We know, we know: Valentine's Day is a consumerist holiday invented by greeting-card companies, jewelers and chocolatiers. But that doesn't mean it can't be enjoyed responsibly and in a giving spirit. This year, consider giving e-cards instead of paper cards, antique or recycled jewelry, ethical chocolate, organic (or home-grown) flowers, and digital playlists instead of packaged CDs. If you must wrap your gift, consider planet-friendly options.
Vintage jewelry is a great choice for romantic souls who don't romanticize the environmental and human-rights problems associated with mining diamonds and gold. For a bold (and not necessarily bank-breaking) statement, consider a distinctive piece made from recycled metal, paper, or other repurposed materials.
If you give your Valentine a tchotchke or doodad, consider how soon it may end up in a landfill. Instead, you can plan a hike and a picnic in your mutually favorite nature spot. Other memorable small-footprint ideas include a day at an organic spa, a gift certificate to a vegetarian restaurant, a cooking or dancing class, tickets to a nearby concert or play, or a subscription to a local CSA. You can even adopt a national park in your sweetheart's name. If you do choose to give an object, check out Sierra magazine's guide to green Valentine's gifts.
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