Our national day has always been green.
And with our tips on how to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in an environment friendly way, you can make the feast day even greener.
Here are our suggestions:
1. Avoid plastic decorations
In Ireland, we don’t have a particularly good track record of cleaning up after ourselves. Every year, at the end of St. Patrick’s Day, the evidence of our partying can be seen on the streets, in the shape of discarded plastic flags, wigs, beads and other Paddy’s Day paraphenalia.
Ditching the cheap plastics does not have to mean a drab party. Why not choose decorations made of durable materials, like wood. They may cost more the first year, they will last longer and, because you made a conscious decision to buy them, you are more likely to take care of them. Reusing your party gear means you are reducing your burden on the planet.
2. Eat locally grown produce
St. Patrick’s Day is all about the company, and sharing a meal. This year, why not make a meal at home, using organic and locally grown foods? There is plenty of choice of good Irish organic produce, and you might even like to use only green vegetables, to stick with the green theme.
Try a green smoothie, or green kale and cabbage. And while you are at it, have a look at our tips on how to reduce food waste.
3. Go vegetarian for the special Day
Scientists have long pointed out that meat-heavy dishes like stew, lamb or corned beef have far greater environmental impact than their meat-free counterparts. For instance, it is estimated that it takes about 13,500 liters of water to produce just 1 kg of beef.
While measuring and comparing the environmental impact of different foods is not simple, this BBC article shows that the production of meat is one of the greatest sources of greenhouse gases.
If you choose to avoid meat for just one day, you can find inspiration for a vegetarian St. Patrick’s Day meal online, or you can go a step further, with this vegan St. Patrick’s Day meal.
4. Enjoy the great outdoors
What could be greener than spending St. Patrick’s Day outdoors?
Go for a walk, hike or bike ride with family and friends. Or do a bit of gardening; it’s eco-friendly and good for the mind.
There is growing evidence that time spent in nature has a positive impact on mental as well as physical health. Exeter University’s Dr. Matthew White’s research shows that spending 120 minutes in nature per week resulted in all groups reporting improved feelings of wellbeing.
The elderly, young people, those with mobility and health issues, and the fit and healthy all reported the positive impact of time spent in nature, whether that was sitting still and taking in the sights and sounds of the great outdoors, or conquering a mountain peak.
5. Unplug for the Day
Go on a little digital detox. Put your mobile phone away, and turn off the computer screen.
Fight the urge to check your social media accounts. Spend time talking to your friends and family instead.
The carbon footprint of your mobile phone is much higher than you might imagine: Leaving aside the energy and rare minerals needed for the production of your phone or laptop, the 7.7 billion mobile phones that were in use worldwide in 2020 had a combined carbon footprint (ie. the amount of greenhouse gases emitted using them) of roughly 580 million tonnes of CO2e.
If you are using your mobile phone for as little as an hour a day, you are contributing 63kg CO2e on an annual basis.
6. Green your home with plants
Get some plants. Green plants will not only give your home life, they can also help purify the air and lower indoor air pollution levels.
Studies have shown that houseplants can also positively impact psychological health. As this RHS article suggests, indoor plants can reduce stress, improve mood, and lead to better concentration and productivity.
7. Ditch the car
This St. Patrick’s Day, opt for green transport modes: walking, cycling or public transport. Taking public transport has the added bonus of some company on your festive travels.
Sharing the journey also ensures that you don’t have to deal with issues of parking, and additional associated costs.
Just make sure to be Covid-safe, and take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.