Valentine’s Day is all about love, right?
Valentine’s Day is simply about celebrating love, and we all, including our planet, need some loving!
Unfortunately, with the years this day has turned into a symbol of consumerism and it has lost its original emotional value. As much love this day brings, it also comes with a high price to pay for our environment and our pockets.
A lot of resources are used in presents that last one day and an awful lot of waste ends up in the landfills. Starting with billions of plastic laminated cards covered in glitter, single-use balloons, and decorations, up to short-lived cut flowers, and questionably sourced chocolates produced in god knows what conditions.
Why not make it different this year?
Raise your hand if you would like to make this day a lot more special!! Well, you can do it very easily by sharing some of your love with our planet and showing it in your actions. Why not use this opportunity to show Mama Earth the love that she deserves?
It is not so hard, really, it just requires a bit of goodwill, imagination, and lots of love. But, if you are not one for creative ideas, here are some fun tips to help you have a more sustainable and ethical Valentine’s Day.
MY TOP TIPS FOR A MORE SUSTAINABLE VALENTINE'S
1. The most valuable gift: TIME
If we were to ask our loved ones openly what they want for Valentine's, they would probably just answer "I want to have a nice time with you" so, why not give them just that?
Already the time that we spend researching or hopping from one shop to another looking for the perfect present, is valuable time that we could spend with them.
Below I suggest a couple of activities that we can do together for a romantic and meaningful Valentine's celebration, but I have also included some suggestions if you still want to gift them a little something while keeping things eco-friendly.
Whatever your choice, have a great day and make sure to share some of that loving with our planet. 💕💕💕
2. Gift sustainably and ethically sourced chocolates.
The confectionary industry is not as sweet as it looks. A wide number of leading chocolate brands are infamous for their unethical behaviour, they exploit child labour, use slavery, promote gender inequality etc., which leads up to economic instability, and sometimes even deforestation.
Millions of kilograms of chocolate purchased for Valentine’s Day support these companies and make the living and working conditions of those involved in the production site harder.
One way we can help avoid this issue is to boycott these unscrupulous brands and purchase sustainably and ethically sourced chocolate, for example, those with the Fair Trade logo. This seal takes care that chocolate is produced in safe and decent working conditions and that workers are paid fairly.
Thankfully, nowadays you can find many brands producing chocolates ethically, locally, and using artisan methods. And sustainable marketplaces like For Vegans also carry different chocolaty products. Really yummy!
If you are a chocoholic, you can learn more about where your favourite chocolate brands stand on the spectrum of sustainability through the Food Empowerment Project.
3. Choose jewellery responsibly and sustainably
If you want to gift jewellery for Valentine’s, look for jewellery companies or jeweller artists that use ethically sources materials and environmental production processes where workers work safely and stones and metals are mined responsibly. Mining practices can be very damaging for workers because they often inhale the dust and it can have severe consequences on their health. Also, jewellery production includes harsh chemicals and brings out toxin waste.
Support those companies that ensure employees’ safety by gearing them up with protective equipment for the job and paying them fair salaries.
It’s impossible to prove that your favourite brand is completely sustainable, however, it is important to invest in those who try their best to have ethical and transparent sourcing and manufacturing. Here are some brands to fall in love with: Luna Rose, Smiling Rocks, and Gjenmi Jewelry.
4. Buy a long-lasting present
Photo by Abhishek Saini on Pexels.com
Purchase a high-quality present that can be used regularly and kept for a long time, such as a piece of art, a mug, a blanket, or a tie.
For your present to be a success, just focus your attention on what your loved one wants and has been dreaming about, that way you will be sure that the present will not end up in a draw somewhere any time soon.
And surely, they will appreciate it a million times more because they know you have put much thought into it.
There are many good sustainable companies out there to buy your durable presents without harming the planet. Consider also items from local artists or artisans.
You can find some more ideas in our shop at Green Cloud Nine.
5. Support a charity event
Have you considered taking your loved ones to an event that supports a socially or environmentally engaged organization or charity? After all, nothing says love like helping others!
This simple gesture will not only support valuable projects but will surely make your dearest ones happy, will help you build emotional bonds, and will turn the occasion into a special time full of positivity for everyone!
6. Choose living plants instead of cut flowers
Flower bouquets sold in supermarkets or petrol stations are usually cheap and a good last-minute solution. But stop a second to think why they are so cheap. Often they are imported from faraway countries and contain harmful chemicals like fungicides, insecticides, and herbicides to keep them fresh during the long transportation times.
Some countries in Europe have prohibited them because of the possible respiratory issues, neurological disease, and higher rates of miscarriage they could cause. To make matters worse, importing them requires massive amounts of energy and has a big CO2 impact.
Why not choose a living plant instead? Many of them also have flowers that last for weeks or even months and come back every year! (Like my favourite ones: orchids.) Or even better get a kit to plant something from scratch, to enjoy the magic of life unravelling in front of your own eyes! Check our GROW section for some amazing ideas.
And if you really must have some cut flowers, try out shops like Blumenideal.de in Germany that source directly from the producers, deliver in a recyclable carton packaging and guarantee that your flowers stay fresh for 7 days.
7. Bake or cook something delicious
Baking or cooking your valentine’s favourite dish is one of the most loving ways to express affection. To make this extra environmentally friendly, make sure to shop fresh seasonal products from your local farms. This brings an extra present as it helps small businesses in your area to thrive as well.
If your loved one is a foodie, you can never go wrong with some special wine, organic seeds & chocolate or food gift baskets. And if you are lucky you may be able to enjoy those delicacies with them. What a win-win situation!
Confident to try something new and greener this year?
To sum it up, you don’t need to buy lots of expensive or shiny stuff to show your love. The most important thing is to stay authentic and show your affection in every way you can to your loved ones, that includes your partner, family, friends, community, and environment.
If you are not sure where to start with sustainable gifting, check out this other article. Also, you can head over to our Green Cloud Nine's gift section for some planet-friendly gift ideas. With a bit of creativity and good intentions, the jaw-dropping reactions from your new original sustainable gifts are guaranteed!
Lola is the founder of Green Cloud Nine. Nature lover and environmental activist since she was a teenager, Lola has always been a great fan of homesteading and she is continuously experimenting and finding her own way to be more self-sufficient and sustainable.