Will you be my fair-trade organic Valentine?
If you're truly green, it isn't something you trot out just for Earth Day. So with the card-makers' and florists' favorite holiday bearing down on us, here are a few tips we've seen recently for showing your love for Mother Nature as well as your sweetheart on Valentine's Day.
Make a fancy dinner at home. Instead of dining out, cook your own Valentine's feast, suggests Jessica Harlan at RecycleBank. Or break with tradition, she says, and give your true love a potted plant instead of a dozen red roses, with all the environmental baggage they may carry.
Rather than rush to the store for a big heart-shaped box of sweets for your sweet, Harlan advises, why not make your own truffles? She links to a few recipes here. If you're cooking-challenged (guys), she strongly suggests you shop for organic, fair-trade chocolates. Here's a rundown of brands, courtesy of Mother Earth News.
In the DIY tradition, Harlan also urges the truly green make their own jewelry and cards, rather than buy them. And if you simply must say it with diamonds, she instructs you to insist on conflict-free stones. For those more inclined to fashion gifts, she also advises where to find eco-friendly lingerie, made of bamboo (!), organic cotton, hemp and silk.
Finally, the truly committed earth lover could always skip the conventional gift- and card-giving altogether and make a green statement in his or her true love's honor. One heart-fluttering option - adopt a fin or humpback whale.
For as little as $40 per whale ($50 for a mother and calf pair), your adoption would support the College of the Atlantic's research on cetaceans. Your intended wouldn't be empty-handed, either. He or she would get a photograph of "an individually identfied whale", a personalized adoption certificate and a handy waterproof field guide to whales.
Sadly, the opportunity for this unusually green expression of love has already past - orders had to be placed by Feb. 10. But if you think it's neat anyway, here's the link.
Of course, many of these green alternatives for Valentine's Day take a little extra time and effort. If you don't have any of those to spare, you can always take comfort as you crowd the card and candy counters in thinking about how you're stimulating our lagging economy. And remember, it's the thought that counts.
For more to do (and buy) on Valentine's Day, check out this site at baltimoresun.com
(Valentine: AP Photo/The Rawlins Daily Times, Kathy Johnson; Whale: 2006 AP Photo/Reed Saxon)