The EPA Sends Half-Assed Thanksgiving Message About Food Waste

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It’s no secret that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Donald Trump gives zero fucks about the planet. So imagine the irony of EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler urging Americans to “fill bellies, not landfills this Thanksgiving.”

Yet that is exactly the message Wheeler sent Wednesday morning about the food waste that typically accompanies my favorite holiday. Every Thanksgiving, 172 million pounds of turkey are wasted, along with 35 million pounds of cranberry sauce and 30 million pounds of gravy, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. That’s, uh, a whole lot of food. And it all winds up in landfills where it contributes to methane emissions.

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There’s nothing wrong with Wheeler calling out the disgusting way we waste food every Thanksgiving. What’s wrong is that nowhere in this statement does the agency mention climate change. Readers have to squint to catch a mention of the link between food waste and the climate crisis: “Landfills are the third largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States,” the statement reads. And that’s really the only time we see this connection. Instead, the press release goes on about “those less fortunate” who suffer from food insecurity as though the agency actually cares about the most vulnerable in our country.

I mean, look at this load-of-shit quote from Wheeler in the statement:

“One way to act on the gratitude we feel this holiday season is to use food without waste. By wasting less and feeding people instead of filling landfills, we’re preserving our environment, caring for those less fortunate, and supporting our local communities.”

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You know how we can actually preserve the environment? By reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Caring for those less fortunate? Perhaps we should start by better regulating the industries that pollute the air and water in communities of color. And you know what, Wheeler? Supporting local communities involves actually meeting with them instead of, say, industry assholes.

I bet industry goons are all raising a glass to Wheeler (and Trump, for that matter) this holiday season. As for me? I’m thankful we could only have one year left of these clowns and their phony environmentalism if Trump loses the election.

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About the author

Yessenia Funes

I mostly write about how environmental policy and climate change intersect with race and class though I occasionally write about animals, science, and art, too. We all need an escape, right?

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