A Greener Mother's Day

Posted on May 1, 2015

Mothers are pretty awesome people and when May comes around, all the times we forgot to say "thank you" or "I love you" can be rectified (or at least we try!)  And being greener doesn't mean you have to skimp on being great to your mom, grandma, or, as my son likes to say, "mother figure"! How can you celebrate Mother's Day while still being good to the planet? We've got some great ideas that are kind to your mom and kind to our planet.

1. Flowers - to give or not to give? When your mom gets flowers, does she ooh and ahh? Then think about local flowers rather than ones dragged from halfway across the world.  Transportation, storage, and many other costs increase the carbon footprint of many cut flowers. Or better yet, think about getting her a gorgeous potted plant that will last a lot longer or if she's a gardener, a shrub or plant that she'd love to add to her garden. For ideas, check out local garden centres like Blue Grass Nursery & Garden Centre or Bow Point Nursery.

2. Homemade cards. If you've taken the time to make a card with love, particularly with found materials in your home, it can mean a lot more than a store bought one. I still have some of the cards my son made for me when he was young and I've made a collage out of them that hangs in my bedroom. I know he's secretly proud I've kept them all this time and it makes me happy to look at it before I go to bed.  Here are some ideas for materials you can re-purpose that are already in your home!

3. Food - yummy, no work required, food! Who doesn't love a meal that includes your favourite dishes but doesn't require any work or a need to do the dishes? Your mom would likely love to have her family around her and a meal of some of her faves cooked and served without her having to lift a hand! Not sure your cooking skills are up to snuff? Think about taking her out for a meal at a local restaurant like Ox & Angela's and bring the family together just to celebrate the awesomeness of your mom!

4. Things that sparkle. Does your mom like jewelry? While beautiful, this industry is pretty hard on the environment. Consider that it takes 5 tonnes of water and 20 tonnes of mine waste to produce a simple gold ring! If you still want to go the sparkly route, think about finding a unique pre-loved piece of jewelry - estate auction houses, or socially responsible jewelers can help you find something lovely while not requiring additional resources from the planet.

5. Think about legacy gifts. You could buy a tree to plant in your mom's honour (and send her an e-card at the same time) and bring her to the site to include her in the planting. Does she love a particular park? Maybe donate a park bench for many others to enjoy. You know your mom best so determine what you think she'd be absolutely delighted by, would enjoy herself but would also take pleasure in seeing others enjoy as well!

6. Lover of local arts. Does your mom love the opera or symphony? Perhaps local theatre? Why not buy tickets to an upcoming performance or a season subscription and book a date with your mom? It might not be your thing but this is her gift (and no complaining allowed!). And you are supporting our local arts which add to the vibrancy of our city!

7. Ethically made free trade stuff. While we don't advocate buying more stuff, sometimes it's what your mom really wants. So think about purchasing fair trade or ethically manufactured goods instead of mass produced items.  Do a quick search online with "Fair Trade" and "Calgary" and you'll be amazed at the range of products on offer. Another great resource is to check out REAP for local sustainable businesses.

8. A day at the spa. Is going to the spa together a mom & daughter tradition? While spas and beauty salons can often use harsh and toxic products that run down our drains and affect our ecosystems, there are some local spas that try to operate as sustainably as possible. You can find some of them on REAP's website or talk to the spa you usually go to and ask if they incorporate sustainability practices in their operations. Learn more about what to ask here.

9. The gift of time. In a hectic world, sometimes all your mom might love this Mother's Day is some quality time with you! A quick chat or visit once a month may be all you can squeeze into your busy schedule, but your mom may want a little more time than that. Why not schedule a day for your mom where you share some great experiences? It could be a morning in the garden, chatting and planting; it could be an afternoon of baking together, or perhaps enjoying a bike ride along the Bow...whatever it is, it doesn't have to be measured in dollars but in something more valuable and memorable.

What are you planning this Mother's Day? Thought about making it a little greener? Share your ideas on twitter or facebook. We'd love to hear them!