Valentine’s Day evokes a combination of opinions, emotions and conflict normally saved for religion, politics and banking. While there are those that spend weeks planning a perfect day for their loved one, there are just as many, if not more that huddle up as couples hiding from the balloons, cupids and PDA gone rampant; of course there is also the group that is ostracized for being single on a day of coupling.
So here I endeavour to give you the sustainability guide to Valentine’s Day for those haters, lovers and proud single people. For everyone, there are ideas of a few things you can do to make your Valentine’s Day as sustainable and special as possible. Let’s look at those three big categories of expectation on Valentines: food, gifts and a romantic outing. Of course you may have some other plans, but I will leave it to you to manage those.
Food: A delicious romantic meal is a mainstay of Valentine’s planning. When it comes to sustainability and sentimentality, I will always argue for a home cooked meal. Finding local foods is a little tricky at this time of year but, if you’ve made some conserves, this is the time to use them, plus many local grocery stores carry a variety of organic produce.
If you don’t cook well or don’t have the time to source all of your produce I recommend Les Délices Bio. They make delicious home cooked organic meals. It’s the perfect meal to put in the oven just before your loved one arrives, plus, you will get points for sustainability and the thoughtful touch. For the single person, remember you just need a second person to take advantage of all the Valentine’s specials in restaurants and grocery stores. Why not find a buddy and gorge on sustainable fare (maybe with a little too much Québec wine).
Gifts: Luckily most Valentine’s gifts can be made as sustainable as possible. Though, you can’t remove the intense emissions footprints of transporting products like chocolate and tropical flowers, you can at least find Rainforest Alliance approved flowers and fair trade chocolate. Check out 10,000 villages for more great gift ideas too. When talking about cut flowers, I also recommend going for something living, why get cut flowers when you can get a beautiful flowering houseplant that will show your love all year long. Remember, there is no shame in buying plants or flowers on the 15th of February for your home, yourself or friends - get that overstock, save some money and benefit from some beautiful plants and flowers.
Activities - Outside, outside, outside: it’s winter here in Montreal (and I suppose the rest of the Northern Hemisphere); mid-February is the perfect time to be outside. The snow is clean, white, beautiful and freshly fallen. Spending time outside with a loved one is the perfect way to show your sense of romance. Go hiking, cross country skiing, sledding or have a snow ball fight. There is no reason to be cooped up inside - in fact, you will miss this beautiful winter weather when it’s over. All of these activities are great and romantic as a couple, though, if you add a few friends it can be even better. Valentine’s Day is about love; don’t forgot about your friends and family!
Valentine’s Day may not be your favourite holiday (I know it isn’t mine). There are great ways to enjoy it and be sustainable in your choices. A home cooked meal, Rainforest Alliance flowers and an outdoor activity all make Valentine's Day romantic and special. I would include friends and family in mix and make the day one to celebrate the love we have for all the great people in our lives.
You will save the Earth by sharing and/or tweeting (corny right?)