Focusing on the Thanks-Giving

By: Tatia Elizabeth

I love the English language, but specifically I love to take words and break them down to get a new meaning out of them. For instance, wonderful becomes wonder-full. I love the way it makes me take the time to look at things a little differently.

And now we’re in the season of Thanks-giving. I love a good turkey dinner as much as the next gal, but honestly, the only way to have a truly zero-waste Thanksgiving is if you grow your own food and raise your own turkey, but I doubt there are many of us that do all of it, all the time. Sure, we’re moving in that direction on our little homestead, but what do we do in the meantime?

It’s the season of giving thanks, although shouldn’t that be what we do every day? Here’s the way I see it: I love my children and my family, but if I am not willing to do absolutely everything that I can to leave them a healthy, beautiful planet to live on that will support their health and happiness, then how much do I really love them? Beyond that, my family inspires me every day to be better, to do better, and to try to inspire others to do the same. I am more than thankful for them. I am in awe that they allow me to love them the way I do and my gratitude only grows every day, expanding beyond just my family. It encompasses everyone and everything.

This gratitude is what inspires my zero-waste lifestyle. If I really am grateful for the meal that we’ll enjoy next week, I want to show the farmers that grew the food and raised the turkey that I appreciate the hard work that they put in every day, just so that I can have an afternoon of healthy, local, nutritious food. I want to know where that food is coming from and I want to give thanks to those that provide it for me. Yes, that takes more effort, but it’s a great adventure too. It’s about knowing your farmer, going and visiting that turkey that will be on your table, and seeing the beauty of the life cycle.

So that bird won’t be wrapped in a plastic wrapper, sitting in the grocery store freezer, with little to no real attention ever paid to it. It will be harvested with true thanks, humanely, with every bit of that bird put to use. Nothing will be wasted. The fruits, vegetables, and grains will either come home in a basket from the farmers market, picked fresh off a tree, or ground in the grain grinder. Yes, our meal will be smaller than most, but that’s ok. I would rather be, and act upon, my gratitude, than mindlessly consume, with no thought for the future that I leave to those that will come after me.

For me, Thanksgiving isn’t about the food, although I really do love the food. It’s about showing my friends and family how much I love them by being the example and wasting nothing, showing them simple, easy ways to create less waste, spending time with them, and creating a better world together.


About the Author:

Tatia Elizabeth is a certified sustainability consultant, radical homemaker, unschooler, doTERRA wellness advocate, and homesteader. She is also the admin for Toward Zero Waste Haywood County, NC Facebook group. Her background is in alternative and natural medicine, preparedness, self-reliance, environmental science, and domestic history are the backbone of her life of zero-waste, sustainability, non-consumerism, and environmental responsibility. She has studied environmental issues, natural medicine, preparedness, and domestic history for the better part of 30 years and it is her journey to share the knowledge of how the health of one’s environment affects human health with her community. She offers classes, workshops, presentations, and courses on a variety of subjects that is she is passionate about, as well as consultations and mentorships. She is the mother of 4, plus one bonus son. She is married to her beloved, a retired Navy veteran and on the board of a local non-profit, Women of Waynesville. She is currently in school, receiving her BA in health & wellness with an emphasis on environmental science and domestic history. She can be reached at or at