Jul 3, 2010

Green Fourth of July

1. Bring-A-Cup

In the medieval era, everyone brought their own spoons to banquets, because the host rarely had enough spoons for all the guests; you can make this idea work for you in the modern age to help you have a green 4th of July by cutting down on waste. Instead of buying dozens of disposable plastic or paper cups that will end up piled high in a landfill, take a cue from the medieval era with this nifty idea. Ask guests to each bring a favorite cup from their own home, and have them use that cup for the duration of the party. That way, you won't end up with a ton of garbage, and guests will always be able to tell whose drink on the table is whose.

2. Eat Local

Serving locally grown and prepared foods is a great way to have a green 4th of July while supporting your community. Seeking out farmers and other food producers in your town, or in your region, rather than serving foods imported from far away, cuts down on the carbon emissions that would be created by the trucks, trains, boats, etc. that transport food. The less transportation the food undergoes between farmer and table, the less carbon emissions there are, so eating local is a great way to green your 4th of July.

3. Living Flowers

Instead of buying cut flowers to dress up your table, why not have a living centerpiece? That way, when your green 4th of July party is over, you can keep the plant around to reduce carbon in the atmosphere. Plants naturally turn carbon into oxygen, which is great news for people and all other breathing creatures!

One way to have a green 4th of July is to make your party a celebration after a communal "good deed." As a warm up to the festivities, consider asking your friends to join you for an eco-conscious activity like picking up trash in a local nature preserve, or planting a tree. This will get everyone thinking green, and is a great way to show how volunteerism can be fun.

4. Eat From the Farm, Not the Factory

To reduce the environmental impact of your green 4th of July party, consider eating foods that spend more time on the farm than in a factory. Vegetables and other unprocessed items create a lot less pollution and waste than processed foods like bagged chips or pre-made spreads, so why not make a point of serving items that are as close to their natural state as possible? There are plenty of tasty treats you can make without relying on processed foods, so try ditching the chemicals for the day and enjoying a green 4th of July featuring more natural dishes.

5. Break Down Big Packages

Instead of buying individually wrapped or packaged items like plastic silverware sets, or individual cans of soda, try to buy supplies for your green 4th of July party in large bulk packages, then break them down yourself. Put together sets of silverware yourself, or pour individual servings from large bottles of soda: you'll save money, and you'll help save the planet by reducing packaging waste.

6. Pick A Comfortable Time Of Day

Having a green 4th of July party means that it's your duty to make sure that your guests are comfortable, but air conditioning a crowded house in the summer can use a lot of energy. To conserve electricity, consider having your 4th of July party at a naturally comfortable time of day, like dusk or evening when things have cooled down, rather than in the height of the noon sun.

7. Encourage Carpooling

Carpooling is easy on the earth, and easy on your friends' wallets: sharing rides reduces carbon emissions, and helps your guests conserve gasoline. When you invite guests to your green 4th of July party, encourage them to buddy up on transportation. Let guests know who else is coming from their area, and offer to put them in contact with someone who might be able to give them a ride, or might appreciate getting a ride from them. Facilitating ride-shares helps you have a green 4th of July, and encourages your guests to get to know each other, so



 Published by Wanda Leibowitz
June 14, 2007

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