Sunday, April 14, 2024

The Earth Needs Love Too

Zarelle Glen Dorothy A. Villanzana

Chocolates wrapped in plastic wrappers and tin foil, attached with fancy, glossy greeting cards, and bouquets delivered to one’s door — these are some of the gifts one has received for the previous Valentine’s Days. With all sweet messages directed to your loved one through balloons and banners, the Earth may be placed in potential harm, especially if these means of endearments continue. Although this year’s Valentine’s celebration had already passed, you could still extend love towards both the environment and your loved ones simultaneously for the next season of love in the following years to come.

Personal Greeting Cards

All stemming from ancient Rome, many legends have been made about the origins of the day of hearts. One of them is about an imprisoned man named Valentine, who fell in love with (possibly) his jailer’s daughter, resulting in him sending the first “Valentine” card. Finding its way into the modern world are replications of that gesture of love, having a billion cards sent every year on the fourteenth of February. The industrial revolution has made their mass production possible, most of which are unrecyclable. With card exchanges comes the cost of mail, and mailing not only costs money, but also the carbon emissions used for transportation, not to mention the production of the paper used. For this, it would be a better idea to make your own handwritten cards to lessen the carbon emissions, while also adding sincerity to your gift.

Crocheted Bouquets

In the Middle Ages, poets started to acknowledge Valentine’s Day as a romantic celebration with their verses mimicking the beauty of flowers given to a loved one. However, while great delight is found in colorful petals, the realities of the flower industry are far less rosy than one might think. With every bouquet received, there is always a great deal of refrigeration and long-haul transportation. In cooler areas, some would even need heated greenhouse gasses for them to grow. A nice alternative that has grown in popularity recently is crocheted flower bouquets, where an arrangement is formed with different colors of yarn. There are variations to these bouquets much like actual flowers, they could be tied together with a ribbon, or be presented in a vase, but all of them share the lasting quality. Not only could they be an expression of your enduring love, but they are also a unique sight to see.

Mini Trees

In addition to crocheted bouquets, you could never go wrong with a plant. They produce oxygen and combat climate change, and certain plants clean the home from pollutants. It would be a very thoughtful gift, and it goes beyond the day of love as caring for the plant enables the receiver to pass their love further as well.

Dark Chocolate

On the topic of plants, deforestation is widely caused by monoculture farms that grow cocoa beans, sugar, and palm oil. White milk chocolate may not already sound too healthy, but it also harms the environment as cows release a lot of methane gas. Additionally, individually wrapped chocolate bars multiply the waste on our planet. To savor chocolate cravings on Valentine’s day, one could choose to consume less or opt for dark chocolate instead since it uses no milk but still tastes delicious. It lowers the risk of blood pressure and heart disease too, making it a healthier alternative, while also helping farmers and benefitting the planet at the same time.

Intangible Gifts

Aside from taking the time to think of gifts to give, there is always value in time being spent with your loved ones. May it be through watching a movie together, baking or cooking a meal together, or just enjoying each other’s presence in the simplest of ways, it would already express your love in volumes. It would not harm the environment so much, compared to celebrating with unsustainable balloons, banners, and lots of confetti.

There are many more gift ideas to be thought of for the next Valentine’s day celebration, these are just some of the few that benefit both loved ones and the environment. With these alternatives, the Earth will not be suffering too much of Valentine’s woes in exchange for those endearments. Our planet deserves the love it needs too, just as we give the deserved love to our dearest ones.

Sources:

Crochet News. (2021, September 30). 15 Crochet Flower Bouquet Patterns. https://crochet-news.com/crochet-flower-bouquet-pattern-roses-and-lilies/

Davidson, R. (2021, May 6). The environmental impact of cut flowers? Not so rosy. Ideas.Ted.Com. https://ideas.ted.com/the-environmental-impact-of-cut-flowers-not-so-rosy/

History.com Editors. (2022, February 11). History of Valentine’s Day. HISTORY. https://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day-2

How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Sustainably. (2021, February 11). Yale Sustainability. https://sustainability.yale.edu/sustainable-valentines-day-ideas

Spaen, B. (2020, November 20). Your Chocolate Obsession Doesn’t Have To Cost The Environment. Green Matters. https://www.greenmatters.com/food/2018/04/19/4hjwy/chocolate-environmentally-friendly

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