University City

Honor Mother Earth on Mother’s Day

If I had to pick a Mother’s Day present to give to Mother Earth, it wouldn’t be a fancy card or a bunch of plastic-wrapped roses.

I know it’s the thought that counts, but I hate to add more to her already bulging landfills. That’s the last thing Mother Earth needs right now. And, come to think of it, our own moms deserve better, too.

I’m not a gender determinist – women and men, to my mind, are created equal in terms of such basics as intelligence, nurturing ability and leadership potential. I’m a proud father of a daughter, after all.

Still, to be honest, sometimes it does appear to me that women have a better handle on caring for the Earth than men do.

Look at the female environmental leaders, from author Rachel Carson raising the alarm about pesticides in “Silent Spring” to zoologist Jane Goodall bringing us closer to our first cousins, the chimpanzees, to Wangari Maathai starting a movement that has planted millions of trees in Africa.

Closer to home, when I think about local issues such as clean air and sustainable healthy food, I realize women are just as important here in Charlotte.

A complete list would fill this Sunday paper front to back. Just for starters, there’s June Blotnick leading the Clean Air Coalition, Nadine Ford spearheading the county’s home recycling and composting effort (and supporting community gardens in her spare time) and Christy Shi working tirelessly for a stronger local food system.

This Mother’s Day, inspired by these examples, why not consider some less consumer-driven and more Earth-friendly ways to express love and appreciation for the wonderful moms (and grandmas) in our lives?

Earth-friendly events

For instance, how about taking Mom to a local Mother’s Day event with an Earth-friendly theme? All the following are scheduled for May 12.

Besides exploring the garden, now filled with spring flowers, moms can also take part in complimentary yoga classes starting on the half-hour from 10 a.m. The whole family can enjoy tea, treats and carriage rides that go deep into Stowe’s florific hinterlands.; 704-825-4490.

Buffalo Exchange no longer uses plastic bags, according to its website. That’s a boon to aquatic wildlife that should make Mother Earth smile. And there’s a discount for anyone who has one of the store’s Mother’s Day postcards., 704-372-2300.

This unique celebration will begin with a community feast of fresh, local food prepared by noted Charlotte chef Craig Barbour and Roots - Good.Local.Food. Then three Charlotte-area farmers and food entrepreneurs will share their projects, visions and hopes: Birdsong Farms, Cold Water Creek Farms, and Bountiful Harvest Farm.

Tickets are $20. Proceeds will be pooled and distributed among the presenters, based on a vote, “American Idol”-style (though nobody goes home empty-handed).

According to Carol Peppe Hewitt of co-sponsoring organization Slow Money NC (and author of the newly released book “Financing Our Foodshed”), the first Funds-to-Farm event earlier this year in Durham was tremendously fun and a satisfying and effective way to directly support innovative farmers.

Other Charlotte sponsors include the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and Atherton Mill Farmers Market (created and managed by Lynn Shanklin Caldwell, another good example of a woman who is making a difference for her local community and for the Earth).; 704-372-3212.

For the gardening mom

Meanwhile, what about a tangible present?

If you have a gardening mom (or one who likes to fish), I suggest a padded lid that turns a 5-gallon bucket into a combination garden seat and tote. There are lots of choices online and at local sporting goods stores that carry fishing supplies ( a “3/4” lid is best, since it allows you to reach into the bucket).

Add a cloth “garden tool caddy” (again, lots of choices – Fiskars has one, for instance), and your garden mom will be sitting pretty.

On the other hand, as Jean Nick (herself a mom) writes on the Organic Gardening website:

“Take it from me: Your mom doesn’t need any more stuff! What she really wants is some quality time with her favorite people…and perhaps a day off from her routine chores. If you can make those things happen, you’ve got a lock on Son or Daughter (or Husband or Partner) of the Year.”

To tell the truth, though, at least at my house, some high-quality chocolate never hurts (preferably organic, Fair Trade and wildlife friendly, of course).