Have you prepared yourself for the onslaught of pink paper hearts and haphazard cupid arrows that will consume your Monday? Love it or leave it, Valentine’s Day is a great time to do an eco-refresh on your love life, even if you’re not attached.
1. Get Off the Couch
Getting involved in your local community is a fast and easy way to get connected to the world as a whole. A Saturday spent volunteering at your community garden can help you better understand the use for your own compost or those old tires you were storing in your backyard.
One simple act can open the door to new possibilities and actions. Volunteering is a great bonding experience for those attached and a great venue for those singles looking to find their future Valentine.
2. Take an Eco Vacay
Whether it’s your second honeymoon, first trip together or just a weekend away with your closest friends, a trip with Mother Nature in mind is a great way to spend any holiday. Options in eco-tourism have been growing like wildfire over the past few years, representing 11.4 percent of all consumer spending in the travel industry and growing at a rate of 5 percent worldwide each year.
But keep in mind your footprint before packing your bags. Our leisure travel by car alone accounts for more than 9 billion gallons of fuel and 90 millions tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year. Air travel tacks on another 140+ million tons of CO2. When purchasing your plane ticket, forking over the extra couple of bucks to offset your emissions can go a long way. Several airlines will offer this option and apply your dollars to investing in renewable energy or other green efforts.
If you’re stuck on getaway ideas, peruse our list of Local Weekend Winter Destinations. They’re sure to knock your woolly socks off!
3. Throw a Party Everyone Will Talk About
Whether you’re planning a candlelit dinner for two or a keg party for 20, greening up your dinner party plan goes beyond just grabbing some healthy, organic eats. Other things to consider are your location, decoration, party gifts, leftovers and your cleanup.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an average of 180 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually. So save the paper! If you normally send out invitations for your festivities, send an e-mail invitation instead. It may seem less exciting than a tangible, personal note, but online invites are becoming more popular. In fact, online invitation and social planning webiste Evite sends out 19.5 million invitations monthly.
For more ideas, check out our 8 Ways to Green Your Dinner Party.
4. Recycle… Everything
And we mean everything. Doing a trash audit around the home may be just what you need for a good assessment on how you’re spending your money, time and resources (plus, it can also make for a good laugh together). OK, we know what you’re thinking: Trash in no way coincides with the ideal romantic evening. But coming up with new ways to reuse or recycle those odd materials is a fun eco-problem-solving activity.
And you won’t believe all the things you actually can recycle. From those dilapidated roses still on the kitchen table, to your adults toys in your bedside drawer (we’re blushing, too).
5. Get Connected
In a study conducted by Indiana University cognitive scientist Peter Todd, 46 adults were asked to fill out a questionnaire assessing their ideal mate. According to Todd, participants stated they wanted to “find someone who was like themselves.”
But meeting that person that shares similar beliefs, values and ideas gets harder as work, school or finances take over and social activities fall to the wayside. In reality, using dating websites may be the most efficient way to meet like-minded singles.
In fact, a Harris Interactive study found that, on average, 236 eHarmony members marry every day in the U.S. as a result from matches via the website. In 2007, eHarmony marriages accounted for 2 percent of new U.S. marriages. With 2.2 million marriages in the U.S. annually, that’s a pretty big number.
Today, “eco-dating” sites are popping up all over the Web. Greenies can skip the long questionnaires and personality tests and easily separate from the herd. Launched in 2009, Ecodater is the fastest growing green dating and networking website. Other popular dating sites include GreenSingles and Earth Wise Singles.