Before you go red for Valentine's Day, think green. There are several things you can do this Valentine's to tread a little bit lighter on the earth:
1. The Dinner Out. Why not try dinner in instead? Shop your local Farmers Market (if you have a winter market going this time of year) or buy local or organic from your favorite independent grocer. Not only will eating at home save you money, but you have more control over the ingredients. And your sweetie will appreciate the extra love that went into slaving over a hot stove.
If eating out is more your bag, try to find a restaurant that features local or organic products. If you don't have any in your area or you want to try a restaurant that doesn't focus on organic, then choose less meat-based items. The impact of your dinner will be lower and you won't feel guilty for the splurge. Now's also a good time to remind you seafood lovers of the Seafood Watch Program provided by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It lists which fish to order (or not) and why. Finally, if you are really into it, take public transportation, or walk or ride your bikes if you are eating out.
2. The Flowers. Is there a better way to say "I love you" than giving your loved one flowers that are pesticide free? Who wants to breathe in the scent of all those roses if they are coated in toxic chemicals? Not to mention the danger to the workers processing the flowers. Instead, order your flowers from the many organic producers that are out there. And, if you don't believe me, rent Maria Full of Grace to see a fictionalized account of the flower packing industry, among other things.
3. The Rocks. For some, Valentine's Day is the day to pop the question or to show a little appreciation through gems, jewelry and other baubles. You'll want to look for diamonds and gold that avoid the environmental and human-rights violations inherent in the industry. Even supposedly conflict-free diamonds are questionable. Why not try to find a more sentimental antique or heirloom quality piece of jewelry instead?
4. The Chocolate. Now we're talking. Just make sure you look for organic and fair-trade certified chocolates. You both can indulge in some sweets without the worry. My favorite organic, local, fair-trade chocolatier is Theo Chocolates just down the street. It's a win-win situation around here.
5. The Nookie. Even if you and your partner have been around as long as Methuselah, why not put some spark into your relationship with some inexpensive at-home fun? You can start off by playing a "romantic" board or card game, watching a "suggestive" movie, or taking a "hot" bath together.
And finally, don't forget to check out my take on Greenpeace's Guide to Environmentally Friendly Sex.