For Valentine’s Day Green is the new Red
Show her your love is sustainable… because on Valentine’s Day you care enough to say “I love you” in a way that also says you love our planet (and you want to make it a better place for our children).
By Jeremy Bloom
This is the biggest shopping day of the year for chocolate and flowers… go green this year instead of red!
Say it with flowers
Roses: Very romantic, very chic, and very, very bad for the planet.
Why? Used to be that unless you lived in the deep South you couldn’t touch roses in February. Then they started flying them in via refrigerated airplanes from Central and South America. Spectacularly energy-intensive AND pesticide intensive (and that’s not even getting into the appalling labor conditions of the workers, often women and children, who prepare the blooms).
Exploitation, poison and carbon-hoggery – doesn’t that just spell romance?
Orchids: Pretty, more local, but have to be grown in hothouses. Again, energy intensive.
Tulips: Along with other spring bulbs, these are generally more local. They’re probably grown in hothouses as well, but for a much shorter time, so the energy involved is pretty low. And unlike roses, they provide color and greenery for weeks. Go Dutch for Valentine’s Day this year!
Seal the deal with chocolate
Ah, cacao. Food of the gods, choc full of those wonderous theobromines – brain chemicals that not only scream “romance”, but also spark it.
We don’t have to worry about shipping as much in this case, since most cacao is brought over by the boatload, and ocean shipping is the least-energy-wasting method of transport. But there are other considerations.
Not all chocolate is created equal. Some of it is endowed by its creators with all kinds of extra stuff that’s not so great for the planet (or your waistline) – including dairy (often from energy-hogging and polluting factory farms) and the worst of all possible sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup (grown from those lovely Monsanto GMO seeds).
And Fair Trade chocolate guarantees your sweets aren’t soured by exploitation (much of conventional chocolate is made with pretty nasty child labor).
Avoid the fancy boxed candies you see in the store… they’re pretty, but they’re also pretty run-of-the-mill. And you want to indulge your love in something special, don’t you? Like the Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates, pictured above.
As with all foods, organics are (nearly always) better from an energy standpoint, since they avoid energy-intensive petrochemical fertilizers. And organic farming actually returns carbon to the soil and sequesters it, rather than spewing more out into the atmosphere.
So go organic this year, for a sweet that will make your sweetie say “oooh!” instead of “oy!”