To nurture is, “to care for and encourage the growth or development of.”
Growing up, our moms play a significant role in nurturing us, oftentimes the most significant. They are instinctively there for our every need, from the moment they are aware of our existence. Moms nurture us with the foods that will nourish our bodies, they are our first teachers, and they shove everything aside to comfort us each and every time we fall. The challenges of being a mom are great, and mistakes are inevitable; but there is no one who will try harder to do their best for us than mom.
I think there is something equally instinctive in many new moms, to nurture the planet as well. This planet that will provide their children with a lifelong adventure–a place to explore, dream and play. I know that when I became pregnant with my first child, I wanted to learn how to grow the healthiest baby I possibly could. I read so many books during those 9 months–books that taught me how our world was far from perfect, but there were still ways we could gain some control over our children’s outcome. Even better, this same path would enable us to nurture their planet, simultaneously.
Those two roles are mutually beneficial. “Nurture your child, nurture your planet. Nurture your planet, nurture your child.” When we limit our children’s exposures to damaging toxins in their food, products, air, etc, we also limit the damaging exposure of these toxins on our planet. Our moms are amazing in so many ways, and the fact that they find time to nurture our planet is worth recognizing.
There are so many wonderful environmental organizations out there that are led by moms. Here are a few that I found that really impressed me.
Mom’s Clean Air Force
Mom’s Clean Air Force is a special project of the Environmental Defense Fund. These moms are fighting their darndest to keep the air that their kids breathe, clean. They stay on top of climate change issues, air pollution, and toxic chemical exposures; working together on campaigns for decreasing mercury levels in the air, cleaner cars, fracking regulations and safer chemicals. They currently hold chapters in 19 different states; and they organize power summits in cities all over the country.
Mothers Out Front
Mothers Out Front is a powerful group of moms that work for climate justice. Together, in large numbers, they lobby for change through cleaner energy and so much more. Currently, they are hosting showings of the National Graphic climate change documentary, From Paris to Pittsburgh, in cities all over the country.
Evangelical Environmental Network
I was pleasantly surprised to come upon a religious environmental organization, because I honestly don’t think of religion and climate change activism going together–boy was I wrong! These ladies are doing awesome work, and proving to everyone that evangelism and environmentalism can indeed come together. They follow their guidelines for creation care, a beautiful way to worship their God through nurturing the environment he created.
When you are buying a gift for a mom who actively works to preserve our planet, you need to think outside of the box a little. The environmentalist mom definitely doesn’t want to contribute in any way to plastic waste, bee killing or crazy weather patterns. Typical gifts like bouquets of flowers and gift cards just won’t cut it. Here are some ideas to get you on a more sustainable path.
When I think of eco-friendly gifts, experiences definitely top the list. There is often very little waste involved in this type of gift. On top of that, it is often a gift that you can enjoy together; and what could be more appropriate than celebrating your relationship with your mom?
A Culinary Treat
If your mom loves cooking real meals, you could take a cooking class together. Check your local Whole Foods for classes going on there, or try another organic grocery store near you. Or you could sign her up for Green Chef meal prep delivery kits and prepare one of those meals together. You get $50 off and free shipping on your first order. While I normally shy away from meal kits due to waste, I appreciate Green Chef for their certified organics and sustainable packaging.
Another option is to check with her favorite yoga studio for workshops or retreats she might be interested in. Or find a more natural-minded spa for organic pedicures, free from toluene. Can’t find one nearby? Purchase one of these organic polishes and bring it along with you!
When going with an “experience gift,” its also a good idea to try to avoid your standard gift card. Most of them are made using pvc and, while there are places to recycle them, it does take extra effort beyond your curbside bin. Some retailers–such as Target, Aveda and Whole Foods–have switched to more biodegradable versions. No, they can’t really be incorporated into your existing compost; but simply dig a small hole, bury the card when you’re done and it will slowly disappear.
Alternatives to the bouquet of flowers
As green as you may feel when ordering flowers from your local florist, it really is an option that is severely lacking in sustainability. You see, the majority (80%) of the 5.6 billion-a-year stems sold in the floral industry, are imported from all over the world. That makes for an amazing and gorgeous variety that woos customers; however, there is a better way. One that also doesn’t coat the environment in bee-killing pesticides.
You could search for flowers labeled either Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance, or you could opt for the easier route and pick up a pretty potted plant from your local nursery or farmer’s market. Another option is to surprise mom with her own flower garden filled with bee-loving plants.
Upcycled & Organic Gifts
Etsy is a great place to find a variety of upcycled, vintage or organic gifts using greener materials. For example, I did a search for “organic gifts,” and this is what I came up with. Here’s a search for “upcycled gifts.” And here is what a search for “vintage gifts” yielded.
As we encroach upon the big day, however, it may be a better bet to go with the faster-paced shipments of Amazon.com. In that case, here is what I came up with when searching for “eco-friendly gifts” on Amazon.
Moms are Amazing
When it comes right down to it, our moms are simply amazing in their multi-faceted beauty, and they deserve our recognition this Mother’s Day and every day. Go out of your way to make mom feel extra special this Sunday. And now you have some ideas to get you started.