If Memorial Day ushers in the unofficial beginning of summer, and Labor Day marks its unofficial finale, then the Fourth of July is clearly, yet unofficially, the peak of the summer season! More than a celebration of American independence, the Fourth of July is a festival of barbecues, beach vacations, and fireworks. Unfortunately, these wonderful traditions are also traditionally a detriment to the environment. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy all that summer’s most spectacular holiday has to offer. With a few small tweaks, your July 4th celebration can be wonderfully festive and planet-friendly.
1. Better BBQs: Your classic BBQ of burgers and steaks over charcoal briquettes, while delicious, creates air pollution, contributes to deforestation, emits greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and poses serious health risks. Instead, seek out charcoal that doesn’t contain coal, oil, limestone or petroleum. Better yet, use gas, propane or electric grills. Opt for locally grown, pesticide-free veggies, and if you can’t see yourself celebrating the Fourth of July without hot dogs on the menu, pick organic, sustainably raised varieties of beef.
2. Get Beach Bound: Spending July 4th at the beach is a wonderful way to celebrate our country’s natural beauty. But leaving trash behind and polluting the water is a surefire way to dishonor our nation on its big day. When heading for the sand, tote your food and beverages in reusable or recyclable containers, ensure that your sunscreen is paraben-free (otherwise the chemicals pollute the ocean), carpool or ride your bike to the shore and be sure to clean up after yourself. These tips will help keep the day’s carbon footprint in check.
3. Fabulous Fireworks: After a long day in the sun, many of us are accustomed to closing out the holiday with a great fireworks display. But generally, things that catch fire and explode in the air aren’t the most eco-friendly. Greener alternatives to this element of the celebration are available. Check out this past post from our partners at Just Energy on how to enjoy fireworks sustainably.
4. Balance the Holiday: However you mark our country’s birthday, balance out the carbon footprint your celebrations create with carbon offsets from terrapass. For less than the cost of a local, sustainable pale ale, your purchase of carbon offsets will support renewable energy projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow climate change. Get more information and purchase your terrapass carbon offsets today!
We hope you celebrate this Independence Day thoughtfully and sustainably. And be sure to check out our past posts – with more eco-friendly tips and techniques – for honoring our country on Memorial Day and Flag Day.
For more news on the environment and climate change, visit the terrapass Footprint Blog each week for a new article that will keep you updated and informed. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook, where we’re always sharing tips and information on living an eco-friendly, green lifestyle.