Don't Forget to Love the Earth This Valentine's Day

Posted: February 14, 2018
Tagged As: Electricity, Energy, GHG Emissions

It’s Valentine’s Day today, and love is in the air.  They say love makes you do crazy things.  That stands to reason given all the crazy things we do to show our affection for the ones we love most – greeting cards, heart-shaped boxes bearing chocolate and other gifts, and roses.  And that’s just for starters.  However, Cupid’s arrow leaves us so lovestruck, we don’t often pause and take note of the impact it all has on the environment.  We’re so busy showing our love for one another, we never take a moment to show Mother Earth we love her too.

A Very Brief History of Traditional Valentine’s Gifts

Traditional Valentine’s Day gifts such as flowers, cards, and heart-shaped boxes bearing chocolate, candy and other gifts have been around for ages – literally.  Flowers and jewellery have been popular gifts for sweethearts dating back to at least the Middle Ages.  Legend has it that Saint Valentine (3rd Century) signed his last letter, “from your Valentine,” prior to being put to death.  And heart-shaped boxes decorated with lace were popularized by Cadbury’s during the Victorian Era.  Despite the history and tradition behind them, these expressions of love have a tremendous effect on the environment.

The Excess of Valentine’s Day

Heart-Shaped Chocolate BoxWhile the following statistics are specific to the United States only, consider that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in more than 38 countries around the world.  So the full influence of this single day of love is far greater reaching.

More than 124 million American adults (62%) celebrate Valentine’s Day.  Combined, they exchange 36 million heart-shaped boxes, 180 million greeting cards, and 198 million roses.  They consume 881,000 bottle of sparkling wine, and 58 million pounds of chocolate. 

The Impact of Valentine’s Day

While the above may sound like good time to most, the disorder left in the wake of Valentine’s Day does not show the same love for our environment that we do for one another.  This single day generates more CO2 emissions in production and transportation of goods than driving a single car around the world 3,993 times, and the paper and packaging waste weighs more than 4,170 hybrid cars. 

Eco-Friendly Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

So what can we do this Valentine’s Day to show some love to Mother Earth?  First, the basics.  Instead of traditional paper greeting cards, send e-cards.  If you insist on the real deal, then look for recycled paper cards.  Nothing is going to replace the experience or smell of receiving real flowers.  You can, however, cut down on transportation of flowers by buying fair trade or locally grown organic flowers.  Same goes for the chocolate – fair trade and organic.  And if you’re going to exchange gifts, why not make one, or find recycled or vintage gifts to give?

A Little More Love for the Earth

With alternatives to the traditional gifts out of the way, here are a few more ways you can go above and beyond the call of duty to show the Earth just how much you care. 
  1. Wine GlassWhat’s more romantic than a candle light dinner?  Keep the romance burning by making use of candles throughout the evening as your source of light.  This will definitely set the mood and save money on your hydro bill. 
  2. If you’re going out to a romantic dinner, try walking to a nearby restaurant instead of driving.    Nothing says I love you like an evening walk on a winter’s day.  If your destination is too far to walk to, take public transit instead of driving your own car. 
  3. If you’re going to stay in and cook a romantic meal, use a slow cooker rather than your oven. Slow cooker meals save energy and time. 
  4. If you make pasta, you can wait until the water cools and reuse it, perhaps to feed your plants.
  5. Save some money and energy by turning down the heat and cuddling under a blanket.  If you have a wood burning fireplace or energy efficient insert, you could also start a fire to keep warm.  Add some marshmallows and hot chocolate for effect, and voila – instant romance!
Being romantic doesn’t have to be expensive, and it doesn’t have to come at the expense of the environment.  No matter what you do this Valentine’s Day to show your sweetheart how much you love them, be sure to take a moment to let Mother Earth you love her too.

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