Happy A Sustainable Valentine’s Day -aka a sustainable loving relationship!

Wishing you a Sustainable Valentine’s Day, aka a sustainable loving relationship  with your partner and the planet. 

Cuddle together to share body warmth; shower together to save water; plant a tree together and write love pledges on a sticker at the base; coo sweet nothings over a home cooked organic meal while sipping organic wine in the glow of bees wax candles!

But what about the traditional cards, flowers and chocolates?

Valentine’s Day is here again and it is estimated that one billion Valentine’s Day cards will be sent worldwide, 36 million boxes of chocolates and countless pesticide-sprayed flowers will be given! Its impact as with every commercialised celebration will be big whether it is a day we take the opportunity to express love and appreciation or a day dedicated to consumerism and senseless spending on over-priced heart-shaped boxes of carbon-footprint-heavy chocolates.

In expressing our love to those who are dear and important to us, we forgot the one very important relationship we have with the Planet. Let’s include our Planet in the list of ‘person’ we need to show our love and care for, and go for an eco-friendly Valentine ’s Day.

Here are some Green Gift ideas for this Valentine’s Day

If you still believe in giving cards, flowers and chocolates.......

  1. Cards - opt for those on recycled paper or make your own.

But giving a card is not the only way to express love and appreciation. In fact buying one and send it off does not take much effort. However, a hand-written letter (something that we seem to have lost in this high-tech and fast society) or a poem or long list of the things you love about the person will be more appreciated as it shows that you took time and effort to express your love.

  1. Flowers

Just keep "green" in mind when surrounded by all that red. Choose potted plants and organic or local flowers whenever possible. Or take time and effort to create origami roses from recycled material. You will be much appreciated after labouring over small pieces of papers for someone special.

  1. Chocolates

Opt for fair-trade and organic chocolates. Or make your own heart-shaped fudge or organic red velvet cupcakes. What more, spend a romantic evening or family bonding time making these together.

Aside from the traditional cards, flowers and chocolates, here are many other types of gifts and ways to show love and appreciation.

  1. Ideas for pampering gifts

If you have the time and energy, there are many ideas and instructional websites to help you create your own pampering gifts such as, all-natural fragrance from essential oils; bath bombs; bath soaps from honey, olive, lavender, coconut and peppermint;  and green tea and sugar scrubs.

  1. Dinner Date

If your idea of celebrating the day is going out, choose a local restaurant specializing in organic or locally grown food.   Otherwise, an even more eco-romantic option would be to cook a meal with locally grown organic ingredients, serve organic wine and set the mood with soy or bees wax earth-friendly candles.

  1. Personalise the Gifts

For someone who

  • loves coffee, give high-quality fair-trade coffee
  • is into gardening, give seed bombs
  • is a nature lover, plant a tree together to symbolise your relationship and endurance or book a retreat in a wildlife reserve or natural park
  • is into health spa and therapy, give gift certificates for a massage, naturopath or health spa session.
  • loves jewellery, make the accessories from recycled material. Instructables teaches you how to make necklaces, bracelets, and earrings out of old magazines.
  • has everything and you are lost as to what to give, food is always welcome and makes a great gift. For example, homemade goodies such as baked cookies, salsa, jam or pasta sauce which are healthier than the store-bought versions as the ingredients can be controlled.
  1. The Gift of Your Time.
This is the best gift of all as only you can give it. To top it, most probably it will cost you nothing and you can ensure no or minimal impact on the environment as you are in control. For example:
  • Doing the dishes even if it’s not your turn could go further in strengthening a relationship than a bouquet of red roses.
  • Babysitting for a relative of friend will provide much relief and appreciation.
  • Helping a relative, friend with washing the car, gardening or cleaning out the garage will be a welcome change,
  • Spending the afternoon with an elderly neighbour will provide immeasurable feeling of being wanted.

Since gifts of time are hard to wrap, you can write out your offer on a gift certificate or coupon, as in, “This coupon is good for one free night of babysitting.” 

Enjoy the day and the opportunities it provides with a clear conscience.