True Love is Green
Valentine's Day is one opportunity to show your romantic side. But as the day has become more commercial, its impact on the planet isn't quite so rosy. Flowers, chocolate and cards are the big best sellers, but there are definitely ways you can give nature a little loving along with your sweetheart, all in a gorgeous shade of green.
Flowers are probably the most common Valentine's gift. More than $23M of cut flowers are imported into Australia each year, over a third of which are roses with Kenya providing the most rose imports, followed by Colombia which comes with potential environmental and social costs. But, if you're living in Melbourne, Australia, you're in particular luck! Instant Karma Roses is the first registered licensee of Fairtrade Certified flowers in Australia and their online shop is now open for Valentine's Day orders. Just like other products, choosing Fairtrade guarantees that your flowers are sustainably grown, pesticide-free and ensure that farm workers (the majority of whom are women) receive a fair wage.
If you're not in Melbourne, choose seasonal local flowers. Make a point of asking where they were grown as local flowers are naturally fresher, they come straight from the farm to the shop or florist (instead of sitting in boxes on aeroplanes and ships for days), and they help support the local economy by encouraging small and beginning farmers. If you buy flowers that are in season, they're generally cheaper as well. You could also give live, potted plants, which will go on displaying your love for years to come.
Of course, native flowers are great, and homegrown is even better. There's nothing that says 'I love you' more than something you've loved and cared for yourself!
Check out Fairtrade Australia's website to search for Fairtrade Certifed chocolate right on your doorstep. There's something for everyone with both eating and drinking chocolate; and those with nuts, fruit and seeds! (And this is also a site to keep your eye on ahead of Easter!)
Say It Again
It's estimated that 1 billion Valentine's Day cards will be sent globally. Given this, ensuring the card you pick is made from certified or recycled paper is a great way to reduce its impact. You can also make your own with some recycled cardboard, an old photo and your best cutting and pasting skills.
Or if you prefer an online card, there are plenty of options on the web, including the Nature Conservancy's Valentine's Day series, which features stunning nature photography.
Go Non Commercial
If you aren't into the hype, or these ideas seem too commercial, you can always show your romantic side by planning a picnic in a beautiful natural setting, going on a nature walk, or spending some time together out in the garden.
After all, as Vincent Van Gogh said himself, "If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere", and that's pretty hard to argue with.