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Going Green for Valentine’s Day

If there is a special someone in your life, Valentine’s Day is a day when you probably feel compelled to celebrate and give a gift.   At the same time, this holiday can be the height of commercialism and yet another reason to shop for high end “stuff.”  Consider rethinking the holiday and using it as a way to show love while being mindful of environmental impact. Below are a few ways to do so:

–Give an eco-friendly gift:  Avoid the mall or department store. Go eco-friendly with your gift.  Some ideas include fair trade chocolate, organic handmade soap or a handbag made from recycled products.  Shop at your local fair trade store, organic market or similar venue to find just the right gift.

–Give an experience rather than a gift in a box:  Another way to be more respectful of the environment when you do Valentine’s Day shopping is to buy a gift of a dinner out or tickets to a show or concert.  That plush teddy bear or pair of earrings may just sit on the shelf or in a drawer.  Live theatre or a meal out can offer a great experience without generating more waste in your home.

— Give a gift of your time or experience:  Sometimes the best gifts are the ones that involve giving of yourself.  Consider giving a “gift certificate” offering to make a special home cooked meal for your significant other or to give him/her an evening back rub.  Think about what you are good at and love to do and share it with someone you love for the holiday.

–Combine a gift with a cause:  There are some purchases that can combine your wish to give a tangible gift with efforts to help the environment. For example, the company Amour Vert (http://www.amourvert.com/)  plants a tree for every tee shirt purchase (in partnership with American Forests).  The tee shirts are also made from organic cotton.  Or visit the Sierra Club website and buy a gift from the Sierra Club store (http://vault.sierraclub.org/store/) which the supports the work of the organization.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Gail Wechsler is the Director of Domestic Issues/Social Justice at the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis. She is the staff person for the Jewish Environmental Initiative (JEI), a committee of the JCRC and a part of the JCRC's Bohm Social Justice Initiative.
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