we would encourage you to eat vegan this holiday and provide many great vegan holiday recipes and a guide to surviving the holidays. However, if you are going to eat meat or dairy, we suggest you purchase organic and free range choices. You can find organic items such as these at your local co-op, natural foods store, Whole Foods, and sometimes your regular grocery store. Just be sure when you are making an organic purchase, you look for the USDA Certified Organic label, anything else is not officially certified.

2) Shop Locally: When you are making your holiday food purchases try your hardest to shop local. Meaning, skip the major corporate grocery mega stores for your local store, including co-ops and natural foods stores. But also pay attention to the products you purchase and support your local farms and companies. When you purchase locally, you are stimulating your community’s economy and are supporting a transaction which cuts shipping pollution. This is very helpful to both our environment and to the cost of your product! So be sure to support your local farmer and market.

3) Fair Trade Groceries: Unfortunately not all products can be found Fair Trade at this time. However, there are many food products used for the holidays which you can find Fair Trade Certified. Some Fair Trade products you may be able to incorporate into your meal are Fair Trade rice, olive oil, chocolate and fruit. You might also want to switch your baking supplies over to Fair Trade such vanilla, baking powder, and sugar. You could even make your centerpieces with Fair Trade flowers! Also, serve your guests Fair Trade wine with their meals and coffee or tea after. For a full list of Fair Trade products and where to find them check out Transfair’s list of stores.

 

4) Stay Put: Instead of flying all over or driving far distances to see your family, stay put this year! You can cut down your carbon output by not leaving your home for the holidays. Heck, this will even save you money from pricey gas and plane tickets. You might ask, “But what about my family? The holidays aren’t the same without them?” Well, we have the answer for you! Try skyping with them. We know that word sounds foreign or perhaps made up. But if you haven’t already signed up, check out Skype. It’s a free internet video chat service that is surprisingly clear and makes long distance shrink! The lines are much clearer than any cell phone and you can actually SEE and interact with your family. Trust us, we live thousands of miles from our loved ones, and it really does almost feel as if you are with them. So skip the crowded airports and traffic ridden roads, and catch up with your family virtually. Look at it this way, you can always turn them off when they get on your nerves.

5) Volunteer/Donate Goods: Even though more people volunteer at soup kitchens and shelters on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year, we suggest you call your local shelter and use the holiday as a reminder to volunteer on other days of the year. The shelters need help all year-round and would happy to have extra volunteers. However, if Thanksgiving is one of the few days you can spare, go out and volunteer! Also, there are a number of organizations that collect food donations for the less fortunate and their families. Check your local charitable organizations for Thanksgiving Food Drives,  but also check out these organizations as well: Food for Others and Feeding America.  Also, if you have plenty of leftovers call your local shelters to see if they will accept any leftovers. Some states have laws about donated food, but some shelters may be able to accept some home-made goods.