Green Room

How to celebrate the 4th of July

posted at 9:40 am on July 2, 2011 by

Or how not to. The Huffington Post cautions that celebrations of our country’s birthday “can be catastrophic to the environment”:

— the holiday tends to bring with it tons of trash, hazardous fireworks, and polluting cars. While some traditions should be embraced, others may need to be tweaked so that future generations can enjoy both this holiday and this earth, as well. Here are a few tips to make your Independence Day more pleasant for you and the world in which you live.

Follow these HuffPo tips for a less planet-killing 4th:

– Don’t buy fireworks (that is if they’re even legal in your state — they are here in Virginia and our neighborhood will be having a blast shooting them off in the street as soon as it gets dark).

– Carpool. (Or have yourself a few kids. Then you’ll be carpooling every time you get in the car.)

–  Whatever you do, don’t eat meat! “Sure, hot dogs and hamburgers might be an American tradition, but sometimes traditions need to change a bit, especially when the safety of our world is a stake.” Good one!

– “Rethink” grilling. Coal is bad, but so is propane. (See previous tip and eat lettuce instead.)

– Compost your 4th of July garbage: “Don’t have a compost? What better day to start one than on your holiday!” Enjoy!

Et cetera.

It’s not strictly green — it does contain some world-safety-threatening animal products (cream, eggs, butter) — but we’ll make our annual flag cake as usual. (This version involves actual baking. Ours is whipped cream and fruit on top of sliced-up pound cake. Lazy but good.)

(Not our actual cake but virtually the same.)

You’re probably not surprised that a Harvard Study Shows Republicans Enjoy 4th of July More Than Dems. Parades, like county fairs, are unsophisticated, free of edge or irony.

But in Wisconsin, they aren’t free of politics: Firefighters union puts politics over honoring 9/11 firefighters. The Troglopundit reports:

In Racine, Wisconsin (my original home town), the local firefighters’ union is turning its back on a July 4th float honoring 9/11 firefighters because the firefighter behind the float doesn’t support the union’s politics. [. . .]

This is an Independence Day parade float, honoring firefighters (and police) who died on 9/11. But, sorry Lt. Gorniak: you don’t support the union’s politics? We won’t support your float.

You may think I’m going to berate the union for that. Nope. I’m all for them showing Wisconsin exactly what they stand for, and this is a perfect example.

And what they stand for in this case is themselves. That’s it. It appears that union membership can be hazardous to your mind. Someone needs to find a way to deprogram these guys.

Don’t get all carried away with that new compost pile and forget to read Mark Steyn’s weekend column: Dependency and Demagoguery: A not so Glorious Fourth:

Oh, c’mon, do you want to compromise your kids’ safety in order to give grope breaks to dying nonagenarians? A spokesgroper for the Transport Stupidity Administration explained that security procedures have to be “the same for everyone” – because it would be totally unreasonable to expect timeserving government bureaucrats to exercise individual human judgment. Oddly enough, it’s not “the same for everyone” if you’re Olajide Oluwaseun Noibi from Nigeria, who on June 24 got on a flight at JFK with a college ID and an expired boarding pass in somebody else’s name. Why, that slippery devil! If only he’d been three-quarters of a century older, in a wheelchair and dying of leukemia, we’d have got him! He was arrested upon landing at LAX, and we’re now going to spend millions of dollars prosecuting him. Why? We should thank him for his invaluable expose of America’s revolting security theater, and make him head of the TSA.

Read the whole thing.

What a long way we’ve come since that first 4th of July. If you’re within striking distance of Mount Vernon, it might be the perfect place to be on our country’s birthday:

Historic Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, salutes our first commander-in-chief with a dazzling display of made-for-daytime fireworks during its annual Independence Day event! Visitors will be treated to spectacular smoke fireworks in patriotic colors fired over the Potomac River. The event also includes an inspirational naturalization ceremony for 100 new citizens, military reenactments, a special wreathlaying ceremony, and a visit from the “first” first couple, “General and Mrs. Washington.”

New this year – Mount Vernon will have 500 bottles of the George Washington Rye Whiskey available for sale! Head to The Shops located in the Mount Vernon Inn Complex or the Distillery & Gristmill to purchase one of the 500 bottles of whiskey distilled on site. Each 375 ml bottle retails for $95. Whiskey sales begin at each location at 10 a.m. on July 4 and continue while supplies last. (To purchase, you must be 21 years or older and have a valid photo ID).

9:30 a.m: General Washington’s Inspection of the Troops:

Reading of the Declaration of Independence and a demonstration by the First Virginia Regiment on the Bowling Green.

10:00 a.m: 50th-Annual Independence Day Wreathlaying: A ceremonial wreathlaying at Washington’s Tomb by the George Washington Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution.

11:00 a.m: United States Citizenship & Immigration Services Naturalization Ceremony: A special Independence Day naturalization ceremony for America’s 100 newest citizens in front of George Washington’s home.

12:00 p.m: “Red, White, and Blue” Concert: Patriotic performance by the National Concert Band of America.

12:45 p.m: Pyrotechnic Salute to America: Unique daytime fireworks display over the Potomac River!

1:00 p.m: “Happy Birthday, America!” Cake: Birthday cake (while supplies last) on the Bowling Green.

1:30 p.m: Revolutionary War Military Music: Demonstration by the First Virginia Regiment on the Bowling Green.

2:30 p.m: Revolutionary War Military Drill: Demonstration by the First Virginia Regiment on the Bowling Green.

More on Washington’s whiskey here. Wishing you a fun, non-catastrophic weekend.

Cross-posted at P&P.

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Great article!
Thanks for the Steyn link.

How to celebrate the 4th of July

Why does everyone say “4th of July” instead of “Independence Day”?
No one says “Merry December 25th” or “Happy January 1st.”
Seriously, why?

itsnotaboutme on July 2, 2011 at 10:35 AM

I’ve always wanted to celebrate the 4th by riding to Al Gore’s house in a Mulsanne Blue 1970 Chevelle SS custom resto-mod, sporting white stripes pinstriped in red, and a GM Performance 572 cu in 675 hp aftermarket crate engine.

Custom 1,000-,2000 watt sound system, blasting out Skynard’s Free Bird while doing NASCAR style burnouts in his driveway.

Wouldn’t have time to grill anything before the cops showed up, so that would have to be ahead of time off site.

Fireworks can be worked in, but a real quick salvo.

Happy Independence Day, Al. 🙂

Brian1972 on July 2, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Argghh. The NY Times had a similar article “Fire up the grill, not the atmosphere.”

Summary: We aren’t supposed to boil potatoes to make potato salad, it’s too wasteful. You will hereby save the earth by not heating up a pot of boiling water once a year, and pan-frying your salad potatoes instead. Are you freakkin’ kidding me?

This is so stupid. There’s no sense here as to relative magnitude. On the $36 of electricity it takes you to run your stove for an entire YEAR, that 25 cents worth of electricity it saved to pan fry the potatoes instead of boiling them will save the atmosphere? NO, it will not! Obsessing over things that are insignificant helps no one. It’s stupid. Beef takes 68 more times the energy to produce than potatoes do in the first place. Obsessing how to cook a potato is stupid. The whole thing is stupid.

Lets all just jump over hoops and make life harder and more miserable to save less than 1% of our energy usage which won’t do diddly squat to the CO2 content of the atmosphere, but preens our sense of do-gooderness and makes us “feel” like we are helping.

Just build me a nuclear plant and let me make all the potato salad anyway I want for cryin’ out loud. Damn luddites.

Allahs vulva on July 2, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Why does everyone say “4th of July” instead of “Independence

No one says “Merry December 25th” or “Happy January 1st.”
Seriously, why?

itsnotaboutme on July 2, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Glad to know I’m not the only one.

I figure that some say it to avoid talking about what we’re celebrating. But that doesn’t explain the ones who do want to talk about it.

The Monster on July 2, 2011 at 1:31 PM

Every year the same suspects come out and try to tell us what we can’t do on Independence day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, President’s day, etc. And, every year I ignore all the wonderful “advice” they give and celebrate the holidays the way that I want to. Charcoal, turkey, Christmas tree, and, yes, the United States Flag.

JohnTheBuilder on July 2, 2011 at 2:09 PM

So: take a scenic drive in the RV just for the hell of it, crank the A/C at home and abroad, put the lights on early and often, grill as much chicken, beef, and seafood as you can using at least one fossil fuel (wood, charcoal, gas, up to you), feed an army on disposable tableware, set up a water slide in the back yard, run the sprinklers to keep your feet cool, cook and bake for 24 hours straight, run the dishwasher as often as necessary, shower whenever you need to (this is a lot of work!), make sure you’re wrapping everything in plastic to dispose of it, keep plenty of tunes, TV, and cold drinks going, and demonstrate the powers of your power tools to everyone you can get to stand still for 5 minutes, as a prelude to everyone on the block shooting off his own fireworks when the sun goes down.

No sweat. Can do E-Z.

J.E. Dyer on July 2, 2011 at 4:00 PM

That’s the spirit of ’76!

Pundette on July 2, 2011 at 5:19 PM

Fireworks (check)
Large garbage bags for trash (check)
full propane tank (check)
Meat lots and lots (check)
compost pile well established for garden (check)

Burn pile at the ready for paper products (check)

We won’t be going anywhere, so I will try to burn something extra to make up for the loss of carbon footprint. maybe I’ll just let the truck idle in the driveway for a few minutes.

kringeesmom on July 2, 2011 at 6:34 PM

I fear commenters who object to “4th of July” instead of “Independence Day” have a point:
(Though these folks don’t know what the “Independence” part means, either.)

Pundette on July 3, 2011 at 7:22 AM

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