Show your significant other and the planet a little love this February 14th.
Valentine’s Day. It’s certainly up there among the top holidays for that feel-good glow. But it’s also kind of counterintuitive, because all the stuff we end up doing and buying to make our other halves feel loved has entirely the opposite effect on the planet.
Consider this, the UK sends around 22 million cards every Valentine’s Day – that’s a lot of paper. We also import around three times as many roses as usual during the month of February. Considering the majority of roses sold in the UK come from the likes of Kenya and Colombia, that’s a lot of air miles for something that’s going to wither and die in a few days’ time. And then there’s all the plastic-wrapped chocolates, fancy dinners and cutesy-novelties that are relegated to a box somewhere never to be seen again.
So this year, instead of the usual bouquet of flowers and meal at your favourite chain restaurant, why not try celebrating your love in a way that also shows the earth you care? In any case, these great green date ideas are guaranteed to be a lot more memorable than your bog-standard trip to the cinema.
- Have an adventure
Grab a map of your local bus or train network, close your eyes and point to a destination, then visit it using public transport. You might unearth a hidden gem, or you might find yourself ambling around a bland shopping centre. Either way, you’re having an adventure together. Alternatively, purchase a travel card and spend the day hopping from place to place, based on whatever criteria you can imagine. Places beginning with the letter A, for example, or places with the names of trees in them. The more random the better!
- Cook up a storm
Visit a farmers’ market and spend the afternoon strolling around the stalls, indulging in a few tasty samples and learning about food provenance, then gather up some lovely fresh ingredients and head home to make a feast. Make sure you have a nice bottle of organic wine to accompany your culinary creations. Speaking of which…
- Take an organic wine tour
Good wine is synonymous with Valentine’s Day, but instead of choosing a cheap bottle of plonk from the off-license, spend an afternoon taking a tour of an organic winery. You’ll learn something, get a load of fresh air, and have the opportunity to gratuitously enjoy the sweet nectar in the name of knowledge! Find a winery near you here (there are more than you think!)
- Go stargazing
Is there anything more romantic than catching a glimpse of a shooting star with your beloved? Wrap up warm, pack a blanket and a thermos of tea (or something a little stronger!) and head to one of the many dark sky discovery sites dotted around the UK. Many permit camping, if you wanted to make a real night of it. Find one near you here.
- Hunt for treasure
Sure, if you’ve got access to a metal detector then beachcombing can be a fun activity, but for the middle of February, you might prefer seeking out an indoor-based bounty instead. Antique stores, flea markets and car boot sales are fascinating places to see all manner of weird, wonderful, old and interesting items, and any purchases you make will be green-guilt-free, since you’re only reusing and repurposing existing stuff.
The bottom line
Valentine’s Day is a fun and heart-warming holiday, and if you’re loved up you absolutely should celebrate it if it’s your cup of tea. But as with the likes of Christmas and Easter, it can prove to be a very wasteful day in terms of materials and resources – not to mention money! Keeping your V-Day consumption to a minimum will limit your impact on climate change and help protect the planet that we love year-round.
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