In case you were unaware, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Hallmark holiday or not, this day is meant to show the important people in your life how much you love them. Classic Valentine's gifts are romantic, but can often be major eco-culprits. So why not switch it up a little and celebrate this day with your loved ones AND a clean consciousness? Here are a few suggestions for Valentine’s Day that are eco-friendly and fun!
Organic Bouquet promises all their flowers are sustainably grown and certified Organic or Veriflora. You can choose from a wide selection of roses, lilies, gerberas and more.
Another option is eye-catching, everlasting tin flowers made of 100% recycled material from Uncommon Goods. They are hand made in Canada, so each flower is individual and special, just as your significant other.
The same website offers rose bouquets made of elephant poop. Yes, that’s right. Elephant poop. But don’t let that scare you off! They are odorless, eco-friendly and really pretty. And, they will last much longer than their living counterparts.
Or, you could forgo the whole flower-buying spectacle and get out! Invite your loved ones to the World of Plants, a breath-taking exhibit that will run until February 21 at the New York Botanical Garden. Your journey starts with lush palms, continues through tropical rain forests, up mountain slopes, and on to the desert filled with cacti and other exotic plants. The New York Botanical Garden is located at Bronx River Parkway (Exit 7W) and Fordham Road. It is easy to reach by Metro-North Railroad.
Valentine’s Day Cards
Let your love grow! These adorable cards from Greenfield Paper are made of 100% recycled paper and printed using soy ink. After Valentine’s Day those cards can be planted in soil, and wild flowers will grow out of it, while the paper will degrade naturally in the soil
Send a bird note from Harriet and Leo! These tiny ceramic birds are hand crafted in Cusco, Peru under fair-trade and eco-friendly conditions. The birds have space enough in their belly to carry a short love note, and the bird, put on a string, can be worn as a pendant of a necklace for the rest of the year.
Give the joy of giving! Send your loved ones a Valentine’s Day charity e-card! This is how it works: You choose the card and the amount of money you want the receiver to donate (it will be deducted from your credit card), and all she or he has to do is choose from a list of over 100 charities. Guilt- and paper-free!
Or why not send your love with a message in a… bean? This bean is planted in a can and once watered and nourished it will grow and show an imprint saying “I LOVE YOU”. So cute, and it will keep growing!
Get creative! Not just for kids. Make your own card by using pieces of cardboard from your recycling bin, tear sheets from magazine ads and old post cards and add a few gift ribbons to decorate a really unique card. Then search the web and find a short poem (Poems For Free), or think of your own, and handwrite it on it. With this card, though it may not be perfect, you show effort and love. You spent your precious time by handcrafting it, which will be greatly appreciated by everyone.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend! We know that. But we also know that there is a downside to beautifully sparkling diamonds. Industrial methods of extracting precious metals and gems from the earth damage the land and endanger eco-systems. Unfortunately, there is no independently set standard for ‘green’ jewelry. Therefore it is extremely important to be educated and know where the diamonds come from. There are quite a few jewelers out there who took the responsibility to heart and engage in eco-friendly mining, fair-trade with miners and recycling gold.
With every purchase this company offers a tag number, which enables you to track the ecological footprint of every part of the piece. Though the company admits at this point it is rather impossible to create 100% green jewelry. As of now, they make an effort to provide you with the most information there is to make it easier for you to choose the ring or necklace that meets your green standards.
Brilliant Earth recently started purchasing diamonds from PRIDE Diamonds, a socially responsible Sierra Leone diamond mining organization that aids workers and their communities through their fair trade diamond mining practices. They also donate 5% of their profits to Africa. They guarantee conflict-free diamonds that are originated from ethical and environmentally responsible sources.
If you are not too hooked on diamonds, but are looking for the extra special, feel-good piece: Designer Carolyn Rafaelian uses eco-friendly, recycled materials made entirely in the United States. The astonishing designs are available at Henri Bendel on 712 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and in her online store.
Their chocolate is 100%organic, made in the USA and they use only fair-trade certified cocoa. They support Project Hope and Fairness, a charitable organization that focuses on helping the cocoa farmers. You can make a donation at www.projecthopeandfairness.org.
Divine Chocolate is partly owned by a farmer co-op called Kuapa Kokoo, assuring that farmers are receiving their fair share of profit and with that making sure they gain a dignified livelihood and develop environmentally friendly cultivation of cocoa. This establishment is a pioneer in the world of socially responsible enterprise. Their products are available at Whole Foods and many other stores in Connecticut.
If you are looking for a luscious chocolate basket, this is the place to go. Unity, a family-owned company based in Michigan compiles goods only from sources and companies that practice fair trade, so your loves’ sweet tooth and your consciousness will be pleased. Especially for Valentine’s Day they offer a yummy basket full of chocolate-y delights. And in case you need to find another earth-friendly gift going with the chocolate, you will find it here as well.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Images courtesy of the corresponding organizations.