My eco-conscious readers, if you want to make sure your significant other doesn’t offend you or the environment this Valentine’s Day, don’t let them get sucked into the consumerism hurricane of Hallmark holidays. Pass this along as a not-so-subtle hint about how to handle this upcoming Valentine’s Day.
Guys, environmentalists can be tough to please around the holidays, I hear you. They tell you not to get them anything because consumerism is the downfall of the planet, but you feel like you have to get them something. And they don’t want you to wrap their gifts because it’s a waste of paper, but how else are you supposed to present the gift? Or they ask you to get them something useful like a sweater, but it’s hard to keep track of which stores don’t support child labor or pillage the earth of natural resources.
And now it’s February and you need to find a gift for your eco-friendly Valentine but you don’t know what to do. I’m here to help.
Here are four things you shouldn’t do for your green-leaning gal this Valentine’s Day if you want your relationship to last until Earth Day.
Don’t buy her flowers.
Chances are, you live a place where there are no locally blooming flowers in mid-February. Those flowers you pick up at grocery store probably travel halfway across the planet before they make it to your local supermarket. That’s a big no-no as far as an environmentalist is concerned – energy used during production and shipping creates a huge carbon footprint. On top of that, worker conditions on flower farms are notoriously bad, so if your sweetheart cares about ethical consumerism, she’s not going appreciate that bouquet.
What to do instead:
- Buy your eco-friendly valentine a living plant from a local nursery. There’s nothing an eco-conscious lady loves more than filling her space with houseplants. I know that I can always find space for another succulent in my house. Give it to her in an eco-friendly planter like these that are made from renewable grain fibers.
- Give your eco-friendly valentine a sapling to keep in the house until springtime. When the ground thaws, you can plant it outside together. We’ve all heard that trees have a number of benefits for the environment, like absorbing pollutants from the air, offsetting carbon emissions and producing oxygen. But planting a tree will also benefit your relationship by making your eco-conscious significant other a happy camper.
Don’t buy her a card.
Nothing irks an environmentalist quite as much as the consumption of unnecessary paper products. Americans give each other over a hundred million Valentine’s Day cards every year. And we all know the fate of those cards. In the best-case scenario, they’re stored in a shoebox at the back of a closet and never looked at again. In the worst-case scenario, they’re thrown out the day after Valentine’s Day. Either way, the eco-conscious lady in your life will think the environmental cost of producing that card is not worth the ten seconds she’ll spend looking at it.
What to do instead:
- Tell your eco-friendly valentine how much you love her instead of using a greeting card. You could write her a poem, or sing her a song or make her a mix of your favorite songs on Spotify.
- Make your eco-friendly valentine a card out of recycled materials. If you can’t give up the idea of giving her a card, make one yourself by using old magazines. If you don’t have any laying around the house, check the thrift store.
Don’t get her a cutesy stuffed animal.
First of all, if you’re over the age of 18, you probably shouldn’t be giving or receiving stuffed animals on Valentine’s Day, environmentalist or not. I just don’t get it. It’ll sit on her bed for a month, maximum, then she’ll stuff it in a closet for a few years until she throws it away or donates it to Goodwill.
Most stuffed animals are made out of 100% polyester – it’s non-biodegradable, it’s made from petroleum, it’s horrible for the environment. And environmental impact aside, it’s just creepy for a grownup to own a stuffed animal. So you should skip the last minute drug store run to get a stuffed animal and focus your efforts on finding a more eco-friendly and less unsettling gift.
What to do instead:
- Give your eco-friendly valentine some sustainable chocolate. Forget those tacky heart shaped boxes of chocolates that have been produced on the backs of millions of children slaving in the cocoa industry. Step up your game and order her a few bars of fair trade, sustainable chocolate. Companies like Zotter, Tony’s Chocolonely and Green and Black use sustainable ingredients and have adopted renewable energy sources in their production.
Don’t buy her diamond jewelry.
Most of us have heard about blood diamonds and the terrible human rights disaster that is the diamond industry. But diamonds are also severely damaging to the environment – irresponsible mining practices cause deforestation, soil erosion and water pollution. With the rise of the wedding-industrial complex, demand for diamonds is at an all-time high and your favorite environmentalist will not want to be a part of it.
What to do instead:
- Give your eco-friendly valentine some eco jewelry. Happy Fox Studio makes minimalist and quirky pieces from upcycled and reclaimed items. For something more sophisticated, Valley Rose Studio makes classic pieces from recycled silver and lab-grown or vintage gems.
Still looking for more ideas?
Here are a few more things you can do to wow your eco-babe on this most special of days:
Make her dinner. The way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach.
Who needs stuff anyway? Take her out on an experience. Go for a romantic hike, take her camping, or head to a museum.
Feeling saucy? Give her some sustainable lingerie.
Let me know what you end up doing for you eco-friendly valentine!
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