A 4th of July Roundup

liberty tree flag
Public Domain Liberty Tree

It's funny when you look back at TreeHugger's Independence Day stories; most used to be themed around declaring Energy Independence and conserving fuel. Since the explosion in fracking of the last few years, energy independence has a whole new meaning and it ain't green. I suppose we should have been careful what we wished for.

We also get accused of being tedious wet blankets when we complain about fireworks and barbecues and meat and generally having a good time, so here is a roundup of our past posts on the 4th of July with only a touch of dire stuff. Of course, we start with a tree.

How an Elm Tree Helped Win America's Independence

So this year let's be positive, with Stephen's uplifting story about how treehuggers were part of the revolution: How an Elm Tree Helped Win America's Independence.

...as pre-revolution angst grew, the Liberty Tree continued to be used as a gathering point for dissenters in Boston, until the tree itself became symbolic of their struggle. Inspired by that humble tree which had become emblematic of freedom, new Liberty Trees came to be designated across the original colonies as places for early advocates of independence to meet. Indeed, the revolutionary ideals of those in attendance at such gatherings, like Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, John Hancock and Patrick Henry, were very likely born in the shade of an elm.

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7 Cocktail Recipes Inspired by Victory Gardens for the Fourth of July

© Jerry James Stone

Jerry James Stone does not share my view of exploding things. He writes:

I'm not supposed to admit this but I love fireworks. I know they are evil, as is everything else that is fun to do, but I love them. And for that reason, the Fourth of July was one of my favorite holidays growing up.

He celebrates by making fruity cocktails that celebrate the garden. More in TreeHugger

Ten Ways to Avoid Carbon from Barbecues This 4th of July

No, we are not saying don't barbecue and don't eat meat today. It's a holiday. "Don't toss out the Smokey Joe along with the farmed shrimp just yet. Here are ten steps to greener grilling with lower or no carcinogenic risk:"

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35 Inspiring recipes for 4th of July, from cocktails to mains to desserts

From raspberry serrano sangria to watermelon gazpacho, from grilled vegetable salads to grilled fruit and cheese platters, we have amazing recipes for you to try for the summer holiday. And that includes desserts! More in TreeHugger

A Declaration of Independence from Foam Plastic Insulation

Charles Édouard Armand-Dumaresq /Public Domain

There is a revolution going on in green building, being fought in the States and in Congress, as the green building industry tries to minimize the use of plastics made from toxic materials, fossil fuels and flame retardants, and the giant chemical industry and its plastic empire loyalists fight to defend their plastic turf. In honor of the day, Ken Levenson rewrites the Declaration of Independence with 14 oppressions. More in TreeHugger

1776-2012: Main sources of energy in the U.S. since the first Independence Day

EIA/Public Domain

Birthdays are a good time to look back and reflect on the road traveled thus far. On July 4th, the U.S. is celebrating one more year, so why not look back at how the country's energy usage has evolved over time? On the graph above, based on data compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, you can clearly see all the major trends of the past 2+ centuries. More in TreeHugger

May We Look Back on San Diego's Mighty Firework Fail with Wonder

Finally, instead of doing the usual complaining about fireworks (I did that already this year) we look again at the great fireworks fail of 2012, where all of San Diego's fireworks went off at once due to a computer glitch. It's pretty spectacular. Brian wrote:

Much has been written about the militaristic overtones, the repetition, the oddness of the holiday that celebrates our nation's birth. How millions gather at dusk every year to watch a volley of explosives fly into the air and to eat hot dogs and cheer. Seeing San Diego get the nuke instead of the carpet bombs, I can't help but wonder if sometime in the future, when resources are scarcer, belts tighter, we'll all look back on this strange, excessive ritual and go: what the hell?

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Tags: Holidays