Green Valentine’s Day

February 2015

If your goal is to live more sustainably, Valentine’s Day is the first holiday to put that resolution to the test. Many of the traditional gifts and celebrations associated with Valentine’s Day – heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, four-course meals, and that enormous bouquet of roses – usually come at the expense of our environment.

Luckily, there are easy ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a way that also shows the environment some love.

Sustainable Valentine’s Dinner

Perhaps the most popular way to celebrate the day is sharing a romantic dinner with your sweetheart. Many people like to impress their partners with a nice home-cooked meal. Why not prepare a home-cooked meal using locally grown, seasonal produce?

Even here in Chicago, there are seasonal fruits and veggies to choose from. For example, at this time of the year, local produce like turnips, carrots, cabbage, and potatoes are available. Check the Eat Well Guide to find local farms and markets carrying local products. If home cooking isn’t your thing, then have dinner at a certified “green restaurant” in your city. You can search the Green Restaurant Association for one near you.

“Green” Flowers

Roses may be red, but they’re certainly not green,  according to research from Scientific American. In fact, the 100 million roses grown for a typical Valentine’s Day in the U.S. produces nearly 9,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. As roses are generally grown in warmer climates—such as South America for U.S. markets and Africa for Europeans—they have to be flown all over the world. On top of the flights, they also have to be driven in temperature-controlled trucks across countries and stored overnight in cold boxes. Thus, many of the flowers you see at grocery stores are doused in preservatives to survive the two-week journey from another continent.

Solution - Each year, there are more places to find organic, earth-friendly flowers including Organic Bouquet. You can find more organic flower growers by visiting Local Harvest. They smell nice and don't leave massive amounts of pesticides.

So, sappiness aside, remember sustainability is the gift that keeps on giving.