Here are ways you can be “greener” for Mother’s Day and going forward:
Reduce. Try to buy less — especially those things that have a negative impact on the environment, such as plastic tableware if you have company coming for Mother’s Day dinner. Reduce your energy needs. Winter is finally over and it’s warmer inside and out. Open your windows and let the fresh air in. If it is really hot, set your thermostat no higher than 78°F (26°C) when you are home and higher when you are away (information from the U.S. Department of Energy). A programmable thermostat can make this easier to do.
Reuse. If you go out to eat, bring your own containers to take home the leftovers. Styrofoam can take hundreds of years to decompose and is one of the most frequent pollutants found in our oceans. Even more scary is that fish and birds often mistake styrofoam for food and eating too much can be a death sentence. Is Mom a coffee drinker? A great present would be reusable coffee pods for her coffee maker. According to an April 2016 article in The New York Times, the 9 billion single-serve non-reusable plastic coffee pods sold in 2015 “placed end to end would circle the globe roughly 10 times.” Let’s not contribute to that pollution.
Recycle. Many communities have single-stream recycling, which does make it easier as the paper, glass and plastic all go into the same containers. However, when glass and plastic are recycled, they should not have food residue and I admit sometimes I fall short in this respect (do you know how hard it is to get a peanut butter jar clean?). We all need to try harder to put out cleaner items.
Cooking for Mom? Try a vegetarian meal. A recent position paper on vegetarian diets from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states: “Plant-based diets are more environmentally sustainable than diets rich in animal products because they use fewer natural resources and are associated with much less environmental damage. Vegetarians and vegans are at reduced risk of certain health conditions, including ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, certain types of cancer, and obesity.” Going forward, think about “meatless Mondays” or whatever day of the week works for you.
The Jewish Energy Guide. You can download the free guide and find articles about the sources and cost of energy; its impacts on climate change; and how we can change the inheritance we are leaving to the future inhabitants of our world.
Delicious and healthy vegetarian and vegan recipes