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5 Ways to Have a Greener Mother's Day

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Need a restaurant recommendation or a gift idea? Celebrate Mother’s Day with these 5 earth-friendly tips.

Thank goodness for Mother’s Day. It’s a time for moms to be pampered, to relax, to take the day off from dishes and housework and breaking up sibling squabbles. And believe me, it can’t come fast enough in this household.

I’m pretty traditional when it comes to how I want to spend my day: Bring on the brunch, the cards, the flowers and gifts! But even the most conventional of celebrations can celebrate not only our own mothers, but also an even more important matriarch: Mother Earth. Here’s how:

1. Make your brunch or dinner reservations at a restaurant that incorporates local and organic ingredients. If you don’t know one in your neighborhood, you can search for one online on the Eat Well Guide. Look for menus that list the names of the farms where they get their goods, or that mention if certain ingredients are organic, free-range or pastured — all buzzwords that indicate that the produce or meat is raised with natural, chemical-free and humane methods.

2. Or… skip the crowds and have brunch at home (with Dad and the kids doing the cooking and the cleanup, of course). You’ll save gas by not having to drive. Bonus points if your family shops at a farmer’s market prior to the meal, to buy pesticide-free, locally grown ingredients.

3. Skip the flowers, buy a plant. Instead of buying cut flowers, which die quickly, opt instead for a potted plant that will give Mom years of enjoyment by beautifying her home and even freshening the air. If it just won’t be the same without a big bouquet of roses, order flowers from a sustainable florist like Organic Bouquet, which has organically and sustainably grown flowers and treats and compensates its farmers and employees fairly, or consider “slow” flowers, grown locally.

4. Book a treatment at a green spa. Seek out spas that are sustainable: They conserve water and electricity, use skin care products that are free of harmful chemicals and provide organic-cotton towels and bathrobes. Find one at Green Spa Network.

5. Make her a card or a gift. Forget store-bought sentiments… the best cards are those that you make yourself! Round up scraps of fabric, miscellaneous stickers, bits of ribbon, and a bottle of glue, and go to town creating a beautiful masterpiece. Or make a frame for a favorite family photo — I’ve found one project that puts all those used-up plastic gift cards to good use as a mosaic-style frame.

Moms: How would you want to make your Mother’s Day celebration a little greener? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Jessica Harlan

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Every Monday, I'll be here to share one, two, three… sometimes even ten! eco-friendly ideas at a time, so we can all do a little bit to save the Earth.

When I'm not making lists, I'm taking care of my two daughters, volunteering in my community, and writing articles about food and cooking — I'm the author of three cookbooks: Ramen to the Rescue, Tortillas to the Rescue, and Quinoa Cuisine (co-written with Kelley Sparwasser), and my fourth, Homemade Condiments, will be available in Fall 2013.

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About the Author
Jessica Harlan
Jessica Harlan

I love finding new ways to green my family's life as painlessly as possible, and sharing those ideas with folks who want to do the same.

  • Josephine A. 2 years ago
    Plants are always put on graves in the cemetery. When they clean the place up, they toss out the containers. My brother & I go over there & get the bulbs that have been tossed out. That's recycling too & my yard gets new flowers that I didn't have to pay for.
  • James M. 3 years ago
    If you are a grown child, your parents/aunt/uncles have most everything they need. You might give them the option of a charitable gift to the charity of their coice - in their name, opf corse
  • sheila p. 3 years ago
    make everything homemade
  • paula g. 3 years ago
    Buy plants from an organic farm.
  • Wendi Y. 3 years ago
    To be honest, I'm disappointed by the article's consumerist, greenwashing approach toward sustainable living.

    Instead of buying a pre-grown (likely greenhouse produced and imported) plant, why not use heirloom seeds from a seed bank to grow a plant oneself for the special day?

    And, all five points focus on buying "green" flowers/cards/food/ad nauseum but what about spending the day volunteering/participating in a cause (literacy, Susan G. Komen walk/run, gardening, the arts, etc.) or donating to a worthwhile cause she supports in her honor (Charity Navigator is a great non-profit database that ranks charitable organizations)?
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