What’s the color of love? Most people would probably say red. But it could be green—if you and your date are as sweet on the planet as you are on each other. When planning your Valentine’s Day celebration, consider doing something together that’s not only fun and romantic, but also beneficial to the environment. Here are a few suggestions for an Eco Valentine’s Day date:
- Take a leisurely walk. Walking not only minimizes your carbon footprint and provides you with exercise, it’s also a great way to spark conversation and connect with your date. You can walk to the beach or the park, hike along a nature trail or just circle your neighborhood. You might even consider taking a stroll down memory lane—literally. Go past your old elementary school, the house where you grew up, or the place where you two met or had your first date. If you are going out to eat or elsewhere on your date, try to make it somewhere within walking distance.
- Enjoy a picnic. February 14th might not be the best day to picnic, depending on your local climate and the weather that day (of course, having one indoors—at a botanical gardens, for example—is also an option). But if it is, a picnic is a great way to enjoy both nature and each other’s company. Of course, be sure to buy local and organic produce, which are kindest to the earth. A good bet for finding what you need is to shop at a co-op, farmer’s market or organic grocery store.
- Plant a tree. It shows your love that you are in it for the long haul—especially if you plant a redwood. If you don’t have your own space to start a sapling, you can always search online for nearby areas that welcome volunteer tree planters. A great site to check out for local tree-planting groups is arborday.org. By investing your time in planting a tree, you commemorate the occasion and also help the environment. And you can return on Valentine’s Day each year to see how your arbor amour has grown right along with your love.
Once you’ve planned the perfect date, don’t forget the all-important gift. Send the right message by making your date (and your planet) happy with these eco-friendly presents:
- Homemade gifts: Homemade anything is the most personal way to give. It’s also a unique opportunity to show off your creative side. You can make a romantic organic meal, write a lettre d'amour, compose a poem or even make a picture frame (from recycled materials, of course) to hold a photo of you and your honey. You are limited only by your imagination, so let the creating begin!
- Organic flowers: While you can’t go wrong with picking a bouquet of wildflowers for your sweetie, the majority of us don’t have access to wide-open fields. The next best thing is to buy organic flowers—those that are 100% sustainable and grown without chemical fertilizers, insecticides and other poisons that endanger the planet. Organic Bouquet has some nice Valentine's Day flower arrangements that they will deliver across the country. Or you can enter your zip code at Local Harvest to get a list of organic flower suppliers right in your own neighborhood.
- Fair-trade products: Farmers and merchants in developing nations selling fair-trade products receive fair wages, housing, education and healthcare—gifts that the average first-world consumer takes for granted. By purchasing fair-trade products, you can help boost the economies of third-world nations. With one Valentine’s Day gift at a time, you can change the world for the better—the sweetest gift of all.
- Organic wine: Top off your romantic evening with a bottle of organic wine. Made from sustainably grown grapes devoid of synthetic chemicals, this wine can enhance your evening, while not endangering the environment. As an added boost to the Earth, try to buy from local vineyards, which lessens your carbon footprint and helps your community’s economy. Another great idea is to try your hand at making homemade wine. Not only can you recycle old bottles in the process, but you also get to present your valentine with a homemade offering of love!
Need more gift ideas? These websites specialize in romantic and eco-friendly Valentine’s Day presents: EcoExpress.com and Ecoist.com. Or find an environmentally conscious gift in EcoHearth's Eco Shop.
By planning your date and selecting the right gift, your Valentine’s Day can be as romantic for the environment as it is for your sweetie. After all, Mother Nature needs love, too!
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