Green Mother's Day Gifts
Planet-friendly ideas for Mother's Day gifts to please both your mom and Mother Earth. For more great green tips all year long, sign up for daily green tips from The Green Life.
Treat your mom to ethical chocolate and wine that'll keep her taste buds and conscience happy. Check out Sierra magazine's top picks for artisanal, organic, and fair-trade chocolates and our experts' recommendations for sustainable wines.
Organic, fair-trade bouquets are an instant pick-me-up, but potted plants look just as good, last longer, and improve air quality.
A Year of Fresh Fruit
If your mother enjoys cooking with seasonal ingredients, treat her to a year of locally raised fruits and veggies. Contact a local CSA farm to make your mom a member.
The Gift of Time
Skip the stuff and give your overworked mom a break by volunteering to run errands (on your bike, of course), prepare a healthy dinner, or tend the garden.
A Piece of the Planet
Help the Sierra Club protect the planet by sponsoring a wild place in your mother's name. She'll get a photo, a certificate, and a cute stuffed animal.
Since paper is made of trees, and paper mills use immense amounts of water and emit tons of chemicals, imagine the impact it would make if all Mother's Day cards were recycled or electronic. Even recycled cards, though, end up in the landfill, where they emit methane as they decompose. One alternative is to make a card out of old magazines and wall calendars. Another is to give a card made of plantable seed paper; bury it and when the paper biodegrades, the seeds grow into wildflowers.
To give flowers mindfully, choose an organic bouquet. Non-organic flowers can contain 50 times more pesticides than is legal to have on food. Buying local is a good idea too, since 80 percent of flowers sold in the U.S. are imported from Colombia and Ecuador on refrigerated airplanes. Better to give home-grown blooms, to buy what’s in season from the farmers' market, or to give a potted plant, which lasts much longer.
Choose Organic Chocolate
Of all crops, cocoa demands the second highest use of pesticides (first place goes to cotton). But toxicity isn’t a requirement. In fact, the sweet stuff tastes better when producers honor USDA organic standards, which prohibit the use of harmful chemicals. This benefits our bodies and the earth, by preventing all those poisons from getting into the soil, water, and air. Not sure which organic chocolate to choose for your sweetheart? Check out our picks here.
Green Her Crafts
If Mom's a DIY fiend who's always hunched over her next creative project, equip her with sustainable supplies, safe paints, a book or two about eco-crafts, a lesson (if she needs one) about how to use Craigslist and Freecycle, and maybe some Earth-friendly fibers. If she's more of a fix-it gal, consider getting her Energy Star-qualified power tools. Or just up her inspiration level by promising to take her to a green-minded festival like the delightful Renegade Craft Fair.
Green Her Athleticism
If Mom's the type of gal you can find hitting the gym, running a trail, taking a yoga class, or cycling to work, make sure she's minimizing the impact of that impressive stride. Outfit her with eco-shoes, a durable water bottle (no plastic, please!), yoga gear from a conscientious company, or membership to a human-powered or LEED-certified fitness center. To save the e-waste (and the money) of buying gadgets, direct her to smartphone apps such as this pedometer or this timing-and-distance tool.
Green Her Fashion
Many of the women we know have at least a minor love affair with fashion. If your mom does too, and especially if she’s always gotta be up the latest trends (and you can’t convince her to buy vintage), get her excited about the newest offerings from ethical designers like Stella McCartney, Nina Dolcetti, Lara Miller, and Kris Nations. Another great place to buy eco-fashions -- and support DIY artisans -- is Etsy. And if your typical mother-daughter (or -son!) bonding day happens to happen in a shopping mall, change things up for Mother's Day and take her on a well-planned hike instead.