Love the Planet this Valentine’s Day

Each year when Valentine’s Day comes around there is a nationwide surge of shoppers scrambling for generic cards to the loves of their lives, cuddly toys made in China and roses that will be in the bin by the time the weekend rolls around. But what about traditions? I hear you cry, what about sentiment and value? How will our loved ones know we care if we don’t buy them heart-shaped [insert gift of choice here] for Valentine’s? Well, whatever makes you feel better about celebrating a day highly driven by consumerist culture and fuelled by an increasingly materialistic society. But everyone likes chocolate and pink food colouring so it’s fine, right?

But my purpose isn’t to radically change your February the 14th celebrations from candle lit dinners to volunteering with the needy to spread your love for humanity. Rather, I’ll tell you about exactly how you’re impacting the environment and how you can stop.

1.    Cards

You probably don’t stop to think about the card adorned with lace to your ‘darling’, unless you’re having second thoughts about the poem inside that resembles the one you wrote for English class when you were ten years old. But it might be time to rethink your card that will spend its life at the bottom of a drawer, forgotten for years to come, and express your love in a more eco-friendly manner. Greetings cards are responsible for a huge amount of trees being cut down and for something so throw away it just doesn’t seem worth it. If you must buy a card, make sure it’s recycled or sustainably sourced. Or go digital with an e-card that takes up no space in your junk drawer either.

2.   Flowers

Whether it’s a bouquet or a single rose it’s undeniable that cut flowers are having a severe impact on the environment. Most flowers are imported from other countries meaning lots of CO2 is emitted in their mass transportation as well as many of them being grown by underpaid workers in unsafe working conditions. Cut flowers also prompt the use of an excessive amount of pesticides to keep them looking fresh for days after you buy them in the shop. Consider buying a potted plant or even living herb for Valentine’s Day, or if cut flowers are really your thing then at least buy local and organic. Turns out roses really can be green rather than red.

3.       Chocolates

         Although elaborate packaging looks impressive, really it’s just producing more waste going into landfills. Chocolate production and its ingredients aren’t always the best for the planet either, but there is definitely a way around this. Look for minimal packaging and chocolate that is sustainably sourced and made with natural ingredients (chances are it will taste better than the average bar on the shelf too!)

         Spread the love this February for the people around you whilst showing you care about the environment at the same time!