Posted on June 12, 2012 by
It’s graduation time again. And one thing I can say I’m most proud of in today’s graduating high school and college seniors is their caretaking of the environment.
That may sound a little, er, on the dull side. But remember: I grew up watching a Native American cry over garbage on the freeway. (Points to anyone who gets that reference.) I lived through the fierce air pollution crises in the northeast and in Los Angeles. It was hard enough in those days to get grown-ups to care for our resources.
So it brings a tear to my own eye to see today’s young population “giving so much of a hoot.” Go 2012 grads! We are all so very proud of you.
And on that note, here are some awesome ways to have a very green party for your eco-conscious grad. Don’t worry: they’re not just smart, they’re fun. Yes, you’ll want to use recycled materials for plates and cutlery. But you don’t need to stop there. Spice things up with these great “green” graduation party ideas:
Party in the Park
Have the party on preserved or city/state/national parkland so everyone can enjoy the beauty that’s here on earth, right now. Always call your city or county in advance to find out their protocol, including what can and can’t be taken out of the park, whether cooking is allowed on the premises, etc.
Find out whether there’s an organic farm or organic seller in your area. (We have tons here; I’m so glad to know they’re “cropping up” everywhere.) Then buy ingredients, veggies and fruits for your grad party foods there. You may be thinking, “Yikes, expense alert!” but you’d be surprised how reasonably priced local produce can be. When you do this for your grad, you’re supporting local businesses and healthy, ethical growing methods.
Decorate the party area with potted plants. Be really funky and include vegetables and herbs. (Yup, right on top of the table!) At the end of the party, have a raffle for guests to win a plant to take home and grow. Ask guests to think fondly of the guest of honor as they cultivate and harvest their gifts.
Think fair-trade. For example, buy coffee and have a fair-trade coffee bar. Stuffy and pretentious? Nope. In fact, it was a teenager who suggested this idea to me! (Go, Ben!) Here’s a link to The Fair Trade Federation’s resource site. So cool!
Make a donation in your grad’s name to the cause that’s closest to her heart (urban forestry, the arts and humanities, a local children’s hospital, etc.). Quietly place a receipt or confirmation of the transaction in the card you give to your grad. This is a nice way to honor your grad and the earth without making a big embarrassing fuss at her party. (But she’ll be as proud of you as you are of her, we promise.)
Send e-cards for thank yous. We recommend paper in some form or other for the actual invitations – that’s only polite. But you can save paper and help the environment by electronically thanking guests after the party. Or, when sending (recycled) paper invitations, add a pack of seeds. You know – “grads are the seeds of the future” or “we’re proud you’re growing your roots” – don’t actually say this, I just need some (fair trade) coffee!
Anyway, to parents of 2012 grads: congratulations to you, too. You raised a great generation. We know your child will thank you too for these thoughtful ideas – and for one great, green grad party!
Chris Molnar will be tree planting at his local park this Saturday, so he expects sore muscles on Sunday. His daughter, who will be a “grad” of kindergarten, will be joining him! Chris is editor of a birthday party website and is a freelance writer and web designer.
Image courtesy of Charline Tetiyevsky/Flickr