Roses Are Red, Violets are Blue, a Green Valentine’s Day Begins with You!

This Valentine’s Day, how about inserting a little green into your annual red and pink extravaganza? Each year, this holiday becomes more and more consumer-oriented and commercialized, making it increasingly difficult to appreciate the true meaning of the day.   It’s time to take a closer look at how wasteful the traditional Valentine’s gifts and greetings really are, and explore some earth-friendly ways to express our sentiments to our loved ones.  In honour of Valentine’s Day, here’s an article that addresses how we can practice what we preach in the most intimate parts of our lives, not just in our work to promote sustainable business. When Cupid’s arrow strikes on Feb. 14th, focus on what you can do as a consumer.

Consider this figure: around one billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, and that’s not even counting the additional millions of cards that children exchange in school.  On top of that, you’ve got imported flowers and chocolates, plus extreme amounts of money spent on romantic dinners.  Here are some creative and no-less-romantic ways to make your Valentine’s Day special:

  • Ditch the paper greeting cards!  How many of us actually enjoy browsing the card section at the grocery store or pharmacy agonizing over the perfect message?  Try something less expensive and more personalized, like an e-card or baked cookie card!  You’ll save money, trees and your valuable time.
  • Many people don’t realize how far roses have to travel before finding their way to your true love.  This is a waste of fuel and labor, so do your part to cut down on your carbon footprint.  Shop in your hometown for locally grown flowers, preferably organic ones.  Another option is to buy fair-trade flowers; while these are grown elsewhere, the workers who grow and cut the flowers are paid fair wages and receive other important benefits.   Perhaps the best option is to buy a living plant that will grace a home year round and provide healthy air throughout the household.
  • Turn off the lights!  Take advantage of the romance of the holiday and illuminate your house with the glow of candlelight over a home cooked meal.  If you’re not up for cooking, surprise your sweetheart with a picnic in your living room with local prepared foods and a bottle of organic wine.
  • Do some online shopping at sites like for thousands of handmade items, many of which are made from organic, recycled or sustainable materials.  Another great gift option is to give an experience, like a couple’s cooking class, a massage, or even a personalized coupon book.
  • Instead of dinner and movie, get back to nature and enjoy the outdoors – and each other’s company – by going on a hike or strolling through your local zoo or botanical garden.   Or, you can plant the live tree you gave your sweetheart instead of roses in a special spot in your yard.

Love can be celebrated in countless ways, and sure, it’s okay to indulge ourselves a bit!  The most important thing about Valentine’s Day is that we let those near and dear to us know how much we care about them.  Spend a little time planning something uniquely green this year, and show your loved ones how much you care…for them and the earth.

This article was submitted on behalf of the University of San Francisco’s higher education program, which offers a supply chain management certification online, as well as a sustainable supply chain certification.