Red is the usual color associated with Valentine’s Day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be green in how you celebrate. Here are 10 ways to show the planet a little love at the same time you’re showering your sweetheart with affection.
1. Go Easy on the Gifts and Decorations – Valentine’s Day should be all about love – not consumerism. Don’t buy a bunch of junk because it’s funny or cute if it will ultimately end up in the trash. Keep the gifts to a minimum, if at all. Remember, it’s the thought that counts.
2. Give Experiences, Not Stuff – Treat your beloved to a lovely day or evening out that leaves little trash in its wake. Go for a great hike, take a cross-country ski jaunt, get tickets to a movie and dinner. Focus on spending time together – the memories you make will last longer than most gifts.
3. Choose Organic, Fair Trade Chocolate – OK, who can argue with giving your Valentine a little chocolate? Organic chocolate helps save the birds and bees; Fair Trade makes sure the people producing it are working in safe conditions and being paid a fair wage. You have lots of options online and, increasingly, in grocery stores, supermarkets, and food co-ops.
4. Skip the Flowers; Choose an Evergreen Houseplant or Dried Flower Arrangement Instead – Most cut fresh flowers are grown using harsh pesticides. They then need to be transported sometimes from one hemisphere to the next, leaving behind an energy footprint a continent wide. That’s a big environmental impact to have for something that will only last a week at most. Why not give an evergreen houseplant that’s been grown in a local greenhouse? You can choose peace lilies, dracena, philodendron, begonia, even small potted azaleas. Any of these will last much longer than cut flowers; plus, they’ll help purify your indoor air, as well. If that doesn’t work for you, pull together a dried flower arrangement, or ask your local florist to do it. You can choose the colors and textures you want, and your sweetheart will never have to worry about keeping it watered.
5. Open a Bottle of Organic Wine – Almost every liquor store these days offers a selection of organic and biodynamic wines that are delicious as well as reasonably priced. Plus, many organic vineyards power their operations with wind and ship their bottles in recycled packaging. What’s not to love?
6. Make Your Own Cards – A Valentine’s Day card may be the first thing your sweetheart opens, and it will probably also be the first thing thrown away. Lessen the environmental impact by making your own card from recycled paper you have at home. Or, craft a card from the program of a play, concert or other event you enjoyed together. If cutting paper into Valentine’s hearts isn’t your idea of fun, send an electronic card you can personalize with a message to your special someone.
7. Enjoy Essential Organic Oils – One of the best gifts you can give anyone is the gift of touch. On Valentine’s Day, present your sweetie with a selection of essential organic oils that have been especially formulated to use in massage. Fragrances could include lavender, rose, lemon, mint, eucalyptus, and jasmine.
8. Light a Beeswax Candle – Choose beeswax over paraffin candles. They burn cleaner and last longer than candles made from petroleum, and their wicks are usually made from cotton rather than the lead found in paraffin. If you can’t find beeswax candles, candles made from soy are a good second choice, as long as they’re unscented or scented with essential oils rather than synthetic fragrances.
9. Cook a Delicious Organic Vegetarian or Vegan Meal for Your Love – Preparing a meal for someone can be a wonderful act of love and generosity. Choose fresh organic ingredients rather than pre-packaged and processed food. Skip the meat in favor of delicious vegetarian entrees full of flavor and variety. If your sweetie is vegan but you’re not, make a vegan meal to show you care.
10. Donate to Your Sweetheart’s Favorite Charity – Make a contribution to your special someone’s special organization. It’s a thoughtful way to show that you value what they do, and that you respect the issues they’re concerned about. And after all, aren’t value and respect what love are all about?