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Have A Fun, Safe And Sustainable Fourth Of July

With the Fourth of July holiday weekend upon us, Earth Eats rounds up some of the best tips to keep your parties healthy, safe and fun.

fireworks display above new york city skyline

Photo: tomvu (flickr)

Earth Eats helps you green your Fourth of July celebrations with a round-up of the best green holiday tips from around the web.

With the 4th of July holiday weekend upon us, we wanted to collect some tips to help you have a fun, sustainable time over the next few days. There is certainly no shortage of lists, stories and blog posts about what to do for the 4th, but we’ve rounded up some of the best (in our opinion) – enjoy!

NYC 4th of July Fireworks, 2007 by Barry Yanowitz on flickr

Photo: Barry Yanowitz/Flickr

The Menu

One of my favorite sources for any recipes and food news is The Atlantic, and their 4th of July all-encompassing menu is another reason why.

Look here for great tips on the best cocktails (with cool names like “The Dark and Stormy” and “The Ice Pick), simple skewers featuring asparagus and bacon, a yogurt/garlic/cucumber dip, three(!) different ways to do grilled beef with roast chili sauce, an amazing-looking blue cheese bacon burger, open-faced BBQ Tempeh sandwich, what they call a “simple” salad, a carrot/cayenne-based coleslaw, fresh, warm cherries and otherworldly-looking chocolate cake.

If you’re keeping track, that’s a list of at least 14 items, with recipes to make sure your 4th party is a major hit. And if you’re thinking you have your food choices down already, I dare you to look at the photos of these items and not change your mind.

The Menu, for Vegetarians

And just in case all the choices on The Atlantic’s 4th menu don’t appeal to you because you’re a vegetarian, they certainly have not forgotten about you. Though not as detailed, they offer suggestions to people who may get lambasted for “not being American” because they don’t eat meat on the 4th of July (HA!) in a survival guide of sorts.

BBQ the Right Way

The Daily Green offers up some healthy BBQ’ing tips, which walks you through buying safely, cooking safely and also offers up a few vegetarian BBQ suggestions of their own. Two of their best suggestions are to not eat potato chips and make sure to curb your desires by mixing healthy food with the inevitable consumption of things that are not as good for you. You can also read Chef Orr’s rundown of his favorite grilling tips on our blog.

Stay Organic

Whether you’re a vegetarian or not, there are other things you can do to keep the cookout/party “organic,” according to The Daily Green. Things like buying your food local and organic, using sustainable briquettes for the grill, drinking local wines keep it all organic.

Think About What You’re Celebrating

Though the 4th of July is a celebration of our American-ness and independence from Great Britain, one Planet Green poster urges us all to think about how we are all really connected. And not just to the United States, but the entire world. It’s an interesting thought, and even if you don’t agree, it’s okay to take time to consider it, no? And you can certainly celebrate the improved “greening” of our great nation.

Watch Someone Else’s Fireworks

It probably comes as no surprise to you, but fireworks are not the best thing for the environment. Reports have shown that the after-effects can be found for an extended period of time after the fireworks are actually fired, mostly in bodies of water. And the results of those after-effects are not good.

Though there have been some attempts to create “green” or better-for-the-world fireworks, probably 99 percent of the ones sold at the local retailer are not going to be like that, so to keep the environment in better condition, go and watch someone else’s display instead of buying your own to fire off in the backyard. Every little bit helps.

There you have it, with these suggestions, you’re on the way to an awesome 4th of July weekend.

Cory Barker

Cory Barker is a summer intern for Earth Eats and senior IU student from Hartford City, Indiana. He is double majoring in journalism and communication and culture with a minor in business.

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