SustainAbility Newsletter

5 Tips for a Sustainable Thanksgiving

TurkeyThanksgiving is second in a slew of holidays at this time of year that have become one extended caloric nightmare. Marketers have successfully driven consumers to celebrate these holidays in an atmosphere of frenzied food consumption, often from everyday pre-packaged products festooned with special holiday cheer. However, you can say no to the pre-packaged cheer and have a hearty, sustainable meal. Below are 5 tips to a healthier, humane, sustainable, “low carb(on)” and labor friendly Thanksgiving from some fantastic organizations, some of whom we’re working with for the Social Action campaign for our film, Food, Inc. 

  1. Buy produce from your local farmers market. Rather than eating grapes from Mexico, apples from Argentina or potatoes from China, purchase as much of your holiday produce from a local farmer! Takepart with the Eat Well Guide to find one near you. 
  2. Buy organic produce whenever possible. Organic produce is safer, tastes better than conventional produce and is readily available at farmers markets and supermarkets nationwide. Also, look for organic wines, beverages and condiments. 
  3. Support a farm worker. Thousands of migrant workers labor in dangerous, brutal conditions for little pay to bring food to our table every day. takepart to help to improve the lives of farm workers and their families through the United Farm Workers. 
  4. Have a no-waste meal. Think about how much tinfoil, paper goods and leftover food are thrown away, to spend many, many years in a landfill. The average US family wastes $600 worth of food annually. Landfills are a significant source of global warming causing greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, use re-usable products and wash them, if possible in a dishwasher with eco-friendly detergent. 
  5. Get moving! The exhaustion you feel on Thanksgiving is from all of the fat, sugar and calories. Takepart in a Turkey Trot running race in your community–you’ll feel a lot better and perhaps have a bit more room for pie.



References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon Lifestyles

The International Sustainability Council

The Daily Green

The Paramus Post

Sustainability Campaign

Energy Star


California State university


SustainAbility Newsletter Archive Article (random)

Efficient Watering Methods

Trickle Irrigation ImageTrickle irrigation and drip irrigation systems help reduce water use and meet the needs of plants. With these methods, very small amounts of water are supplied to the base of the plants. Since the water is applied directly to the soil, rather than onto the plant, evaporation from leaf surfaces is reduced. The water is also placed where it will do the most good, rather than sprayed over the entire garden.

Trickle irrigation systems are frequently used by farmers dealing in high value crops such as vegetables, and small fruits such as grapes and berries, where lack of moisture can mean the difference between a profitable harvest or costly failure. These systems are similar to those used by the home gardener.

Fast Facts:

  • Wise use of water for garden and lawn not only helps protect the environment, but saves money and provides for optimum growing conditions. Simple ways of reducing the amount of water used for irrigation include growing xeriphytic species (plants that are adapted to dry conditions), mulching, adding water retaining organic matter to the soil, and installing windbreaks and fences to slow winds and reduce evapotranspiration.
  • Watering in the early morning before the sun is intense helps reduce the water lost from evaporation. Installing rain gutters and collecting water from downspouts also helps reduce water use. 


References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon International

The International Sustainability Council

The US Environmental Protection Agency

Organic Farming Research Foundation

United States Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service

Natural Resources Defense Council


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A Coalition for Good - Spreading the Seeds of Sustainability

ISC-Audubon is a coalition of non-profit organizations and initiatives that include The International Sustainability Council (ISC), Audubon Lifestyles, Audubon Outdoors, Planit Green, Broadcast Audubon, and the Audubon Network for Sustainability. 

Funds generated through memberships and donations are used to provide fruit & vegetable seeds, wildflower seed mix, and wildlife feed & birdseed to urban and suburban communities around the world. These seeds are used by communities to establish fruit and vegetable gardens, bird and wildlife sanctuaries, and for the beautification of urban and suburban landscapes by creating flower and native plant gardens.

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