(First published April 24, 2008, last updated April 20 2010)
Mothers are pretty special people; toiling away for our benefit for many, many years; well past our childhood and teenage trials. Mother Nature has been personified as a female for thousands of years, representing the giving of life, sustenance and nurturing- and it’s quite fitting.
If you observe Mothers Day, honor your mom and Mother Nature by giving her a green gift this year!
The race is on to grab your Mothers Day gift dollar – some retailers say she needs diamonds, others peddle expensive perfume; but stop and think about it a little. If your Mom is someone who cares about you and the natural world as so many mothers do, why buy her something that may contribute to poisoning her and the planet?
While I have not observed Mothers day for many years – in part due to my mother passing away a while back; I do remember how my mom appreciated nature and increasingly so as her time of passing drew near.
If she received flowers from someone, she wouldn’t just look at them and give them a perfunctory sniff; she would marvel at length at their beauty – gently touching the leaves and petals, viewing them from all angles and admiring their shape and texture. Flowers were a feast for her senses.
Cut flowers are usually a winner with moms; but so many flowers are imported from other states and sometimes internationally. This requires extra resources in terms of fuel for transportation, refrigeration and at times other treatments to keep them looking fresh. If you decide on flowers as a Mothers Day gift; try to buy ones that are grown locally.
Better still, perhaps potted flowers, herbs or decorative plants that can be planted in the garden – that way she’ll have a gift that won’t wither and die within a short time.
Gifts that sparkle are definitely popular with moms; but the jewelry industry has wreaked havoc on the environment. For example, it takes up to 5 tons of water and 20 tons of mine waste to create a simple gold ring! Consider buying something pre-loved, from a socially responsible jeweler or items made from glass, shells or recycled materials. It may sound a little tacky, but there’s some truly beautiful pieces available!
Many perfumes are made up of toxic chemical cocktails, components of which are not only hazardous to the environment, but to human health. Some of the common chemicals used are carcinogenic! Look for perfumes labeled as being organic and carrying the appropriate certification.
It’s the same situation with cosmetic items – chemical cocktails that wind up in the human body or flushed down the drain to pollute the environment. Again look for organic products and those based on plant materials, such as olive oil..
Another Mother’s Day favorite – but did you know that many candles are made from crude oil byproducts? Burning candles releases all sorts of nasty stuff; including benzene, styrene, acetone and particulate matter. The wicks on some candles may even contain lead! Additionally, scented candles may contain more synthetic chemicals. As a more earth friendly and healthy choice, soy candles or candles made of beeswax are the way to go and for scented candles, look for soy or beeswax ones that incorporate essential oils – and have a non-lead wick of course.
Sponsorships and memberships
Mothers being the caring folk they are generally derive great pleasure from helping others. Perhaps a donation in her name for a tree planting or a conservation project might bring her joy? Maybe a membership to an online organic cooking club? A trip to a health spa? The possibilities are endless.
Fair trade clothes and accessories
Look for items made from organic cotton and produced in fair trade conditions. “Fair trade” is a term applied to products that meet certain conditions relating to labor (non-sweatshop), environmental standards and social policy. For example, if you wanted to buy your Mom a handbag as a gift, run a search on your favorite search engine for :
fair trade handbags
Or “fair trade” preceding any product you’re thinking of buying – you’ll be surprised the range of items now available.
Kitchenware and appliances
If you’re game enough to buy your Mother a gift that has anything remotely to do with domestic chores, good luck to you and tread carefully :). When purchasing electrical equipment, try to find items that consume as little power as possible and have recyclable components. Steer clear of cookware and other appliances with non-stick surfaces made from Teflon (learn more).
Green gift certificates
Sometimes its hard to decide on a gift for your Mother, especially a “green” one; so why not let your mom decide for yourself? Many green online stores now offer gift certificates and by giving a voucher to a store that specializes in environmentally friendly products, you might open up a whole new world for your mom! Finding green gift stores online is pretty easy as so many stores with a focus on the environment have popped up in recent years – search on terms such as:
green gifts mother’s day
earth friendly gifts mother’s day
When you give your gift, explain the big picture and thoughts behind it – you’ll be sure to especially impress your mom this Mothers Day with the thought and effort you’ve put into your selection!
Do you have great green gift ideas for Mom this Mother’s Day? Please share them below, I’m sure others will be appreciative!