Report: Your Thanksgiving Enjoyment is Destroying the Planet. Have a Great Holiday!

To me it's always seemed that when Abraham Lincoln declared in 1863, likely the worst year in US history before or since with the nation being torn asunder by war, that all Americans "set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens," he created the perfect holiday. 

I love other holidays, but I don't know how it's possible to improve upon Thanksgiving. No gift giving. No shopping, aside from groceries and the liquor store. No decorating chores to do. It's just sticking your nose into a trough of comfort food, day drinking, football, naps, followed by more eating, booze and football. And all you're really required to do other than roasting meats and helping clean up, is to be thankful. That's it. A tiny price to pay.

 Thanksgiving truly is perfection. The quintessential American celebration. One that no one could possibly ruin by making you feel bad about your greed, your selfishness or your existence, right? 

Wrong.

Source - How much damage are we doing with our epic Thanksgiving meal every year? We spoke with three researchers to find out more about Thanksgiving’s carbon footprint.

It turns out that your food isn’t the biggest holiday culprit of carbon dioxide emissions — traveling for the meal is.

No one should be discouraged from enjoying the holiday or celebrating with family and friends, but we’re here to provide insight into the ingredients and dishes that have the largest ecological impact. The researchers we interviewed shared suggestions and alternative ingredients that cause less environmental damage. 

Meat and meat byproducts (cheese, butter and heavy cream, for example) have a larger environmental footprint than plant-based ingredients. According to research done by Carnegie Mellon University, the carbon footprint of a 16-pound turkey creates a total of 34.2 pounds of CO2 — the same amount produced by turkey gravy, cranberry sauce, roasted Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, rolled biscuits and apple pie combined. ...

Try sourcing your ingredients locally to limit your impact, from the wine you serve to the herbs that are stuffed into your bird.  [But] the biggest carbon impact is caused by people, not food, traveling extensive distances. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon determined that four people flying a 600-mile trip produces 10 times the emissions of the Thanksgiving meal. Driving is less detrimental, but American cars emit close to a pound of CO2 per mile driven.

"No one should be discouraged from enjoying the holiday with family and friends." Gee, thanks for that. So why is it I feel very much, grossly, extremely discouraged from that very thing? It's not enough that there's always somebody scolding you about the plight of turkeys. About factory farms and steroid-fueled Frankenturkeys whose very lives are a crime against nature. Which I counter by pointing out that I used to work with this older guy who saved a newspaper from 1963 of the day they buried JFK. So I checked out the ads where a Cadillac was like $3,500, but Thanksgiving turkeys were on sale for 99 cents a pound. In 1963 dollars. Today they're 39 cents a pound. So if improved agriculture is making delicious protein abundant and super affordable in a country where millions of children go to bed hungry every night, you'll have to forgive me if I'm not worried about the turkey's dying thoughts or the environmental effect of his farts.

As far as traveling goes, I'm guilty as charged. My kids flew home from college. Aside from one weekend at a WVU game, we haven't seen them since August. Yes, I realize the fuel those jet engines run on is made of fresh cut Brazilian rainforest, ground up polar bears and the tears of indigenous peoples. And if I had a shred of concern for Gaia, Mother Earth like the Planeteer who wrote this drivel, I would've made them ride bikes from Morgantown to Massachusetts. I just miss my sons, is all. And want our family to be together because life is short. 

That doesn't strike me as too much to ask, but I guess it is. 

Maybe we can arrange for a carbon emissions offset by making it so the next Oscar winner will only take a Gulfstream as far as Barcelona to celebrate instead of all the way to Monaco. Or better yet, turn off the computers and heat in whatever office building this dogshit was written in. Then we'll be carbon neutral.

Let this be proof positive that there is nothing so celebration so perfectly fun, joyous and life-affirming that somebody, somewhere won't nag you about it in an attempt to kill your buzz. They say the Earth has 12 years to live before we all perish in a "Day After Tomorrow"-sized eco-catastrophe. After reading this, maybe it's for the best. At least it'll save us from the Debbie Downers, once and for all.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Sincerely.