This story is part of Earth911’s “Green Eight” series, where we showcase eight ways to green your life in various areas.
Though the true origin of Valentine’s Day is not known, celebrations certainly have changed throughout history. In ancient Rome, after sacrificing a goat, a “marital lottery” occurred whereby each bachelor would pick a woman’s name out of an urn and marry her.
Becoming slightly more romantic, in 1415 while imprisoned in the Tower of London, Charles, Duke of Orleans, sent his wife a poem. At a time when outwardly showing affection was discouraged, those of varying social circles in Great Britain in the mid-1700s would write letters expressing fondness. In modern times we send cards, candy and flowers among other tokens of expression.
Keep the same traditions of this pink and red holiday, but add a twist of green with our 8 ways to green your Valentine’s Day:
1. Crafty Kids
Even the little ones in your life can contribute to a green Valentine’s Day with hand-crafted gifts such as heart art made from existing household items like cardboard egg cartons, red paint and spare ribbon. Candy favors can also be made from scratch with common items lying around the house such as construction paper, ribbon and tissue paper.
2. Will You Be My Valentine?
If you want to cut back on the 1 billion valentines sent worldwide each year without upsetting your special someone, we may have a solution that will keep you out of the doghouse – and make you feel better about giving a paper card. A greener option is a plantable card made from 100 percent post-consumer content that grows wildflowers when planted in the spring.
3. For Chocolate Lovers
Skip the predictable shiny, red, heart-shaped box and go with Theo Chocolate, the first and only chocolate factory in the U.S. producing organic and fair trade chocolates. Organic growing practices eliminate the use of pesticides that harm both people and the planet. Also, ethically and socially responsible business practices through fair trade enable the farmers, who grow and harvest Theo’s cacao, to become economically self-sufficient. They are also provided with fair wages and focus on sustainable farming techniques.
4. Say It with Flowers
If you’re looking to give a traditional rose bouquet, go with organically grown roses. But if you want to give a varied bouquet of beautiful blossoms, check out Local Harvest or visit a local farmer’s market to support growers in your area. You can also pick out something more long-term such as a potted plant or one that will purify the indoor air. Often more polluted than outdoor air, various types of dracaena, palms, ficus plants, etc., can eliminate different household chemicals from the air you breathe.
5. Bling Bling Beware
Did you know one gold ring generates 20 tons of mining waste? In addition, solutions of cyanide (a known poison), are used to extract gold and can leach into our water supply. So, instead of buying your loved one a new watch, ring or necklace, give a family heirloom or have an old piece of jewelry melted down and made into a custom piece to save the environmental expense of a new trinket.
6. Wine and Dine
Even though gas prices have recently dropped, continue to conserve resources by not driving to a restaurant. A romantic stroll to a neighborhood cafe might be just the ticket to your special someone’s heart. Or take another thoughtful route and prepare a home-cooked meal with locally-grown ingredients and organic wine. Then, set the mood with #7.
7. Symbol of Romance: Candles
Soy and beeswax candles burn longer and cleaner than those made with paraffin wax. You don’t have to settle for vanilla or lavender either. These candles come in atypical scents such as japanese peony and melati that actually permeate pleasant smells throughout large spaces. If you don’t want to deal with flames or aromas, then opt for rechargeable tea lights or LED candles instead – they’re all the flicker with none of the fire.
8. Behind Closed Doors
You’ve “greened” your way to the bedroom, but don’t stop here. Set the mood not only with a great mix of romantic tunes, but also with dimmable CFL bulbs by GE. And last but not least, make a sustainable choice for what lies underneath you with bamboo or organic cotton sheets.
“Going green” doesn’t mean you have to steer away from the norm or leave out any of the comforts that make this day so special. In fact, it just might add a few extra special touches to show your beloved that you not only care about them, but the world as a whole. Enjoy, and share the love.