Sustainable Tips for November

We only have 2 more months of 2020, and whether you are looking forward to ending this year, or racing to complete your New Year’s resolutions, I say we should all make the most out of the next 2 months of 2020!

To help make the most out of rest of the year I’ve created a list of tips to think about during the month of November to live a more sustainable, enjoyable month:

1) Embrace the coziness!

Let’s make the most out of the beautiful weather! I love opening the windows, turning the heat/AC completely off and embracing the cool autumn temperatures. It is totally acceptable to dust off your favorite high school sweater (shout out Palo Verde High School), pull the extra blankets (or mermaid tail blankets) out of the linen closet, and put on those silly rainbow colored fuzzy socks that just make you smile. Staying warm doesn’t mean turning the heat up, it means embracing the season and wearing items we already own and love! Wearing extra layers instead of turning on the heat will save your wallet and save the environment! (Cuddling with your significant other with a glass of red wine works great too!)

2) Efficiency = Saving $$! How can you save money plus save the environment this fall season? Here is a quick house checklist to review for your own home:

a: Has your heat/AC unit been checked out in the last year? This $80-$100 service fee could pay for itself in energy bill savings if problems are found. b: Do you have a programable thermostat or even better, a Smart Thermostat? These types of controllers can be set to automatically adjust the temperature for times you’re out of the house, and saves an average of $180 per household! Who wants to throw away money on heating an empty house! (We have the Eco-bee which has been a game changer for our energy bill.) c: When was the last time the air filter was changed? Especially if you live in a desert like we do, the air filter was so dirty since the AC was on all summer long (I promise we are religious on changing the filter every 3 months, but we really should have replaced it after only 2 months….lesson learned!) d: Do you know of any windows that feel a bit breezy during a windy day? There are many great options to patch up those spaces. Here are a few to consider: V-seal weather stripping, rope caulk, shrink film, nail polish or a draft snake. e: Does your front and back door seal completely or can you feel a drift around the door frame? If you are not sure, bring a lit candle close to the door and if the flame moves around you know there is a draft. A door stopper or a door sweep are easy solutions, and they also prevent bugs from entering in the home too.

3) Is it turkey time or tofu time?

Did you know an average of 46,000,000 turkeys (yes, that’s 46 million) that are raised and killed each year just for Thanksgiving alone? While that number is astronomical, did you know 30-40% of a typical family Thanksgiving meal gets tossed out in the trash? Which contributes to 25 million more pounds of garage just between Thanksgiving to New Years. These statistics are not very joyful, but that doesn’t mean a family can’t have a joyful, yet sustainable Thanksgiving holiday this year. Here are a few tips on how to create a sustainable celebration:

a: Introduce a tofu-turkey to the dinner table and let your family try both protein options, or replace the turkey cold-turkey (dad joke for the win!). b: If your family does want a real turkey, buy from an organic and sustainably raised company (bonus points if it’s locally raised to lower the carbon footprint!). c: Ask guests to bring their own food storage containers so everyone can have leftovers without emptying your own collection. d: Lower your personal carbon footprint by preparing vegetarian or vegan meals, buying produce from your local farmers market, and prepare appropriate sized dishes to prevent food waste. e: Keep in mind, one or two elaborate dishes are fun, but keep the majority of the dishes simple to prevent unnecessary stress. Delegating, prepping the day before, and trying out new recipes in advance will allow for less craziness in the kitchen, and more time with loved ones!

I hope this list of sustainable tips for November will help you and your family ease into the autumn season and allow for a sustainable and special Thanksgiving celebration! From my cozy high-school sweater and a glass of red wine to yours, cheers to a sustainable holiday!

Websites that helped me with this post:

1) https://www.energystar.gov/products/heating_cooling/smart_thermostats

2) https://www.houselogic.com/organize-maintain/diy-repair/how-to-fix-drafty-windows/

3) https://lbre.stanford.edu/pssistanford-recycling/frequently-asked-questions/frequently-asked-questions-holiday-waste-prevention#:~:text=Q%3A%20How%20much%20extra%20waste,million%20extra%20tons%20per%20week!

4) https://www.worldwildlife.org/stories/how-to-reduce-food-waste-this-holiday-season