Celebrate your love for both planet and people this Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day, February 14th is the day of love. The day means something to most people, whether it’s an exciting day to celebrate with your partner, friends or embrace being your own Valentine. Rest assured, Valentine’s Day is not just about romantic love. In the words of the queen of drag RuPaul “if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”.
The day we know as Valentine’s Day is a relatively old concept, with the first romantic card being sent in 1415 from prison in the Tower of London. It’s come a long way from what originated as a pagan holiday (National Geographic, 2020), with over a billion cards being sent each year. Unsurprisingly this creates a lot of waste, but it doesn’t need to be that way.
Have you considered how you or your loved one actually feels most loved? Find out your love languages, it’s more enjoyable and with fewer unwanted gifts, better for the environment – a win-win for sustainability and you. The 5 love languages, according to Gary Chapman, are – quality time, physical touch, acts of service, words of affirmation and receiving gifts. Find yours here.
Sustainable Valentine’s Day Ideas
If your loved one has a sweet tooth and likes receiving gifts opt for buying fair trade chocolate or from my personal favorite B-Corp Tony’s Chocolonely, which means they have provided a positive impact on the environment, workers, community and you, the customer. Get flowers wrapped in paper and string, as opposed to unrecyclable plastic, or even better, a plant that will last forever. Treedom is another B-Corp where you can literally grow your love in the form of a carefully planted tree, whilst sequestering carbon too.
Choose charity and donate to Choose Love by sending an e-gift, choosing which services or items you wish to give to a refugee this Valentine’s Day. The options range from a hot meal to emergency medical care, from a sea rescue to LGBTQIA+ support. Click to Choose Love.
Tell your loved ones that you love them, either in person or with a handmade card, those famous three words can mean the world. Giving someone a hug and releasing some oxytocin (Science Direct, 2014), sometimes called the ‘cuddle hormone’, may make someone’s Valentine’s Day. Depending on their love language, you could bake a cake or help with some chores, doing nice things for people can be just as, if not more, meaningful than a gift.
Quality time more your thing? Dining out at a local and independent restaurant, especially if you go veggie or vegan, is a brilliant way to benefit the community and minimize your environmental impact. Around 2.4% of the world’s CO2 emissions are caused by flying on airplanes (ICCT, 2018), so if a trip away is how you want to celebrate, a staycation is an equally memorable yet much more sustainable choice. If you prefer to go more low-key then opt for a walk, cycle, or stargaze – what’s more heart-warming than the night’s sky anyway?
Love in all its shapes and sizes
In Greek, there are 7 different words for love and each one brings a different energy to this special day. Eros is passionate and romantic love; Philia is the love of authentic friendship; Storge is love for your family; Phiautia is self-love; Pragma is pragmatic and committed love; Ludus is flirtatious and playful love; and Agápe is universal and empathetic love.
Channel your inner Agápe and remember:
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
It may be Valentine’s,
But the planet needs you.
Author: Rose Ellis