Who says St. Patrick's Day is green and Valentine's Day is red?
If you really want to impress that special someone — or someone you hope will become that special someone — show them that you care by giving them a green Valentine's Day.
Here are nine things you can do on Valentine's Day that shows you not only care about them but that you care for the environment around them.
Will you be my e-Valentine?
Remember how cute those Valentines were when you were a kid? Step it up a notch and do your part to save a tree. Send your Valentine an e-card from the Nature Conservancy this year. Options include hugging starfish and love-struck frogs. The Nature Conservancy does work in 35 countries and all 50 states so you can feel good about a group with conservation ties to your area. Your e-Valentine will lessen the environmental impact of the more than 150 million Valentine cards that will be exchanged on February 14.
A Heart Shaped Box: Chocolate
Americans will spend more than $700 million on chocolate for Valentine's Day. What most Americans don't know is that next to cotton, cocoa demands the second highest use of pesticides of all grown crops on the planet. The USDA has a list of more than 244 organic chocolate producers that put a priority on taste and not chemicals. If you don't know where to turn or don't trust your tastebuds The Sierra Club has a list of ethical chocolates that taste great.
Roses are red but are they green?
Valentine's Day is a big part of the $20 billion U.S. floral industry. More than 90 percent of the roses sold on Valentine's Day are imported from countries that have varying levels of oversight with regard to pesticide usage. Pesticides can affect the health of farm workers, florists and maybe even your special someone. If you are going to buy flowers this Valentine's Day, think homegrown. Ecoflowers delivers in all 50 states and in New York, NYC Farm Chic Flowers offers Brooklyn-grown flowers in their floral arrangements alongside Oregon roses.
Get no kick from Champagne
With a mere one percent of the vineyards in Champagne, France organically farmed, a bottle of organic champagne is going to put a magnum-sized dent in your wallet. Closer to home, the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance reports that 12.3 percent of total certified acreage in the state was sustainable in 2012. A number that continues to grow as people continue to become aware of sustainable alternatives. Whether it's organic wine or sustainable wine there are a growing list of options and price points to help you pour your passion.
Candles to set the mood
Are you planning a candlelight dinner that you will prepare using only the finest organic produce? Maybe you are looking for the ethereal flicker of a candle to provide the backdrop as you sketch their outline. Either way, the type of candle you buy can make you both sick. From lead wicks to satiric acid to paraffin, the billion dollar marketplace for candles is an environmental minefield. Stay clear of the bargain-bin candles for under a buck.
Diamonds are a girl's best friend
Known alternately as blood diamonds or conflict diamonds ensure that the diamond you buy for Valentine's Day leaves you with a clear conscience. At one time blood diamonds represented 15 percent of the global diamond marketplace. Today, the criteria to accurately assess the preponderance of blood diamonds has come under question. The diamond industry states that blood diamonds make up less than one-half of one percent of today's global diamond market. Critics disagree. Whatever the number, keep in mind that it is bad karma to give someone you love a diamond that funds war.
I'll have what she's having
Even if your big night out is just grabbing a bite at the university cafeteria, the eco-dining experience is catching on. Restaurants today will proudly exclaim that they source their food locally, organically or cater to vegetarians. If you are really into them you should be concerned about what goes into them.
A weekend getaway
With Valentine's Day falling on a Friday in 2014 maybe you can plan an eco-getaway to the slopes or to the coast. Eco-travel has been booming in recent years and services such as Escapemaker.com can help you plan your green getaway. A number of hotels and resorts are now being built with LEED certification in mind. Places like the Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, North Carolina proudly share with their guests their environmental accomplishments.
Three little words
There is only one thing that you really need for a successful environmentally friendly Valentine's Day. It doesn't come in a box, it can't be found on a store shelf and it is never on sale no matter how hard you look. The best gift on Valentine's Day comes from the heart. Tell that special someone how they make you feel. Tell them what they really want to hear. I love you!