Thanksgiving – the time to think about whom and what we are thankful for – has arrived! After you figure out where to go, what to eat and who to see today, consider the individuals responsible for your thanksgiving meal.
Conditions for workers are instrumental in making sure that the food that comes to us is safe. Workers (often immigrants and refugees) at meat processing plants do the most dangerous jobs in America at low wages. Recently, there were cases against facilities for not paying their employees. If this wasn’t bad enough, mentally disabled Iowa turkey workers were being exploited. Alarmingly, as the NY Times highlighted last week, work related injuries are underreported.
What can you do? Even if you cannot do anything directly to reduce the plight of hard working immigrants, here are a 10 things you can do for your fellow earthlings before, while and after you focus on your turkey, stuffing, yams and pumpkin pie.
1) Travel wisely. The article, “Reduce Your Thanksgiving Travel Footprint” provides 5 steps to reduce our environmental “travel” footprint during thanksgiving.
2) If you want to have a traditional thanksgiving dinner, “serve local and organic food”
3) Consider having a “vegetarian thanksgiving”.
4) After you’re full and confronting the dreaded pile of dishes in the sink, use environmentally-friendly dishwashing products.
6) While you’re online, show your support to the Midwest Immigrant Health project and organization by joining the Center for New Community facebook cause http://apps.facebook.com/causes/139891 and making a donation.
7) When shopping on Black Friday, think about how your trip can be environmentally friendly. Carpool or better yet shop online in your pajamas.
8) When shopping, pay attention to what you’re buying, how they were made, who made them, under what conditions, and what impact these items will have on the earth.
9) On the eve of immigration reform, stay informed & aware by reading newspaper articles and remember that immigrant rights are human rights. Discuss the importance of supporting immigrant rights with family and friends.
10) Appreciate everything around you that you usually take for granted and have a happy, healthy and safe thanksgiving!