Thanks Bret for the idea for this post!
Oh Valentine’s Day. That Hallmark holiday intellectuals love to despise, environmentalists love to boycott, the non-attached dismiss as stupid, boyfriends fear due to chocolate selection stress, and the day some of us take to show our loved ones a little extra care. In our apartment,we usually do a small thing on the 14th, either breakfast in bed, indian dinner for two, but steer away from excessive consumerism. Last year US consumers spent $15.7 billion on V-day (National Retail Federation #), and again for perspective: providing modern family planning methods to each person on the globe with currently unmet need would cost $6.7 billion (Joel Cohen, Columbia). So that’s the part of V-day that I don’t like to get wrapped up in. However it’s easy to do something special for your sweetie that’s green, not red.
Cards. 1 billion cards are sent each year on V-day (Greeting Card Association) and end up in landfills or are recycled using loads of energy. You all know about fun e-cards (paperless post has the best!) and how sustainable they are, but if you’re craving something physical, pick up a card that’s made of recycled materials.
- Papyrus has a bunch and even stores like CVS/Duane Reade – just read the back and look for ’100% recycled’.
- I also LOVE the Grow-A-Note plantable cards. They are made with recycled paper and flower seeds and the card can be planted and will turn into flowers one day!
Chocolate. I’ve watched The Dark Side of Chocolate one too many times to buy anything that isn’t fairly traded and sustainable. That link will give you the free 30 minute documentary (it’s incredible!) and show you the child slave labor, kidnappings, and environmental destruction that goes to produce our favorite sweets. This V-day opt for:
- Fair Trade & Organic- Equal Exchange Bars. They definitely carry them at Whole Foods and other healthy food stores.
- Dagoba - same places to buy, focuses on Full Circle Sustainability- Quality, Ecology, Equity, & Community.
- Green & Blacks is a good fair trade one that even regular grocery stores are starting to carry
- There are tons of local brands too just make sure you’re buying FAIR TRADE & read the label to see if they talk about environmental commitments.
- My bf shares my eco love and often takes pictures of beautiful flowers and then texts them to me – a modern Bring Your Friend to the Flower.. It honestly makes me light up each time.
- Instead of flowers buy a plant (from somewhere that sells organic)! Plants are great for apartment aura anyways and this will be more fun then 3-day flowers that cost you $20 and then die.
- Shop around. Ask your florist if their plants/flowers are ethically traded and what their position is on pesticides. Take the time and do your research!
Instead of a Present. Get creative, that’s what we’re really after.
- When was the last time you watched the sunset? Take your partner, a blanket, and a bottle of wine and just be with each other. The sun’s natural beauty is better than any sparkly thing I’ve seen.
- Cook dinner for your partner and make a romantic playlist. Often just feeling special is what we girls want on V-day and the thought of getting to relax and enjoy a partner-cooked meal with specially selected songs would definitely make me swoon.
- How about a bottle of eco-friendly/organic massage oil or lotion (Whole Foods, CVS is starting to carry Burts Bees products). Read the label to make sure it’s paraben-free, DEA-free and vegan and then rub away your partner’s stress.
- If you live anywhere warm, what about planning a romantic bike ride for 2? You know those endorphins get all excited with exercise!
- If you’re looking for something a little spicier this year, check out Earth Erotics selection (who’s slogan, Doing It Green is awesome). They choose silicone based toys instead of the generic ones that usually contain high levels of phthalates (a controversial PVC softener that has been linked to cancers).
- Make something! What do you have lying around the house? Can you turn it into a picture frame, a card, a present?
- Donate to your partner’s favorite charity? Nothing says love like supporting their passions!
And if you MUST buy something:
- Check out World Of Good and all their fair-trade gifts!
- Etsy is also a favorite- buy something ‘vintage’ and feel good about reusing something beautiful, or support a local artisan & ask them about their materials.
- Organic clothing & lingerie - Stella McCartney
- Organic wine
- Something green & fun like a solar backpack, a compostable iphone case, Tom’s shoes, Warby Parker sunglasses, or any eco-gadget from reuseit.com.