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A Happier Thanksgiving

November 27th, 2008 by Alison · 2 Comments · food & drink, health & well being, lifestyle, simplicity, sustainability

Thanksgiving childFor Thanksgiving I’ll suggest (and practice myself) a novel idea: to not eat a great deal. Just a normal-sized meal, of food more lovingly prepared than usual, with more sociability and gratitude than usual.

“Unpatriotic!” I can imagine you criticizing me. “Killjoy!” “The economy would nosedive!” “Anti-consumption equals Anti-Christ!” (OK, pardon my drama.)

In truth, I’m very patriotic. I love our forebears. In fact I suggest we be more like them — by eating normal-sized portions of food and being physically active rather than mostly sedentary. The child in the picture looks like he has good instincts around how much to eat and how active to be.

The average food item Americans eat travels more than 1,500 fossil-fueled miles to reach us. My household subscribes to a local farm that delivers a basket of vegetables weekly to our doorstep. Lowered dependence on foreign oil: very patriotic. Here is a fun game called the Low Carbon Diet Calculator that lets you learn the carbon footprint of dozens of menu choices.

As for our GDP: to the degree that our national economy depends on overeating (and overconsumption in general) it is ill and needs to recover. A group of Americans resolving to eat moderately this Thanksgiving can be a step toward that recovery. Join Alison Wiley’s Thanksgiving Moderation Movement. Alternatively, try The Very Best Diet.

I’ll close with a little self-disclosure. When I eat normal-sized meals I retain my normal personality afterward: alert, friendly, affectionate. (At least my husband thinks so.) When I eat to excess I become slow and stupid, almost as if drugged. How about you?

I’m not a nutritionist, but from what I gather, human stomachs can’t digest enormous amounts of food dumped into them. Excess food piles up and putrefies in our intestines, making us gassy and grumpy. How fun is that? For a truly happy Thanksgiving, let’s eat moderately.

photo courtesy of Umbradox

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Crafty Green Poet

    excellent post, over here we don’t have Thanksgiving but your post is a useful preparation for Christmas

  • Danny Bloom

    Yes, Happy Thanksgiving and more DOT EARTH posts in the future!

    Friday, November 28, 2008 brings news of a lawsuit.

    REUTERS: US$1 billion lawsuit against world leaders for global warming


    Aaron Gray-Block reports from Reuters today:

    Tags: Environment, climate treaty, crimes against humanity, global warming, greenhouse emissions, international criminal court…James Lovelock, James Hansen, Mark Lynas, Fred Pearce, Tim Flannery, Sharon Astyk, James Howard Kunstler

    AMSTERDAM — In a global stunt, a U.S. environmental activist is poised to lodge a $1 billion damages class action lawsuit at the International Criminal Court (ICC) against all world leaders for failing to prevent global warming.

    Activist and blogger Dan Bloom says he will sue world leaders for “intent to commit manslaughter against future generations of human beings by allowing murderous amounts of fossil fuels to be harvested, burned and sent into the atmosphere as CO2″.

    He intends to lodge the lawsuit in the week starting Sunday, Dec. 6.

    The prosecutor’s office at the ICC, the world’s first permanent court (pictured below right) for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, says it is allowed to receive information on crimes that may fall within the court’s jurisdiction from any source.

    “Such information does not per se trigger a judicial proceeding,” the prosecutor’s office hastened to add.

    The question is: will or should the prosecutor take on the case?

    One might argue in defence that world leaders are in fact trying to impose climate-saving measures. In Vienna last year, almost all rich nations agreed to consider cuts in greenhouse emissions of 25-40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Talks on a new climate treaty will be held in Poznan, Poland, from Dec. 1-12.

    Rajendra Pachauri, head of the U.N. Climate Panel, says the cuts are needed to limit temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius, an amount seen by the EU, some other nations and many environmentalists as a threshold for “dangerous” climate change.

    Granted then that there is growing consensus that climate change poses a real threat, is it not only world leaders who are failing to prevent global warming?

    Perhaps the global collective of individuals, governments and industry is to blame and the ICC lawsuit a valid publicity stunt in the constant battle to raise awareness and prompt action?

    Because it’s action we need — and now, right?

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