Rich Whitney: ‘What to do on Mother’s Day’

An essay by Rich Whitney

It’s great to have a day dedicated to honoring and appreciating motherhood. But instead of buying a card and flowers, how about doing something more meaningful — like honoring motherhood by volunteering some time for the peace movement?

Hey, flowers are great — in nature. But it is not really honoring motherhood, and certainly not Mother Earth, to support the commercial practice of growing tons of pesticide-laden flowers in Ecuador and Colombia, then consuming tons of fossil fuels to ship them to U.S. consumers — so that they can look and smell pretty for two or three days before being thrown in the trash. And unless labor conditions have improved in the last few years, the ephemeral joy that your mother might experience from a bouquet comes with a bitter irony. More than likely, the true costs include the suffering and pesticide contamination of mothers in Colombia or children in Ecuador.

Granted, there are fair-trade options available, and kudos to outfits like One World Flowers for providing them. But at a time when the global eco-system is in crisis from the reckless combustion of fossil fuels, it is frankly unconscionable and stupid to consume fossil fuels to ship masses of flowers to U.S. consumers so that they can buy 48 hours of transitory stimulation — especially when you and your Mom can just go outside and smell some blossoms or flowers in their natural state!

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4 thoughts on “Rich Whitney: ‘What to do on Mother’s Day’

  1. Carol Moore/

    Read Julia Ward Howe’s “Mother’s Day Proclamation”…

    Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be of water or of tears! Say firmly: “We will not have questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience. We women of one country will be too tender to those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

    From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own. It says “Disarm! Disarm!” The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.

    As men have forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his time the sacred impress not of Caesar, but of God.

    In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

    Julia Ward Howe
    Boston 1870

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