We may be assuming, but we’re pretty sure that had our forefather’s predicted climate change, sustainability would be up there with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Treat the land of the free with respect this Independence Day by opting for these sustainable practices. Help to keep our communities cleaner and more conscious, from sea to shining sea.
Even George Washington Composted
That’s right, even ‘ol George was composting and using the soil for his crops at Mount Vernon. So do as George did and make sure you’re composting all those corn cobs and potato peelings. Better yet, take the holiday to build a compost bin in your own backyard. Composting your food scraps and yard waste can help divert material from your local landfill and provide good quality soil for your garden or potted plants. If you can’t commit to a whole bin, gather your scraps in a paper bag and find your local compost. It’s one of the best ways to minimize your waste every day (just ask George).
Use Reusable Water Bottles, Cups, Cutlery and Plates
You know all those red solo cups and single-use plates you see at BBQ’s across the country? Those are really, really bad for the environment. It takes about 500 years for each piece of plastic to break down in a landfill, and even longer if it ends up in the ocean. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. Not worth it. Use reusables every time you can. And if you can’t, there’s lots of great “green-ware” disposables that are made from organic matter and can easily be composted. You can find them online or in most grocery chains.
Say No To Straws!
This technically falls under the category of “don’t use one-time-use plastics”, but we wanted to highlight the issues with that little inconspicuous straw in your cocktail… it’s not so little when there are 500 million straws being used in the US EVERY DAY. That’s enough to fill 127 40-ft long school buses each day. Yikes. Go sans straw (the best option) or opt for glass, metal or compostable straws.
Kiss a Farmer (or just find a Farmer’s Market)
America was built on the shoulders of small-scale farmers. From back-country beet farmers to urban bee keepers, communities across America still have local farmers who work every day to feed you. Hit up your local farmer’s market and literally taste America. In-season veggies like tomatoes and cucumbers are great in big salads, and summer fruits like peaches and watermelons are bursting with flavor. Support local and support good farming practices. Now that’s patriotic.
Sustainable Seafood or Bust
Grilled lobsters, clam chowder, shrimp cocktails, trout over an open flame – all excellent 4th of July fare, just make sure it’s sustainably sourced. The two most important things to consider when purchasing seafood are when and how it was caught. Look for the blue and white MSC Certified icon on packages and menus; that indicates seafood that’s been responsibly caught by a certified fishery. Download the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Guide App to find what’s sustainable where you live or travel. Try to avoid imported shrimp and don’t be fooled by the word “fresh” – never buy if you can’t find where and when the fish was caught.
Ditch Your Car
With more than 253 million cars on US roadways, it makes sense why we’re the auto capitol of the world. But remember, the first explorers traversed the entire country long before our beloved automobile was invented. Let’s kick it real old school and hit the pavement by foot, bike, rollerblade (seriously, when was the last time you did that?) or public transit. If you have to drive, be sure to carpool and avoid sitting in traffic (exhaust from idling cars isn’t great for your health nor the planet’s). Enjoy the benefits of being outside and have a great 4th of July!