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Amber Waves of Green

The ultimate Ask Umbra guide to a red, white, and green Fourth of July.

Explosives. Plastic cups. Barbecues. Hot dogs. Independence Day can be a dazzling carnival of guilty pleasures, especially for a concerned environmentalist.

However, with the help of Grist’s friendly neighborhood advice columnist (hey, that’s me!), you can declare independence from trashing the planet with an ease that would make your foremothers proud. Wake up tomorrow with a little less guilt (and a very patriotic hangover):

  • The Fourth of July can get pretty smoky with all the barbecues and bonfires, so consider festive yet greener alternatives like stargazing parties or even glow-in-the-dark dances.
  • The liquor: Nothing’s perfect, but I’ve got a list of what’s best to drink — out of a non-plastic container, of course.
  • It’s 2017, people! The Fourth of July need not be a meaty affair. However, if you do eat meat, get your steaks and ribs from local ranches and butchers. You could even go for less appreciated cuts if you’re feeling audacious, like chitterlings or gizzard. Nothing more festive than a locally sourced barbecued liver, am I right?
  • Perhaps Trump’s anti-science cabinet has you feeling … less than patriotic. I get it. That’s why I made a guide to get you shaking off your apathy and kickstarting your thirst for justice. Today: the community fireworks display. Tomorrow: the emotional fireworks of bettering the world through community engagement!