Pick the Mother’s Day Gift That’s Best for Mother Earth
Ever since Mothering Sunday, a 17th-century British tradition, evolved into the American Mother’s Day holiday in 1914, flowers, cards, and other gifts have become a consumer ritual. This year, the National Retail Federation reports, Mother’s Day spending will eclipse $23 billion as for 86 percent of Americans dole out an average of $180 to celebrate Mom.
Before you order flowers or select a card, take a few minutes to understand your gift’s impact on Mother Nature. The conscious consumer will avoid the florist-delivered bouquet — sorry, Mom — and choose other gifts with careful consideration of their environmental impact. A little research reveals that commercially produced flowers aren’t good for the environment, not all greeting cards are created equal, and that sparkly bracelet could be very good — or very bad — for our planet.
Why You Shouldn’t Send Mom Flowers
The cut-flower industry has a heavy impact on the environment due to the amount of water, pesticides, and fuel required to deliver that beautiful bouquet to the recipient. Asia & the Pacific Policy Society warns that cut flowers are poorly regulated. As many as one-fifth of the pesticides and preservatives used in the cut-flower industry don’t pass U.S. food and health regulatory muster. Those regulations are not consistently enforced in the floriculture industry because flowers are not food; 80 percent of the flowers sold in the United States cross international borders and land in your mom’s hands full of chemicals she would not knowingly bring in the house.
Are Your Greeting Cards Green?
Greeting cards are another transportation-intensive Mother’s Day gift, but your deciding factor should be how the card is produced, distributed and delivered to Mom. The right responsibly produced card can be a gift to Mother Nature.
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Be Careful with Jewelry Choices
If jewelry is your gift of choice for Mom, make your selection carefully. Diamonds present a variety of concerns, from illegal sourcing and labor issues to an immense environmental impact. Consider Swarovski crystals, which are manufactured — not natural — gems, made with lead oxide and a secret combination of materials. Lead oxide is safe in crystals, so Mom can wear them with confidence.