Earth Matters by Jacqueline Milner – Greening Up Valentine’s Day – February 5, 2010

Greening Up Valentine’s Day

Many of our Holidays have become so commercialized in that we have become accustomed and brainwashed into spending all sorts of resources and in many cases have lost sight of the meaning of what the holiday is all about. The modern St. Valentine’s Day celebrations have roots in both ancient Christian and Roman tradition. As this is not a history column I will not go into the historical story of this holiday however will say that the St. Valentine’s of today is a time to celebrate and show/share one’s admiration and affection for another.

We celebrate our affection for lovers, brothers, daughters, parents, friends, associates…all those who hold a special place in our hearts.  Valentine cards, chocolates, flowers, special outings and dinners are all mainstays of this holiday so let me make a few green suggestions.

Just to make myself clear, I mean suggestions that require the expenditure of fewer of our resources and that may even add a little more meaning to the holiday.  Personally I don’t think anyone could express their affection to me in a nicer fashion than by giving of their personal time and effort.

How about a personal heartfelt expression from your heart in a letter of what someone means to you.  This personal expression will be a treasured gift far beyond Valentine’s Day. In these days of texting, email and cell-phones setting aside some ‘face time’ with your loved one without any extraneous interruptions can be a welcome breath of fresh air.

A homemade special meal from you to your friend.  This will be most appreciated and will save the gas and other resources to get to your favourite restaurant.

If you decide to order out for a Valentine’s dinner, consider a meal that will involve minimal garbage and don’t be afraid to ask for compostable containers for your takeout order. If you decide to go out to your favourite restaurant for dinner…carpool or walk.  If they offer something on your order that you will not eat, ask them to leave it off the plate when ordering. Waste not, want not.

Should you decide to purchase chocolates for your loved one, consider organic and fair trade choices. Consider making some of your own homemade goodies.  My father used to make his own truffles. Check out this Easy Truffle recipe.

Homemade biscotti anyone?  My husband made some last week-end for a friends Birthday.  They were magnificent and simple to make.  This makes a wonderful gift and can be simply packaged in an empty jar.  Decorate with a simple ribbon and a few words of love.

Instead of fresh cut flowers how about a potted perennial, a flowering houseplant or some flower seeds which can be planted in the garden in spring? Gift certificates by the giver for massages, meals, babysitting, house cleaning, pet sitting, lawn care, driveway shoveling are always greatly appreciated.

Perhaps getting back to a simpler way of living would be kinder on us, our pocketbooks and the earth in general.

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