We all want to show appreciate to the strong women in our lives. The ones who picked us up when we fell down and were witness to our proudest moments. The importance of gift giving is the thoughtfulness that goes into the gift. So choose a gift that your mom will love that also respects Mother Nature and Mother Earth.
Chocolate has long been the go to for special occasions and general mid-day happiness. ICYMI, behind the scenes of chocolate, is a hidden world that involves child slave labor and underpaid farmers, ecological destruction and intensive clearing of cacao’s natural tropical rain forest home. You may have noticed those Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance certifications popping up on chocolate bars near you. These are showing up because consumers are realizing the impact this sweet has on the rest of the world.
Choosing to purchase fair trade certified chocolates helps to ensure the cacao farmers who grow and harvest your beans make fair wages. It also reduces the likelihood that growers will resort to child slave labor. The same goes for coffee and teas, other commodities that are grown in intensive farming situations. It is these types of crops that can have a detrimental impact on the environment.
Fair Trade & Eco-Friendly Flowers
Behind those beautiful petals, the commercial flower industry hides a world of pesticides and insecticides. This is neither pretty to the earth nor the people who handle them. Most of the flowers sold in the US come from Colombia and Ecuador regulations aren’t as strict. This means companies can use chemicals illegal in the US and Europe. The greenhouse workers and florists exposed to these chemicals often die from toxic exposure.
Combined with the necessary temperature controls and storage to house these botanical pieces that will eventually die in a couple of weeks, the flower industry has a hefty environmental price tag. Estimates are that the 100 million roses purchased for a typical Valentine’s Day produce 9,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.
According to Scientific American, flowers grown in Kenya or Ecuador have less of an impact on the environment than those grown in California in the Netherlands. This is because Kenya and Ecuador have perfect temperatures year-round for growing flowers. Opt for flowers that are organically grown and fair trade certified or a plant that can be added to mum’s garden and continues to grow for years to come.
Eco-Friendly Dinner On the Town
Eating at restaurants leave a bigger carbon footprint than eating at home, but treating yourself to a nice meal with friends or family can be an occasional treat. Be eco-friendly by choosing restaurants that source their produce locally, serve smaller meat portions, or no meat at all. Also look for places that feature all re-useable products (even those cute upcycled dinner napkins).
A quick search online can usually land you some good hits of eco-friendly restaurants in your city, but if you’re in San Francisco, here’s a great list of really lovely, upscale restaurants that help you lighten your carbon footprint for Mother’s Day.
Fair Trade Home Ware
Hand made housewares are just so much sweeter. For every item in your kitchen, there is a fair trade alternative that allows you to have something beautifully crafted with a beautiful story to share. Instead of a mug that says, “Best Mom Ever,” why not a mug that tells mom you care deeply about the quality and source of the mug she drinks her coffee in every morning. The purpose of a gift is its thoughtfulness.
Kind to the Earth (And People) Jewelry & Clothes
Polyester, plastics, and dyes – the fashion industry, we’ve learned, has its own negative footprint on the planet. Never mind the poor working conditions and poverty found in factories that produce these products. Luckily, you don’t have to skip out on feeling fabulous. There are a number of companies working to create fair trade, eco-friendly clothing and jewelry using earth-friendly and recycled materials.
Whether you’re looking for shoes or a necklace, The Good Trade is a great site to find brands that produce sustainable clothing. Some others to check out are Marquet, The Root Collective, Batik Boutique, and this list of sustainable fashion brands we posted for Fashion Revolution Week.