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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Environmentalists: make it ‘Hallowgreen’

    The most frightening part of Halloween is what it is doing to our planet, according to some environmental experts.

    When you think of Halloween, the environment may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, the Nature Conservancy is out to make Halloween eco-friendly by publishing a segment on their Web site called “”Green Your Halloween.””

    “”Green Your Halloween”” warns against buying “”chocolate that’s unsustainably harvested, prepackaged costumes made of non-recyclable materials, lighted decorations that suck energy like a vampire and pumpkins trucked in from thousands of miles away.””

    Melanie Lenart, research associate for the Institute for the Study of Planet Earth, said too much waste is generated on Halloween, and people should take the time to reduce their purchasing of disposable items.

    “”When you start packaging things individually, that just creates more waste, which goes in landfills, and that’s a problem,”” she said.

    The Web site encourages readers to buy pumpkins at local farmer’s markets instead of ones shipped from far away because the environmental costs of food transportation are often overlooked.

    “”Anything that uses gas or oil is increasing our greenhouse gases, which is increasing the problem of global warming that we’re facing,”” Lenart said.

    “”It’s scary how much food is contributing to our greenhouse gas problem, when it doesn’t necessarily have to,”” she said.

    People can help the environment if they dispose of leftover pumpkins themselves by burying them in their yards, instead of throwing them in the garbage to be taken to a landfill.

    “”About 25 percent of the nation’s waste that goes into landfills is actually food products that could be composted.”” Lenart said. “”Landfills create methane, which is a major greenhouse gas and about 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide.””

    The site also suggests an alternative to the traditional pumpkin carving: faces carved in peeled apples and soaked in one cup of lemon juice mixed with one tablespoon of salt. If the apples are aired for a week, they’ll shrivel into deformed “”shrunken heads,”” according to the Nature Conservancy Web site.

    The Web site also warns against chocolate made from the mass-production of cacao beans, often grown with synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.

    “”Most conventional agriculture uses fertilizers and pesticides, which can be problematic,”” Lenart said.

    As an alternative, the Web site suggests homemade treats and provides links to other environment-friendly Halloween treats, such as National Geographic’s “”The Green Guide’s healthy Halloween”” (http://www.thegreenguide.com/doc/110/candy), and Endangered Species Chocolate (http://www.chocolatebar.com/index.asp), which sells pesticide-free chocolate and donates 10 percent of its profits to help endangered species.

    Because Halloween is all about the costumes, the site encouraged homemade costumes available at used clothing stores rather than the store-bought costumes that are non-recyclable and covered in packaging.

    And if you want to take the extra step to raise awareness about environmental issues with your costume this year, Suite101.com suggests “”10 eco-friendly costume ideas,”” such as dressing up like a compact fluorescent light bulb or even “”global warming.””

    “”Green Halloween”” also encourages people to limit the amount of lighted Halloween decorations they use, and encourages trick-or-treaters to carry a reusable tote bag for candy, instead of paper or plastic, which kill marine animals, pollute the environment, and kill more than 14 million trees annually.

    For a full list of ways to go green for Halloween, visit: http://support.nature.org/site/PageServer?pagename=envirotips_200710&autologin=true.

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