Have a Green Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is almost here! What are you thankful for? I’m thankful for the little things in life – a roof over my head, my family and friends, my two silly cats and all of that usual stuff. But, what about an ecofriendly Thanksgiving?

I think the biggest thing we can do to have a green Thanksgiving is to reduce our waste. Why use those one-time use aluminum cooking pans for your turkey or other tasty treats when you can use a sturdier, reusable pan that all you have to scrub and then use again for Christmas or whatever other holidays you celebrate. Sure, aluminum is recyclable, but you’re still using energy to recycle that pan — plus it costs money. Why not use whatever you already have. Also, if you do decided to use paper or plastic silverware try to use items made out of recycled material and recycle as much of what you use.

Try to buy local and organic – this reduces the carbon footprint because if it’s local then the food and you didn’t have to travel as far and organic reduces the amount of chemicals used in the food and emitted in the air, plus organic just tastes better. Sure, local and organic foods usually cost more, but just buy a few items then — those special items that set your Thanksgiving meal apart from other meals.

And then there’s the cleanup — there are many simple cleaning “recipes” out there which you can do at home and you’ll have a bottle of the cleaner forever because a little bit goes a long way!

There are more holiday green tips and Thanksgiving statistcs at http://www.treehugger.com/htgg/how-to-go-green-thanksgiving-day.html#numbers, which you may find helpful.

But, most importantly, don’t forget to give thanks for what you’re grateful for — Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a huge, special meal, just by giving thanks and reflecting upon the past year makes it a special day.

 

Greenest Street in US

On October 9, 2012, the City of Chicago unveiled what it is hailing as “the greenest street in America”. One and a half miles of this $14 million project was recently showcased, which consisted of a wider street composed of 30 percent recycled content. Located in the city’s Pilsen neighborhood on Cermak Road between Halsted and Ashland, the street will eventually extend a total of two miles.

For the first time in the United States, photocatalyic cement, or “smog eating cement” has been used. This cement consists of nanoparticles of titanium dioxide, which literally “eats” smog and nitrogen oxide from the air. Additionally, 80 percent of the typical rainfall will be redirected via a combination of bioswales, rain gardens, permeable pavements and storm water features.

Additionally, the first permanent wind- and solar-powered pedestrian lights and LED street lights were installed in Chicago. According to a recent Discovery Channel article (http://news.discovery.com/autos/chicago-constructing-greenest-street-121016.html), ” By installing dark-sky friendly light fixtures, energy use of the street will be reduced by 42 percent. To help cut down on Chicago’s sweltering summer heat, nearly 40 percent of the public right of way was paved with light-colored, reflective material. Also, developers added a 131 percent increase in landscape and tree canopy cover.”