Flowers, chocolate, wine, jewelry, cards . . . all these are among the traditional Valentine's day gifts--but if your sweetie is eco-conscious, you may discover that you'll get a lecture as a reward if you buy these without a little research. Fortunately, you can satisfy your taste for tradition and still impress your loved one with your green heart and intentions!
Consider giving a gift of a miniature potted rosebush from your local nursery, rather than a bouquet of roses. The potted rosebush will last for many years, and will be a continual reminder of your present, rather than a one-time display that will quickly be discarded.
Flowers are traditionally grown in destructive ways--using pesticides and artificial fertilizers that harm the soil, and are toxic to humans and many other forms of life. In addition, large flower farms often decrease an area's biodiversity and cause all kinds of pollution. Fortunately, you can find organically-grown flowers, or, better yet, present your loved one with a potted miniature rosebush. If you give flowers, don't forget to compost them when they die!
A chocolate soufflé is the ultimate Valentine's day dessert, however, you could also give fair trade chocolate, fair trade cocoa, or make any one of a number of chocolate desserts that will delight your loved one. The darker the chocolate, the more intense the flavr and the endorphin release, so pick the darkest chocolate that is palatable to you both.
Chocolate (which does, fortunately for all of us, grow on trees) also has its own problems with not only pesticides, fertilizer and herbicides, but also exploits workers in many countries. Look for organic labelling, which certifies that the chocolate was grown without these artificial methods, but also for fair-trade labelling, which means that the chocolate was grown and harvested without exploiting workers unfairly. Sustainably-grown chocolate is also available for purchase, although it can be more difficult to find. Unfortunately, unless you live in the tropics, growing your own chocolate is probably not going to happen. Besides, the tree is huge and messy (I know, I have seen one in a botanical garden).
Amazon Price: $69.93 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 26, 2014)
Organic wine is getting easier to find every day. One organic wine that is commonly sold in grocery stores is Fetzer; however, you can find all kinds of organic wines. Locally grown or bottled wines are also greener choices, and you might consider a romantic Valentine's Day trip to a local vineyard. Many local vintners have associated bed and breakfast rooms which will make for a memorable trip, and coming home with a few bottles of wine will prolong and enhance your experience.
Organic wine is a sure way to please the oenophile in your life, and many more brands are available now than even a few years ago. Although it might be too late for Valentine's day this year, or even next year, you may want to explore making your own wine at home (it takes very little space and can be hidden on a closet shelf for a surprise).
Anyone who saw the film Blood Diamond must surely think twice about receiving a gift of gemstones. However, you can now find jewelry with conflict-free stones, and even jewelers who will recycle gold. Your local jeweler can even custom-design a piece of jewelry for your sweetheart from conflict-free stones and recycled gold or silver from your old jewelry.
A handmade paper card, especially one made with imbedded wildflower or herb seeds, is a beautiful way to show your Valentine that you care. You can easily find a local artist who will sell such cards, or you can even learn to make your own!
Every Valentine's day, millions of people send cards to their partners, and, unfortunately, many of these cards come from forests which are not sustainably logged, and then the cards are thrown into the landfill, which creates even more problems. Look for cards made from recycled paper. Some cards even have wildflower seeds embedded in them, so that the card can be dampened and planted, and will grow a bed of perennial flowers to remind your loved one year after year of that special Valentine's day. You can even learn to make your own paper with recycled paper and plant products, and add the wildflower (or herb, or vegetable) seeds yourself during the process.
Amazon Price: $13.95 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 26, 2014)
Going out for dinner is a great way to have a memorable evening, but if you go out, consider a locally-owned restaurant rather than one location of a large chain. Many local restaurants also source their food close by, and some even grow their own food. If you choose to cook your own dinner at home, don't forget to choose local, organic food!
If you have more green ideas for a great Valentine's Day, don't forget to leave a comment (you must register on the site to leave a comment, but registration is free)!