Spread The Eco-Love!
A commemorative event is coming soon. A specific moment where everyone shares their most heartfelt sentiments to their people... A day where you see shining balloons floating through the air, red roses aromatizing the environment, and original teddy bears that have been stored since last year. Do you have a guess? Yes, I am talking about Saint Valentine's day! The origin of this celebration stems from a Christian legend; specifically, it refers to Valentine, a priest who served during the third century in Rome during Emperor Claudius II's mandate. When this emperor established that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he prohibited marriage for young men. Valentine perceived this as an injustice for all the lovers, and, in response to this situation, he ignored Claudius’ decree by continuing to officiate marriages in secret. When the emperor Claudius II discovered Valentine’s actions, he ordered Valentine’s death sentence immediately.
For us, this tale might sound pretty different from how we now conceive of Saint Valentine’s day; however, dear reader, we are not far from a related injustice: misconstruing love. According to Plato, love can be defined as “an expansion of the heart toward another human being.” If we are expanding our souls to spread this courtly language, then why would we do so with materials that inconsiderately harm other species or ecosystems? There is nothing wrong with loving and being someone’s beloved per se; rather, the inconsistency lies in the way in which we may inconsiderately express our affection through actions that come at the cost of other things that deserve our love and attention, such as the environment.
In an effort to celebrate love responsibly, I would like to propose another perspective on Saint Valentine’s day - a way to make this special occasion original, unforgettable, and of course, eco-friendly. So here are some suggestions that you may consider when preparing for this weekend.
Handcrafted cards with recycled paper: There is perhaps nothing more original (and retro!) than composing a handwritten love letter made with craft paper; it exhibits both creativity and sensitivity towards one’s beloved and one’s environment alike.
Purchase fair-trade chocolates like Hershey’s Kisses: Those of us who are not gifted with crafting can buy these types of chocolate and thereby support fairly paid workers and farmers that grow the cocoa beans in safe and environmentally friendly working conditions. Also, you can buy Endangered Species Chocolate; this brand has wonderfully strict standards for quality, ethical trade, and environmental sustainability — earning Fair Trade, Non-GMO, Kosher, Vegan, and Gluten-Free certifications. Every type of chocolate supports an endangered species exhibited on the wrapping paper, as well as a facts sheet about the respective animal on the inside wrapper; furthermore, 10% of their profits go to the Rainforest Trust and the Wildlife Conservation Network!
Plant flowers! Go to the nearest grocery store and purchase some lovely plants or seedlings that you can grow in your backyard. Doing so gives life to your garden and oxygen to your love.
Have a picnic in your nearest park! Pack your beloved’s favorite homemade food and enjoy a simple yet elegant (and inexpensive!) romantic experience.
Photo Collage: Make a collage with your pictures and some old magazines that reflect the personality of your loved one. In doing so, you will practice recycling while making a personalized souvenir for your paramour.
Use a reusable bag for your gift – whether it is food or an object, it can be placed inside a reusable bag!
Practice intimacy safely by using an environmentally-conscious condom! The Center for Biological Diversity has developed a project called Endangered Species Condoms with the main purpose to get people talking about the relation between human population growth and the wildlife extinction crisis. Nowadays, there are 7 billion people on this planet with approximately 200,000 babies being born each day. It is almost 140 new people joining this precariously damaged environment each minute! This fast population growth is related to humanity’s insatiable desire to consume, which is having a significant tax on our planet and wildlife. Practicing unsafe sex leads to overpopulation, which negatively impacts our planetary home in terms of climate change, habitat loss, ocean acidification, and resource. Ultimately, it makes sense to protect our shared mother – Mother Earth - by remaining mindful when expressing our deepest affection with the one we love the most.
I hope this research feeds the love towards the Earth and all its occupants. There is no need to be afraid of this feeling, but there are too many issues to be aware of. Have a Happy Sustainable Saint Valentine's Day!
Gavan, Ian “History of Valentine’s Day” History. December 22, 2009.
Nguyen, Alice “6 Tips Sustainable Valentine’s Day” Sustainability UNL. February 5, 2018
“Love the Planet” Sustainability RICE. February 17, 2017.
Tim, "Definition of Love: Philosophy, May 1, 2012, " in Philosophy & Philosophers, May 1, 2012