7 ideas for a sustainable Mother’s Day

Celebrate Mother’s Day without hurting Mother Earth. Here’s how extra thoughtful choices can help the environment.

For many of us in Adelaide, there’s nothing that says Mother’s Day more than pulling over to buy a bunch of chrysanthemums from an entrepreneurial soul along the side of a main road. The good news is, buying gifts like this for mum not only helps support your community, but also means a smaller carbon footprint.

1. Buy local

Australians spend about $200 million each year on flowers for Mother’s Day to tell their mum that they love and appreciate them. But did you know some of the flowers at your local florist or supermarket might have been sourced from as far away as Kenya, Vietnam and Ecuador?

The carbon emissions from flying flowers in and refrigerating them isn’t helping the planet. These flowers are subject to higher use of pesticides to get through stringent Australian quarantine laws too. So why not look locally at your nearest farmers’ market, or support the shared economy and try the road side florists?

2. Buy in-season flowers

Buying local means you’ll be buying flowers that are in season and grown in their natural environment. They’ll last longer and your mum’s photos that she shares with her friends – bragging about your gift – will look a little different from the standard. Do your research on what’s in season when.

Why not include this poem in your e-card to mum?

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
I haven’t got you roses Mum
Because I like you. 

Instead I’ve got you natives
I thought about it too
By making this little change
I’ll protect the Earth for you.

3. Why buy a flower when you can buy the whole bush?

Consider buying a potted gift, like a plant, some herbs or even a tomato bush. Your mum will think kindly of you every time they gnaw into their salad, and your gift will last a lot longer than a fresh bunch of flowers. 

Plants help cool the air and reduce emissions and they look pretty good too. You could always make a day of it and take mum to your local garden centre so she can choose something herself. Just remember to steer her towards the natives section.

4. Steal from your grandma

Ok, we aren’t really advocating stealing. But cutting flowers from your own garden – or your grandma’s pristine patch – is way more personal. You can use the money you save to take mum out for a nice breakfast.

5. Give an eco-friendly gift

If you’re looking for something different this year, get mum a bike – it’s the gift that burns the right kind of fuel and keeps down emissions while boosting her fitness and helping her enjoy the outdoors. If your budget is smaller, there’s still plenty of easy to find eco-friendly gifts – from reusable takeaway coffee cups to upcycled jewellery, you can even buy beeswax food wraps these days and say goodbye to cling wrap.

6. Make your presence her present

Any parent will tell you a month of making lunches, or doing dishes, or perhaps a weekend sleep-in, is a present money can’t buy. It’s personal and usually fairly cheap. Or go on a hike with mum through one of our state’s wonderful national parks, and don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch.

7. The ultimate eco-friendly Mother’s Day gift

Take mum along to the inaugural World Environment Fair from 3-4 June at the Adelaide Showground. It’s free entry for kids with heaps of fun activities for them, and great tips and ideas for grown-ups.

This article was written with help from Good on You.

Main image – Bill Cooksely from Rich Pickings at the Adelaide Farmers’ Market (image courtesy of Andre Castellucci)

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