Sure you can buy your sweeties organic flowers or chocolate and have your children decorate Valentines made from recycled paper; however, in my family, we have another tradition. Every year for Valentine’s Day, we take the opportunity to buy a fruit tree or rose bush. What better way to express our love than to give a gift that may offset some of our carbon footprint?
I love chocolate as much as the next guy/gal, but I am not a fan of cut flowers, even though I worked in flower shop in high school. Lavish bouquets purchased to celebrate holidays have spawned a thriving industry that heavily relies on pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. According to the Wise Geek:
Most cut flowers are grown in South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia in large greenhouse environments staffed by underpaid, non-unionized workers…Because cut flowers are grown in nations with more lax environmental laws, many banned substances including DDT and methyl-bromide are used in flower production…Some cut flowers may be shipped thousands of miles, adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere at every step of the way.
Purchasing a live plant is a great, greener alternative to cut flowers, especially when you buy a blooming or fruiting plant that will remind your family year after year of your love. Involving your children in selecting and planting the living gift will create a natural experience to accompany the gift. Anxiously awaiting, predicting, observing the plant throughout the growing season turns a Valentine’s gift into a long term nature study.
Alternatively, Oxfam is asking people this Valentine’s Day to “think outside the chocolate box”. For $40, you can purchase your loved ones a dozen baby chicks. This gift will go to a family affected by HIV/AIDS. If chicks are not your style, you can purchase a sheep, fair trade honey, or plant a garden with your donation.
For more ideas on having a green Valentine’s Day, check out Crafting a Green World.
You can read about the history of Valentine’s Day here.
Image courtesy of Oxfam.