Archive for November 2019 | Monthly archive page

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By Erica Meier

Thanksgiving traditions are all about sharing gratitude and celebrating life. A growing number of Americans are choosing to share and celebrate on Thanksgiving by dishing out delicious plant-based foods that everyone, including the planet, can be thankful for! 

As an ever-increasing body of evidence confirms, animal agriculture is a leading cause of resource depletion, deforestation and pollution. Every day, each of us can take steps to protect the planet, while also protecting animals and our own health, by putting more plants at the center of our plates.  Cooking up a delicious compassionate feast is easier than you might think. 

Feast on This  

Making plants the centerpiece of our holiday tables was the focus of DC EcoWomen’s recent event, Greening Your Holidays: Plant-Based Cooking Demo & Tasting. Vegan chef Jessica Carter ( and vegan baker Robin Walker (Wilma Bakes Cakes) walked us through how to whip up simple dishes that are free of meat, egg and dairy yet full of flavor that made our taste buds sing for joy.  

We learned how to make — and then feasted on:

That’s just for starters. There’s a cornucopia of plant-strong recipes to enjoy this holiday such as savory stuffing from, sweet potato casserole from and squash and lentil stew from OhSheGlows.  

There’s also an abundance of options when choosing to carve into a savory meatless roast, such as Tofurky, Field Roast’s Celebration Roast,  Gardein’s Stuffed Turk’y and more! These can usually be found in the frozen section of most grocery stores. 

This Thanksgiving, we can express our gratitude by celebrating with more plant-based foods– and help protect the planet, our health, our communities and animals. 

Plantiful Pumpkin Pie 

  • 12-14 ounces of firm tofu
  • 1 16-oz can of pumpkin
  • 1½  teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ? cup oil (scant) 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup brown sugar 
  • 1½  Tablespoons molasses 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix/Blend all ingredients together and pour into a graham cracker crust (or crust of your choice). Bake for one hour. Chill and serve with vegan whipped cream! 

Erica Meier is a DC EcoWomen Board member and she’s also the president of Compassion Over Killing, a national animal protection organization that hosts the annual DC VegFest and promotes plant-based eating a way to build a kinder, greener, and healthier world for all.

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By Emilie Karrick Surrusco

Generosity is a word that’s used a lot this time of year. As Giving Tuesday – the global generosity movement that encourages people to do good for at least one day – approaches on December 3, I find myself pondering the meaning of the word. To me, generosity is about sharing your bounty. And, while I, for one, sometimes find myself holding back because of perceived deficits – everything from finances and time to relationships and health — it’s empowering to focus instead on the abundance I have to give and share.

As French feminist Simone de Beauvoir once said: “That’s what I consider true generosity: You give your all, and yet you always feel as if it costs you nothing.”

DC EcoWomen provides ample opportunities for generosity. As an entirely volunteer-run organization, we are only as strong as the generosity of our nearly 6,000 members. Everything we do – from unique outdoor activities, to our signature EcoHours, to an online space to share ideas and events – happens because of our creative, innovative — and generous — membership.

Amid our 15th anniversary year, DC EcoWomen needs your help now more than ever. In 2020, we’ll be looking for ways to grow and expand our reach, and the inclusivity of our approach. Because in today’s fragmented, highly-fraught political climate, there has never been a more important time to build a welcoming, inclusive community of women to foster personal and professional development.

Following are several ways you can give and share your abundance with DC EcoWomen:

  • Join – Share and collaborate with DC EcoWomen by becoming a member and bringing your voice to one of our many events, and professional development activities.. Sign up for our newsletter and community listserv to find out more, and follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedin and Instagram.
  • Donate – DC EcoWomen accepts donations through Givepulse. Tax receipts are provided via email (Donate $15 for 15 years!).
  • Blog – Interested in writing about environmental or women’s issues? Join our blog team and lend your voice to the DC EcoWomen platform.

More information on opportunities to get involved and donate are available at Join me in giving the best you have to offer. While you’re at it, don’t forget to share how you’re giving back your best things in life. We’d love to know – tag @dcecowomen and #GivingTuesday!

Emilie Karrick Surrusco is a member of DC EcoWomen’s board of directors, and manages the DC EcoWomen blog. Emilie is also communications professional with more than two decades of experience helping progressive nonprofits and political leaders craft messages to create change. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband, three children and their beloved puppy. To connect with Emilie, visit  


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The holidays are almost here — which means that the season of eating is about to begin! DC EcoWomen board member Erica Meier shares how you can make a difference for our planet during this holiday season by choosing to eat a plant-based diet.  

By Erica Meier

The international scientific consensus is clear. Report after report paints an alarming yet sobering scene: Global warming is real, it’s happening now and human activities are largely to blame. 

The forecast is bleak: Worsening weather extremes and severe storms, disease outbreaks, altered coastlines, and more, with negative consequences on human health, particularly those in impoverished or marginalized communities. Specifically, according to Oxfam, women around the world, including in the US, will continue to be disproportionately affected by climate change. Which is why climate action must engage and benefit women and girls.  

As alarming as this message is, however, it’s not new. There’s been growing scientific consensus on this topic for years, if not decades, with environmental advocates and others waving red flags the whole time.

The good news is that there’s something more immediate and tangible we, the people, can do right now that will have a lasting collective impact: Eat plants.

There is widespread agreement in the research community, including reports from the United Nations, that raising animals for food is a leading cause of pollution and resource depletion. One of the most important actions each of us can take to reduce our environmental footprint is to choose plant-based foods. 

For example, did you know:  

  • It takes 420 gallons of water to produce just one pound of grain-fed chicken? 
  • The amount of manure produced on factory farms is three times greater than the amount of waste produced by humans — and there are no sewage treatment plants for animal waste? 
  • The production of animal feed, including pastures for grazing, takes up almost 80% of the world’s agricultural land resources?
  • The cattle industry is responsible for 80% of the forest clearing in the Amazon? 

In addition, hidden cameras are routinely capturing the immense suffering forced upon billions of animals each year behind the closed doors of the meat, egg, and dairy industries — and more recently the aquaculture industry.

Imagine how much more efficient and sustainable our food system could be if we ate plants directly rather than funneling them through farmed animals. A recent report by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences put a number on it: the production of plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy is two- to 20-fold more nutritionally efficient per unit of cropland than our current resource-intensive animal-based system.

As stated by the United Nations in 2006: “Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems.” In 2010, the UN further declared that “a substantial reduction of impacts [from agriculture] would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change away from animal products.”

More recently, a lead researcher on a report published in Science summed it up in The Guardian by concluding: “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth … it is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car.”

And yet, the herbivorous elephant in the room remains largely ignored in discussions about how to fight climate change. The answer is literally in our hands: We can use our forks! 

As we continue to work towards policy change and corporate reform, we can also take direct action by diverting our monetary support away from foods that are destroying our planet and causing animal suffering, and instead green our diet with more plants. 

Without a doubt, our food choices matter. Every time we sit down to eat, each of us can stand up for the planet, our health and animals. We can start today simply by making our next meal a plant-based one.

Erica Meier is a DC EcoWomen board member. She is also the president of Compassion Over Killing, a national animal protection organization that hosts the annual DC VegFest and promotes plant-based eating a way to build a kinder, greener, and healthier world for all.