8 Ways To Green Your Mother This Mother's Day
Image courtesy procsilas at flickr
There are now oodles of guides to buying green gifts for your mom on Mother's Day. Here's our take on this year's fabulous finds. And while the organic flowers-organic chocolate-organic spa basket thing is all well and good, what if your dearest wish is not to just buy green for mom but find ways to get her to be green, or greener? Every mom is different - and some of your moms may be your personal inspiration - but if you want to offer your mom a service rather than just give her a gift, we've collected some TreeHugger ideas for off-beat ways to show your love and support mom on her green path.
1. Start slow, slow, slow. Value shifting is not a short-term process, so don't expect your mom to come around over night. And try not to bombard her with negative eco-facts. Instead, if your mom is a real newbie (or really resistant to your former efforts) choose just a single area to focus you service on - something dear to your mom's heart like her garden, the kitchen, or the bathroom. Danish researchers have found that adopting one environmental behavior usually leads people to adopt another, especially if opportunities are around for further "greening." So basically, if you can find the one green thing that truly resonates with your mom, chances are she'll be started on the road to further greenness. Need inspiration for which area to start with - check our guides for How to Go Green.2. Let the messages come from another source. Sometimes convincing the ones we love seems practically impossible, and then they get the same information from someone else and presto, they're hooked on the idea you've been selling all along. That's okay, adults need lots of varied learning reinforcements. If your mom's a reader, you can choose from among some lively and well-written green bibles such as Cradle-to-Cradle (if she's a bit techie), The Monkey Wrench Gang (for literary moms), The Omnivore's Dilemma (great for foodies), or go ahead and pre-order TreeHugger's very own forthcoming ReadySetGreen, an all-around great intro or step-up-the-pace greening guide. And here from Eco-Libris, are 10 other great book ideas.
3. Start a discussion group with your mom or help her start one in her neighborhood. The Northwest Earth Institute has championed neighborhood discussion groups on topics such as "Choices For Sustainable Living," "Menu For The Future," and "Voluntary Simplicity." NWEI's groups are self-guided discussion groups that can get local communities to take action together, and it can be fun and surprising to find out the real values held by your neighbors (and your mom!). NWEI has sister organizations all over the U.S. but the courses can be started anywhere.
4. But if your mom's NOT the book group or even the reading type, how about sending her an inspiring green-themed film? Here's a great list from Grist. Or, simply mailer her a starter video clip on the area you've focused on. For example, here's TreeHugger Karin Kloosterman's mom giving us the scoop about recycling in her area. There are lots of specific video clips on You Tube - here's another on composting kitchen garbage.
6. If like Karin's mom, your mom is recycle-ready there are some great ways to support her: buying neat-and-tidy stackable bins or bags and setting them up for her; or going all out and setting up a deluxe composting system for your mom - a NatureMill indoor system can be set up under the sink and creates great garden earth in two weeks - and don't forget a copy of TreeHugger's super Green Basics: Compost. Remember when you were kid and you wrote those cards promising to do the dishes or take out the garbage for a month and your mom told you it was the best present ever? Well, it was. So this year, instead of Organic Bouquet, give your mom a bunch of organic plant starts - the health food store or local co-op are usually the best place to find these - and plant them for her, too. Weeding her garden once or twice would be an excellent bonus.
7. No one is ever going to think a box of light bulbs is a charming gift, but how about showing up with enough CFL's to switch your mom's entire living space to low-energy bulbs? You can bulk buy them online. To make this a thoughtful service and a great gift, show up on Mother's Day with flowers or chocolates, the bulbs and the intention to change all her light bulbs for her, carting the old incandescents away for proper disposal.
8. So there's a chance that none of the previous tips will be right for your mom - her ideas are entrenched, she's still mad she can't use heavy lawn chemicals when you're around, and she really doesn't want to change. If all that's the case, food is the fallback. You make her the most delicious, all-organic, local and loving meal you possibly can - and you make it for her at her house, if possible, displaying the gorgeous organic ingredients. Think of all the times she fed you what she thought was nourishing food - now it's simply payback time. And if she does comment on how delish it was, maybe the segue is presenting your mom with a share in a CSA or home delivery of organic fruit or veggie baskets (find services in your area at Local Harvest). Best of luck!