Eight ways to be a better Valentine

Time again to wish your special sweetheart a Happy Valentine’s Day. Potentially a great day for the world to come together and lavish one another with hugs and kisses and glittering displays of affection. Yet, all too often, this hearty holiday becomes a high-pressure situation in which doe-eyed darlings feel obliged to shop recklessly for over-packaged sweets, under-valued trinkets, short-lived bouquets, and pretty much anything in the shape of a heart.

Okay, I’m not a hum bugger. I don’t have problems with people expressing their love through material means and boosting the economy for a day. I would however, like to see it done with a little bit more regard for the planet. Yes, you can speak from the heart without sacrificing your soul. And yes, your love for that special someone can be extended to show your compassion for all humankind.

It’s 2011 already, and we know we have options. We know there’s a difference between fair trade chocolate and the kind harvested by kids in west Africa. We know there’s difference between blood diamonds, and the socially responsible jewelry that isn’t funding military juntas in the third world. We know we have choices, and we know we can make a difference.

So here are eight ways you can spoil your cutie, and avoid spoiling the planet:

1) This one may be fairly obvious, but if you have to buy a card, buy one made on recycled paper. Or better yet, send an E-Card. No paper involved.

2) If you’re going to give the gift of chocolate, please make sure it’s fair trade and organically grown.

3) Jewelry? You want jewelry, but you don’t want to spend a fortune? We’ve got that. Jewelry made from recycled parts of nuclear weapons.

4) Instead of buying a gift for someone, wrapped in packaging, that they might ultimately just throw out, considering planting a tree in their name. It will last a lot longer than roses, and give off more oxygen, too!

5) If you go out to dinner, make it a place that specializes in locally grown and organic food.

6) Lighting candles? Go for the o. As an alternative to traditional petroleum-derived paraffin wax, organic soy-based candles are now widely available at places like Bambu Batu.

7) Buy locally, organically grown flowers. Ask your local florist – the more requests they get, the sooner they will make the switch. And if you’re sending flowers faraway, don’t rely on some national delivery service. Use your resources to find a florist in that area by yourself. Chances are you’ll get better service and better prices when you order direct.

8) Instead of buying conventional, commercial perfume — often a cocktail of toluene, aldehydes and benzene derivatives — why not do a little more leg work to track down some scents worth savoring.
There are some incredible, all-natural essential oils out there these days. Kinder to the nose and gentler to the skin.

Well, there you are. Green and red can go together after all. See you soon for your last minute expressions of all-encompassing love!

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