By: Ojaswee Chaudhary
Happy Diwali! Happy Thanksgiving! Happy New Year! It’s holiday season! It is the most joyous season of the year with big meals, decorating trees, and lighting candles. But, as you probably know, everything comes with a price. Now, I don’t mean the hundreds of dollars spent on ingredients for your grandma’s famous pumpkin pies. I mean the price that the environment pays to allow for these enjoyable months of celebration.
Let’s get specific. Thanksgiving is one of the most fun and important of the holidays as it honors what we should be thankful for, and it connects us back to our Pilgrim and Native American ancestors. However, our ancestors gathered their food by means of hunting and agriculture so harm was little. Today, we conduct mass food production using machines that emit fossil fuels into the environment.
Different foods have bigger effects than others. For example, the creation of a 3.5 ounce serving of turkey releases around the amount of carbon dioxide as your car produces when you drive 3 miles which is about 2.4 pounds of carbon dioxide. Although you can’t do anything about this problem, you should be aware of it so you can reduce your carbon emissions in other aspects of your life.
What about Christmas? As you can probably guess, the trees are a problem in this holiday. They are taken from the environment for our pleasure while animals lose their homes and the Earth’s supply of oxygen decreases by about 260 pounds per year every time one tree is cut. Gift-wrapping paper is another problem. Around 83 kilometers (about the size of New Jersey) of wrapping paper is either thrown out or burnt every year. Instead, you can use paper cardboard, fabric, or even newspaper as substitutes for wrapping paper and recycle it after you are done! Or, if you seem to just really like the new wrapping paper you recently bought, you should reuse it in the years to come.
With this said, the holidays are not to be thought of as faulty or miserable; they unite families and create feelings of joy around the entire world. But, if you are aware and take action, the environment will be safe and you can be assured that future generations will be able to enjoy as much as we do.