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Going Green Mothersday for Mom
Mom. Mother. Mum. Mommy. Whatever you call her, there's a special day devoted to all things Mom. Every mother is different, but the most common Mothers Day traditions involve flowers, brunch, jewelry and cards. Unfortunately all of these Mothers Day favorites have a big impact on the most important mother of all - Mother Earth. Find out about the ecological impact of your green mothersday gifts and activities below.
Paper, Paper Everywhere of Green Mothersday
Hopefully Mom is Internet and email savvy in this day and age. If so, push her a little further and jump on the e-card bandwagon. E-cards are readily available for free, will definitely reach their intended recipient on time and save resources as well. Over 155 million cards are sent every Mothers Day, making it the third most popular card-sending holiday. All of those cards require a lot of resources add to our 85 million tons of paper waste generated every year and damage the green mothersday environment.
Paper greeting cards require virgin forest resources along with water and fuel. All so they can end up in the landfill once they've been displayed for the appropriate amount of time. Paper production is responsible for about one-fifth of the world's total wood harvest. In addition to the loss of trees, the pulp and paper industry emits large amounts of global warming pollutants. It is anticipated that their carbon dioxide emissions will double by 2020, despite the tremendous strides the industry has made to minimize their impact on the green mothersday environment.
If you still can't bring yourself to give up the solid greeting card at least send greeting cards made from recycled content. You might even look for cards made from renewable fibers such as hemp, bamboo or kenaf. Believe it or not they do exist and are surprisingly common. Mom will be proud of you for being such a conscientious eco-citizen.
The Stink on Flowers at Green Mothersday
Flowers are almost as common as green mothersday greeting cards when it comes to Mothers Day. But only 6 percent of the $40 billion in flowers we spend every year are eco-friendly. More than 70 percent of the flowers sold in the US are imported from Latin America...where they allow the use of dangerous chemicals and pesticides that are banned from use in the US. The flower industry is not the most socially responsible or environmentally-friendly of industries, despite its' pretty looks. From unfair labor practices to flat out dangerous working conditions, imported flowers mask a dirty side. Those pretty blooms have likely made quite a long, fuel-intensive journey as well to get from Latin America to your local florist shop.
Fear not! You can still impress Mom with bouquets of flowers. Organic, biodynamic, local and fair trade flowers are out there. They may be a bit harder to find and cost a little more, but the trade off will be well-worth it. You won't be supporting the dirty and dangerous flower industry, you'll be giving Mom safer blooms, you'll support local businesses and your flowers will smell better and last longer than the pesticide-laden blooms. You could always pick Mom a bouquet from your own, hers or a friends' garden. Better yet, give her some flowers that she can plant herself to enjoy year after year. Another option is to provide her with a houseplant. Although, not fragrant or brightly colored, houseplants can clean the air and brighten up green mothersday home now that you're gone.
Dirty Gems of Green Mothersday
Does Mom love jewelry at green mothersday? That shine and sparkle hides the very dirty and very dangerous side of the jewelry trade. Gold-mining is one of the worst. Not only is it one of the most polluting of industries, the weight of waste produced by US mines alone equals almost nine times the weight of garbage produced by all US cities and towns combined. From mining pollution and habitat destruction to ecosystem contamination and unfair and dangerous labor practices, metals and gemstone mining create a host of environmental ills.
Treat Mom to some green jewelry, and no I don't mean emeralds! You can find recycled metals, diamonds and gemstones that are mined with environmental and labor conditions in mind. You could offer to reset a gemstone she already owns, scour antique and second-hand stores for vintage pieces or opt for jewelry made from recycled and reclaimed materials.
Green Eats for Green Mothersday
Mom shouldn't have to cook on her green mothersday, right? Many of us seem to think so, judging by the sheer numbers that enjoy brunch or dinner out on Mothers Day. Before making plans, chew on this: restaurants consume more energy per square foot than any other US industry, use large amounts of water and produce an average of 50,000 pounds of trash each every year. Why not impress Mom with a home-cooked meal? You can show her what you've picked up from her over the years. If you never quite got the hang of cooking, try to find a "certified green eatery" or patronize restaurants that serve organic and/or locally grown food.