Canada and the United States have a lot in common. We’re on the same continent, both our flags contain red and white and we’ll both soon celebrate Independence Day: July 1 (Canada Day) and July 4 (Fourth of July). Even our Independence Days include many of the same traditions, such as barbecues, fireworks, parades, picnics and special sporting events. Whether you’re waving the Maple Leaf or decked out in stars and stripes for the holidays, here are a few ways to celebrate the green way.
Barbecues: One of the greatest Canada Day and July 4th traditions is barbecuing. Unfortunately, this timeless convention can also be toxic to the environment, increasing your carbon footprint and releasing harmful emissions into the atmosphere. Reduce your environmental impact by opting for an electric or natural gas grill – both will release far less carbon dioxide than traditional propane or charcoal grills. When it comes to what you’ll put on the grill, try using chicken, vegetables, veggie burgers and veggie hotdogs or grass-fed beef (note: conventionally-raised cattle use five to eight times more water, land and other resources per pound than their grass-fed counterparts or chickens).
Fireworks: Another independence holiday staple in both countries, fireworks contain chemicals such as potassium perchlorate and barium nitrate that pose an environmental hazard. On this blog, we recently gave you a few green alternatives to fireworks, including taking in a laser light show, making a small campfire, cracking some glow sticks and entertaining the kids with DIY-noisemakers.
Parades: Marching in or watching a parade is a perfectly eco-friendly way to spend your country’s independence day. However, if floats are involved, it could turn this time-honored tradition into a giant carbon footprint. Ticker tape, confetti and the materials used to make the floats all create one big mess of litter and waste – not to mention the slow, steady stream of CO2 the cars driving the floats emit as they move along the parade route. Stick to waving your country’s flag as marching bands make their way down Main Street, and if you are building a float, see how you can use recycled and sustainable materials, like this Mardi Gras artist.
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