From Tim Peterson on February 05, 2009 in Green Remodeling
Valentine’s Day is just a few weeks away and already you probably feel assaulted with advertisements for big red boxes of chocolates, cards that sing to you, or a diamond that could make your next house payment. I admit that I often grow frustrated with the unabashed commercialization of a holiday that is intended for romance, passion, and reconciliation.
Yet Valentine’s Day is also no day to be embittered. So why not find a way to make this February 14th bigger than myself or any commercial that can warm only the cynic in me? That’s when the idea came to me to seek out ways to turn our reddest holiday green. If we’re going to run out and buy things for our loved ones (never a bad idea…usually), then let’s combat superficiality and climate change and say I Love You all at the same time!
Fortunately, saying I Love You (or even “I Like You” or “We should maybe go out again next week”) easily encompasses both passion and environment, red and green. All it takes is a little creativity and an eco-friendly, or perhaps eco-lovely, mindset. Here are my five ideas. What are yours?
- Creative Card Making. Simple. Take some paperboard, say…the back of an empty cereal box, and cut it, fold it, add some glue and construction paper and you have a make shift card. I know it sounds a bit elementary, but you can use your adult talents to fancy it up as necessary. Then again, let’s remember that elementary school was where many of us made our first Valentine’s Day card.
- Plant a Tree. Have you ever wanted a tree named after you? There are several non-profit organizations that would happily plant a tree in your loved one’s name for a donation. I can find no better way to express love than by aiding the environment and, quite possibly, someone’s life in a far off country. For trees in the developing world, try Trees for Life International. For domestic tree planting, try TreeGivers.
- Buy an Acre of Rainforest. If you’d prefer not to plant a tree, maybe you’d consider saving hundreds of them. At World Land Trust you can purchase and protect a section of the world’s ever diminishing rainforests in your lover’s name, complete with certificate.
- Organic Flowers. Yes, flowers can be eco-lovely as well, not to mention socially responsible. Most commercial flowers are grown using powerful and highly-toxic pesticides in order to keep them blemish-free, and pickers often grow ill because of it. Fortunately organic, fair-trade flowers are also available. Even FTD.com and 1-800-Flowers now have eco-friendly choices (although I recommend the local flower shop if you can swing it).
- Organic, Fair-Trade Chocolates. Much of the chocolate found in stores would lose its sweetness if we saw how it came to rest on that shelf. Add a touch of humanity to your love with sustainable chocolates this Valentine’s day. Try Equal Exchange for starters.
An eco-lovely Valentine’s Day can also extend into the home. Perhaps your gift to each other could be new recycled countertops or bamboo floors. Get free estimates from local, certified contractors today!