Written by Joanna Ouellette
I have worked New Year’s Eve for almost a third of my working life, in hotels and restaurants. This year, am looking forward to a quiet family-style New Year’s Eve, as has been the case in the past few years. But before this, I popped more than my share of corks; probably hundreds combined on New Year’s Eve alone. I didn’t known about cork recycling programs such as this one, from green materials manufacturer Yemm and Hart, or RecorkAmerica; or even if they were around. If I had known, I could’ve had a kitchen floor made from my vast collection of corks, recycled.
In the past few years I have celebrated “family style”; celebrating the New Year five hours early with my family in England, with a glass of sparkling wine and perhaps some imported cheese; English Cheddar, Stilton Blue and a creamy fromage such as camembert. Of course, this is hardly an example of sustainable behavior, but being a native Englander, this is a tradition that I want my family to experience. It is a custom that I want my son to pick up (whether he will is another thing!) and if he doesn’t experience these customs through me, they will be no more, in no time. This is my current challenge of sustainability; can I make other “sacrifices” in the name of sustainability, sufficient to offset the carbon footprint of a block of Stilton Cheese travelling from a village in the English midlands to Bradford, Massachusetts?
So I’m making a pledge for my own sustainable TerraBluYear’s Eve that tries to redress that imbalance. Instead of French champagne, Spanish cava or California Sparkling Wine, I’m going to check out some local vineyards for a sparkling wine that is organic and produced using sustainable practices. I will limit my imported cheeses to one, probably Stilton, and buy delicious, farm-made local and regional cheeses, such as Vermont Cheddar and a soft Berkshire Blue from Massachusetts.
So, what do you think? Will my solution offset the cost of importing that block of stilton cheese? Is it worth giving up the Total Sustainability Solution for the preservation of my own traditions?