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Moms teach their children a variety of lessons as they grow up – from how to tie their shoes to the importance of spending quality time with loved ones. As we get ready to celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend, Earth911 couldn’t help but realize that many of the values our moms imparted are actually very eco-friendly – whether Mom was an enthusiastic eco-advocate or not. From finding new uses for scraps others might have thrown away to encouraging us to stand up for our beliefs, here are five green lessons our moms taught us.
1. Family and friends are more important than material possessions
You know your mom would like nothing more than to spend some quality time with her kids this Mother’s Day – and would prefer this gift of time over flowers, jewelry and other store-bought presents.
Remember, the first “R” of the famous “three R’s” is to reduce: When you reduce your unnecessary purchases, you end up consuming fewer resources and disposing of less waste.
2. Nothing beats a home-cooked meal
No matter how old you are or how many Michelin-rated restaurants you’ve eaten in, there’s nothing quite like the comfort and warmth of your mom’s best homemade meal.
By steering clear of takeout lunches and frozen dinners, you’re cutting down on food packaging, including many materials which cannot be easily recycled through local collection programs – such as polystyrene foam clamshell containers or frozen food packaged in plastic bags.
3. Stand up for what you believe in
Mothers don’t just impart important values to their children; they also remind their kids to actively pursue their principles and defend their beliefs when they are challenged.
If sustainability is your passion, there are plenty of things you can do in your local community, school or workplace to make a difference and make your mama proud.
4. Waste not, want not
Maybe your mom is a regular Martha Stewart, mending worn clothes or fashioning elaborate centerpieces out of scrap materials that others would have thrown away. Or perhaps your mom’s resourcefulness takes a more simple form, saving rubber bands from the newspaper delivery or glass jars of spaghetti sauce to use later. Either way, mothers are known for stretching a dollar by following the second “R” in the “three R’s” – reuse.
5. Lend a helping hand
Mothers are known for helping others before thinking of themselves. This Mother’s Day, why not follow Mom’s example and help individuals in need by donating your unwanted items to charity?
Clear out your closets of unwanted but usable clothes and drop them off at a local homeless shelter or secondhand store like Goodwill that provides employment opportunities to people with disabilities or criminal backgrounds.
Have shoes you don’t want but are still in good condition? Your old kicks will find a second life with Soles4Souls, a nonprofit that refurbishes old shoes and provides them to individuals in need.
You can also trade in old electronics for a good cause. Donate your old cell phone to Verizon’s HopeLine program, which provides used working cell phones to victims and survivors of domestic violence, or allow your old iPad to be used as teaching device in low-income public schools when you send it to the Teach for America program.
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