It’s almost here — that one day a year when people confess their deep love for one another if they’re lucky enough to have a significant other. Secret admirers send love notes. Chocolates are eaten, and candle lit dinners take place. The romantic colors of red and pink overflow, but there is little green. The environment reaps Valentine’s Day’s impact.
Roses may be red, but they’re definitely not green. Most people think of flowers as naturally green because they grow from the earth into plants, and plants are definitely green, right? Wrong. Fresh cut flowers are bad for the planet, and not as naturally grown as you might think.
For starters, think of the transportation it took for each flower to reach supermarkets and other stores. The greenhouse gases emitted from the energy it takes to transport flowers is harmful to the environment.
Another factor of Valentine’s Day is the chemicals used to preserve flowers. To keep the flowers fresh for purchase, they’re sprayed with toxic chemicals that end up in waterways, which contaminates and pollutes water supplies.
In addition, the chemicals sprayed on flowers are mostly pesticides. When people complain that they are allergic to flowers, it could actually be an allergic reaction to the toxins in the pesticides.
Don’t stop to smell the roses this Valentine’s Day!
The amount of trees cut down specifically for Valentine’s Day is awful for the environment. With fewer trees growing in the world, the ozone layer deteriorates. Trees give us oxygen to breathe in, as they intake the carbon dioxide we breath out. The balance between us and trees is what keeps our environment livable.
If you absolutely need to send a card, make it environmentally friendly. You can buy paper with seeds inside of it, so it can be planted into a tree. Recyclable and biodegradable paper is also another option. Consider sending a card via email as an e-card.
Trees shouldn’t be killed so people can send sappy love cards. There are much better ways to tell someone you love them. Instead of buying someone a card, tell them how you feel. Romantic gestures on Valentine’s Day are inevitable, but actions speak louder than words! A simple cooked meal at home is more romantic than a few words printed on cardstock.
Tell someone you love them by making a home video where you say all the things you would have written in a card. There are so many little things you can do instead of buying a Valentine’s Day card. Be creative! It’ll surely be appreciated.
Around 15 billion trees are cut down a year, lowering the global tree count. The risk of deforestation is not worth sending a card to say something you could easily say in another form.
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If you think life is like a box of chocolates, remember that chocolates are imported from unfair trades, which are then shipped on long journeys where they rack up “food miles.” Numerous gases and toxins are emitted into the environment during the journey. Climate change and air pollution probably aren’t on your mind when you buy chocolate, but they should be. There’s substantial environmental harm in chocolate and transportation.
Another environmental cost of buying chocolates is the packaging. Plastics are used to wrap the chocolates in order to make them look fancy — but they’re not recyclable, nor are they environmentally friendly. Cardboard boxes often go in the trash instead of the recycle bin.
Chocolate lovers, don’t fret — you don’t have to boycott chocolate altogether. For the ethically conscious, you can support local entrepreneurs and shop for chocolates at local small businesses. Check to see if their chocolate is fair trade certified and organic. By shopping fair trade, you support the economy. Organic chocolate was made without the use of pesticides and chemicals, meaning the process didn’t contaminate water supplies.
Also consider buying chocolates from companies that ethically and sustainably source their chocolate. Hershey is a huge company in the chocolate world, and it has a commitment to 100% sustainably sourced chocolate.
The way we interact with one another and share our love doesn’t have to exclude the environment. Roses are red, and violets are blue — but you could be green this Valentine’s Day.