Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day Goes Green

 It is not only Father’s Day this year, but the anniversary to the very first one created on June 19,1910. One hundred years ago this Sunday, Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, is credited with creating this holiday. He chose to celebrate his war veteran father who raised him and his four siblings after their mother’s passing during childbirth.

Thanks to former President Lyndon B. Johnson, Father’s Day became a national holiday in 1966. By 1972, Father’s day was established to be celebrated every third Sunday of June. It started out as a highly religious day, but was commercialized into a greeting card and gift giving day. In America, people celebrate it by lighting up the barbie, gifting out the latest tech gadgets and golf clubs, and sipping cold beers. Fathers revel in their accomplishments of raising a family as they enjoy their new toys and gizmos. It is a grand day to celebrate parental bonds and influences of fathers worldwide.

Not only America celebrates this holiday, but other countries take part as well. Arab countries celebrate their fathers on the first day of summer, coinciding with their celebration of mothers on the kick off of Spring. Germany has a complete “Gentleman's Day” celebrated 40 days after Easter. Males gather to participate in a hiking trip as they man-power a cart filled with alcohol and regional relevant food. Some choose to celebrate the end of the trip by getting drunk from the cart full of alcohol. Spain hosts it’s Dad’s Day on the Feast of Saint Joseph, March 19, and banks and stores are closed. All over the world, fathers are honored one way or another, some time of the year. Some countries choose not to take part in an official way, yet still have their unofficial moments of honoring their parental ties.

Celebrations will take place at the poolside in the warm sun, in a park, or possibly in the backyard of the honored one. But how do we keep this day green without overloading our dishwasher until it burns out, or grinding our hands in the sink until they are scorching red? We can start with picking up some organic beer on the way to the BBQ. Turn dad onto a new favorite that supports the earth, his health, and taste buds. Many paper plates, plastic silverware, and charcoal will be used this Sunday. People don’t want to wash dishes, dirty their kitchen, or have their houses turned upside down. Don't fret; there are eco-friendly paper plates and plastic silverware. I recently found compostable dinnerware on Branchhome. After everyone is done using these, have a designated waste basket for your compost pile or bin. Add it to your garden and reap the benefits of hosting a green themed Father’s day. Honor the earth alongside your dad.

Charcoal is going to be lit this Sunday, no matter how green we want our holiday to be. Unfortunately, normal charcoal promotes deforestation and fills our food with chemicals. There are definitely earth friendly charcoals. Look for brands that have the Rainforest Alliance Smart Wood logo or the Forest Stewardship Council imprinted on the bag. Fewer greenhouse gases and soot will be released when using eco-friendly charcoal. Your food will taste better without all the additives that regular charcoal burns into your meals.

When giving a gift to your dad, try and shop for something green. A new lawnmower is something any pappy could use, especially if it makes the earth a more sustainable place. The Neuton lawnmower is battery powered that lasts up to an hour, with superior cutting power that can even slice through wet grass. It only takes 12 cents to charge up, and uses no oil or gas. It couldn’t be more green.

Something that will not cost a pretty penny is being creative. You can choose your dad’s favorite chair and upcycle it by putting on a new cover or cushion. Try to go shopping at a thrift store for an antique fishing rod like your father used as a child. It will bring back great memories for him and be recycling something that might have been thrown out. You can renew it by stringing it with some new fishing wire.

Father’s Day is a fun time to recall old memories, bring the family together, and to have good food. Roll on over to your dads with a smile knowing that you are going to give him the best gift he could possibly receive, the love from his child.

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