February the 14th brings out the romantic in most of us and we do love to mark it with a token of our affection but the sad truth is from an environmental point of view it’s really bad news!
But there are ways you can celebrate it without it ‘Costing the Earth’ and reduce the environmental impact and create lasting memories with the added bonus of supporting local businesses that care.
Flowers! The number purchase which has the highest negative environmental impact due to the pesticides used in production and the carbon footprint because of the thousands of miles they have to travel to get to you. If you must have roses then please opt for fairtrade ones that at least support and provide local workers with safe, healthy working conditions and limit their pesticide use.
Your best option is to source local producers that can offer sustainable grown seasonal flowers. In Ireland that will not be roses.
Alternatively, give a gift voucher for a workshop or flower subscription when there are more local flowers available.
- Chocolate! Cocoa only grows in warm climates and travels even further than flowers with the same heavy reliance on toxic pesticide use and is fueling rapid deforestation and loss of habitat.
Fairtrade chocolate again supports local people and provides better working conditions. There are some wonderful producers here in Ireland who craft incredible chocolate so there’s no excuse!
- Eating out: You can dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of your meal by supporting restaurants that support local producers and ingredients. This is good for all of us because income stays in the locality and keeps people in work.
- Cards: The deforestation that occurs to provide millions of mass-produced cards that will be consigned to the dustbin in 5 minutes breaks my heart! There are other ways if you must have a card then seek out a locally made one that uses recycled or eco-friendly materials. Most small independent stores and craft shops will have a supply of these and again it’s keeping things in our locality!
- Jewellery: Positive choices with positive purchases! Antique, vintage pieces are a lovely option. There are some fantastic talented jewellery designers in Ireland that are thoughtful in their design and materials, sourcing their ingredients that adhere to strict working conditions, trade and environmental protocols.
I hope that gives you food for thought and encourages you to think outside the box. There are so many other ways to have a positive Valentine's day and help create a future we can all be proud of and leave the planet in a better condition than we found it!
Happy Valentines Day!