Tips for a More Sustainable Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is one of our favorite holidays when we all look forward to the annual American ritual of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner complete with turkey and all of the trimmings, surrounded by family and friends.  It is a day free from the commercialism of other holidays and a day to give thanks for all of our blessings.

Thanksgiving is also a great time to thank Mother Nature for all her bounty and blessings by practicing more sustainable Thanksgiving rituals.  Here are a number of tips to help achieve that aim.

  • Minimize waste
    Use reusable dinnerware, glasses and napkins to reduce the amount of materials that end up in landfills.
  • Buy local and organic
    Local food is fresher, cuts down on food miles and support local farmers. Choosing organic foods not only is more humane for the animal but free range and naturally fed animals taste better and are healthier.
  • BYO Bags
    Don’t forget your reusable bags when shopping.  Let’s work to keep plastic out of the waste stream.
  • Create a Natural Centerpiece
    Mother Nature can supply leaves, acorns, pine cones … that will make a beautiful centerpiece. Use your creativity and if you are not feeling especially creative, look online for ideas that you can copy.
  • Eat less
    Thanksgiving is a day that we tend to associate with eating to excess. Be healthy.  Slow down to enjoy your food.  While you’re at it, eat less meat.   We’re not suggesting that you eschew the turkey, but the meat industry is the number one source of methane gas which is a major contributor to climate change.  Try filling your plate with a little less meat and more of the green healthy sides.
  • Drink Local Water
    Eschew the bottled water and drink local water. If you are concerned about its quality, get a filter. Americans spend billions on bottled water each year which, not only is wasteful, but leaches toxic chemicals from the plastic into the water.   It also creates mountains of plastic waste that needs to be disposed of.
  • Leftovers
    Try to get more out of your leftovers. Use the leftover turkey carcass for a soup base and leftover meat and vegetables in stews or salads.  Try to use up all of the food that you purchased to reduce waste.
  • Compost
    Don’t forget to add the vegetative foods that cannot be reused to your compost pile.
  • Enjoy the Outdoors
    Tomorrow’s weather in our area if forecast to be cool, but sunny. It is perfect for squeezing in a walk and connecting with nature.   It not only makes you feel better, it is good for your health!
  • Give Thanks.
    Remember to give back to others as you are thankful for all of your own blessings. Make a donation to a good cause.  Meals on Wheels, Mercer Street Friends, the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen and other organizations all work to end hunger in America and are a good place to give back.

We at the Ewing Green Team wish all of you a very happy (and sustainable) Thanksgiving.

The Sustainable State of Ewing’s Public Schools

A Report by Ewing Public Schools Administrator Dennis Nettleton

Come to the January meeting of the Ewing Green Team on January 25th to receive an update on the many improvements and plans for improvement ongoing in the Ewing School District.

The schools in Ewing Township registered in the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program  in the fall of 2015.   Their approach to certification is a three year one, and each year the district schools plans to address a different aspect of the “people, planet and prosperity” tenet of Sustainable Jersey mantra.  In their first year in the program they began with Sustainable Jersey actions in the “people” category.  In 2016-2017 they are focusing on activities that promote “prosperity” in our schools and then move on to actions that promote the planet in subsequent years.   Their approach to participating in the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program is methodical and prototypical.

Initiatives so far include:

  • formation of a district “green team”
  • an accessible communications strategy that is paperless and web-based
  • School gardens at each of the five schools in the district
  • pedestrian and bicycle safety initiatives
  • health and wellness initiatives including fitness activities

We invite all parents with children in the Ewing School system to learn how the district is initiating sustainability initiatives and the current status of their approach to certification.

Date: Wednesday, Jan 25
Time: 6:30 pm
Location: Ewing Senior and Community Center, Community Room
Details: Free and open to the public

Sustained Applause!

We are delighted to announce that Ewing has achieved Sustainable Jersey Silver Certification!  Of the 565 registered municipalities in New Jersey, Ewing is one of only 198 New Jersey towns that are Sustainable Jersey certified and, only 39 towns that have attained recognition at this level.  By becoming a Sustainable Jersey certified town, Ewing Township reinforces its commitment to saving resources, the environment and the planet.   Mayor Bert Steinmann, as well as participating Township staff and green team members will be accepting the award at the NJ League of Municipalities Conference in Atlantic City in November.

Sustainability Champion

In addition, we have just learned that Ewing has achieved the 2016 Sustainability Champion award in the medium municipality category (population between 5,000 – 39,999) .   The award is for receiving the highest number of points in this population category.  This award is one of five categories awarded each year: Sustainability Champion, Leadership, Creativity & Innovation, Collaboration, and Rookie of the Year. Award winners are selected from the municipalities that were certified or recertified in the designated award year.

Building a Sustainable Future in NJ

Across New Jersey, hundreds of towns are now working on sustainability programs to help the environment and their bottom lines. Efforts to curb carbon emissions, protect natural resources and reduce waste are happening at the local level.  Through the voluntary program, communities are implementing solar power and wind turbine projects, rain capture and reuse efforts, new walking and biking programs, building and operating community food gardens, launching community outreach programs on recycling and energy, and dozens of other initiatives.

To become Sustainable Jersey certified, Ewing had to complete a balance of the rigorous program sustainability actions. In addition, Ewing created a green team and did 4 priority actions by instituting a green business recognition program, taking a sustainable land use pledge, completing a natural resource inventory, and running a prescription drug safety and disposal initiative.  Please see Ewing’s Sustainable Jersey Profile to view the 2016 Silver Certification Report for details of the actions that were considered in becoming Silver Certified.

About Sustainable Jersey

Sustainable Jersey certification is a prestigious designation for municipal governments in New Jersey. Municipalities that achieve certification are considered by their peers, by state government and by the experts and civic organizations in New Jersey, to be among the leading environmental municipalities in the state. Certification is a rigorous process and once certified, Sustainable Jersey towns have access to incentives and grants; training and guidance towards the development of a sustainable community; and are promoted on the Sustainable Jersey website as a town that is doing its part for the environment.   For more information about Sustainable Jersey visit their website at http://www.sustainablejersey.com.

The Work Continues!

Despite this very gratifying recognition, much remains to be done and we invite all interested residents to participate.  A great place to start and learn about what we are doing is to attend our monthly meetings on the 4th Wednesday of each month.  If you are interested in joining the Green Team as an appointed member we encourage you to speak with a Green Team member or email ewinggreenteam@gmail.com.  New members are sworn in in January, so we’re looking for interested candidates now!