As holidays go, Valentine’s Day tends to be one of the more wasteful ones. With non-recyclable Mylar balloons, plush polyester animals, and plastic coated chocolate boxes (with their plastic trays), dominating the day, it’s no wonder we have a garbage island nearly the size of Alaska, floating around the Pacific. So, if you want to let your love flow, without adding to the flow of trash into the environment, check out some of our favorite ways to show your sweetheart and the Earth some love.
Gift potted plants instead of cut flowers. Want to say it with flowers but still be kind to the planet? Skip the cut flowers, which are grown in mass quantities and sprayed heavily with pesticides and chemical fertilizers that pollute air, soil and water supplies. Give an organically grown living plant instead, and it will say, “I love you” AND clean the air for years to come.
Skip the card and plant a tree for your beloved. 145 million Valentine’s cards are sold annually, consuming more than 50,000 trees for a single holiday. Trees are a vital part of our ecosystem. They sequester carbon, which cleans the air and keeps temperatures at a healthy level. Additionally trees provide habitat and shelter to animals and play an important role in the water cycle. The most current climate science says we need to plant upward of 3 billion trees to mitigate global warming. More than 1 billion trees were lost in the Amazon fires of 2019. Replant Amazon has pledged to replant 1 billion trees by 2022, and your gift can help them make it happen.
Say no to stuffed toys, and save a life instead. Our animal friends are in need on every front. Humans usurping and polluting their habitat and food sources, constantly threaten wild animals. Domestic animals are in no better shape, with more than 150 million shelter animals euthanized each year. We think that making a donation to protect an animal, in your partner’s name, is one of the most romantic gestures you can make. Zoos, shelters, rescues, and conservation groups, all have ways for you to support animals, in the name of love.
Give the gift of time in nature. Science has now proven what many cultures have known for centuries. Being in nature is one of the most restorative things you can do for your health. A recent EPA study showed that the average American spends more than 93% of their time indoors. No wonder that heart disease, cancer, and mental illness are at an all time high in the US. Show your valentine that you care about their well being, with an annual US Park Pass. A single fee will grant you and your honey, access to more than 2000 recreation sites across the country (so many dates!), and your dollars will go toward maintaining and restoring these national treasures. Good for your love, and good for the planet.