Do you love her to the far ends of the Earth? Does his love warm your soul more than climate change warms the planet?
This Valentine's Day shower him or her with love instead of carbon emissions. This list gives you a conscious way of looking at traditional Valentine's Day ideas. You can be sweet and sustainable at the same time.
Avoid ordering bouquets online. Go local. Flowers grow where you live, right? Well, why in the world would you order them from somewhere else? Oh, you have a loved one in another state or country? Luckily, there's this wonderful platform called the internet where you can look up local floral shops just about anywhere! Ask your florist where they get their flowers. Many farms offer volunteer hours where you can plant new flowers. That’s called carbon neutrality.
Sustainability: Reduce carbon emissions due to transportation. Between 1990 and 2013, U.S. freight greenhouse gas emissions from supply chain activity grew by over 50%.
I know there are elaborate displays of chocolates in heart shaped boxes everywhere. They’re convenient and familiar. However, resist the marketing. You’ve done that before. This year visit a local chocolatier or check their events page. Many have Valentine’s Day tastings or workshops where you make the chocolate yourself. So, generic heart-shaped box or handmade creations? I’m going to guess that getting a little dirty with dark chocolate and strawberries sounds better. For an even more sustainable option, keep an eye out for vegan chocolate options.
Sustainability: Reduce carbon emissions due to transportation. Reduce reliance on animal agriculture. Livestock and their by-products account for 51% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.
Do you really want him/her cuddling with a teddy bear instead of you? Bypass purchasing a ridiculously large stuffed animal this year and contribute to saving bears in the wild. Sea ice loss from climate change is the primary threat to polar bears. Deforestation has greatly contributed to climate change. Donate to an organization that is working to restore polar bears habitat. World Wide Fund will even send you a stuffed polar bear for your generous donation (keep in mind emissions for transportation here).
Sustainability: Increase carbon absorption by planting trees. More trees to absorb CO2 equals less CO2 trapped in the atmosphere warming the planet.
Ethical and sustainably made lingerie does exist. There's no need to compromise when it comes to clothing that touches your most intimate parts. Keep an eye out for brands that use organic or fair trade cotton. Does the company source locally or import materials from overseas? You'll feel sexier wearing panties that feel good and do good. Only Hearts is a brand that understands sex appeal and the need for lingerie that is organic.
Sustainability: Reduce the demand for toxins in the fashion supply chain. Conventional cotton accounts for 24% of insecticide and 11% of pesticide use worldwide. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions due to transportation.
Planning a weekend getaway? Add a little charm to your travels by taking the train. The seats are usually bigger and comfier than a plane. You can get up and stretch those legs as often as you like. The windows offer sweeping views that both of you can sit back and enjoy. No one has to drive and miss out on the sights. Of course, trains do emit greenhouse gasses. Offset carbon emissions by donating to planting trees or other sustainable efforts. Amtrak has partnered with Carbonfund to make offsetting easy.
Sustainability: Reduce carbon emissions due to transportation. For a couple traveling 500 miles a train as mode of transportation has a lower carbon impact than traveling by air or automobile.
Get cozy at a romantic cabin in the woods or a beachside bungalow with Airbnb. Their vacation rentals are smaller scale making them more eco-friendly than most large hotel chains. Whether you choose an awesome Airbnb or your rewards point hotel, remember to turn off lights and lower the thermostat when leaving for long periods of time. If you do choose a hotel you can opt out of daily maid service. I’m going to guess you don’t wash your sheets and vacuum your floors every day. So, why have it done at a hotel?
Sustainability: Conserve water and reduce carbon emissions. According to the EPA, hotels and other lodging businesses account for 15% of U.S. water usage. Laundry accounts for 16% of a hotel's water usage. Reusing linens does make a difference.
Whether you're creating an intimate dinner at home or celebrating at a restaurant, remember these tips. Buy local. Buy organic. And, reduce meat consumption. A quick Google search for "organic restaurants" or "best vegetarian/vegan restaurants" will steer you in the right direction. For the hobby chef, purchase organic ingredients at your local farmer's market. Try a meatless recipe like butternut squash ravioli and oven roasted winter vegetables. Pair it with an organic wine to set the mood for the evening.
Sustainability: Reduce demand for pesticide use. Pesticides pollute the natural environment with toxins. Reduce meat consumption. Animal agriculture contributes 18% of total greenhouse gas emissions.
Valentine's Day is just another day we get to show love. Making conscious purchase decisions is one of the main ways we can do that. Anyone can hop online and order something. Show him/ or her that you really care by caring about the world they live in too. You'll get bonus points for #givingadamn. And, for that, here's a bonus idea: organic lube! Now, I'll leave you to it. ;)