Earth-Friendly Guide to Valentine's Day | Earth Day Network

By Stef McDonald

Give better bouquets. Choose flowers from providers who are pesticide-free. (On that subject, sign our pledge to stop using pesticides.) Also, favor local sellers instead of ordering online to reduce carbon emissions from delivery.

Give greens that last. Consider plants instead of cut flowers. For someone with a yard, give a rose bush instead of a bouquet of roses or consider outdoor plants that are drought-tolerant or attract pollinators. Or consider trees! (It’s only $1 to plant a tree with EDN’s tree canopy program).

Give better bling. Make sure jewelry sellers are fair-trade and use ethically-sourced minerals and gemstones. You can also look for jewelry designers who used recycled gold or silver, or buy antique or pre-owned jewelry.

Give better sweets. Choose fair-trade chocolates and sweet sweets made without palm oil, which is a major contributor to deforestation and threatens species such as the orangutan.

Have good taste. Is your loved one a foodie? My grandmother always said, “Food is love.” Bake something sweet or prepare a romantic meal made with locally grown produce and other specialty items. First stop: food vendors at your local farmers’ market. You could also give a farmers’ market basket or bag with fresh and local produce and a cookbook as a gift.

Toast to a brighter future. Choose champagne, wine, or other spirited drinks from winemakers and providers who use organic ingredients.

Give love letters. Support the independent businesses in your neighborhood by giving a book of love poems. Or: order the e-book version. (Tip: When you shop online while logged in to Amazon Smile, you can choose a nonprofit to receive a small portion of sales. Select Earth Day Network on Amazon Smile and you help us directly.)

Give twice. It’s true about one person’s trash being another’s treasure — and when you buy from antique markets, consignment and thrift shops, eBay, Etsy, Craigslist, and other sources of second-hand items, you do your part to reduce waste to landfills. Another way to give back is by buying from gift shops for museums and parks, in person or online.

Shop local. Support your local community, including local artisans. Even better: shop on foot or bike or use public transit and leave the car behind.

Encourage plastic-free living. Consider using a reusable mug instead of a box for sweets or a reusable market tote as a gift bag. Wrap edible gifts in a reusable bag or an alternatives to plastic wrap, such as beeswax-covered cloth.

Be a maker. Homemade gifts, including food and personal care items, are twice as nice. Extra touches: attach a recipe for the recipient and consider using a vintage glass jar, container, or tin that can be reused.

Make it an experience gift. Give concert or theater tickets, restaurant gift certificates, or museum memberships and you’re giving the recipient an experience to enjoy. Also consider giving personalized games or puzzles from a photo-printing service that allows you to create one with personal photos.

Buy better. Something to consider: the maker of the products and its ingredients. Give from companies with responsible business practices — organic, Fair Trade, sweatshop-free, environmentally-friendly, sustainable. Also: look at labels for ingredients that are organic and non-toxic.

Support Earth! It’s always meaningful to give experience gifts or contributions to good causes in the recipient’s name. For a limited time, EDN’s 2019 giraffe poster is your gift with donation.