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Celebrate Valentine's Day with Green Gifts

By: Eartha Steward
SummitDaily.com

Well, folks, it's that time of year again. The most romantic day of the year is coming. For some, that means anticipation; for some dread. But for the next few days, we'll be inundated with visions of red and pink.

And while we here at the High Country Conservation Center know that celebrating a green Valentine's Day may not be first and foremost on your mind because of other, ahem, distractions that the day provides, there are many easy ways to make your romantic plans more sustainable. (And hopefully we can all agree that's a good thing!)

Valentine's Day has been celebrated for hundreds of years but has taken a very consumptive turn in the days of constant marketing. According to the American Greetings Corp., about a billion valentines are sent globally, enough to encircle the planet five times. That's a lot of trees.

Along with those cards, there are more than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate sold and millions of flowers, most grown with the use of potent pesticides and shipped thousands of miles to brighten someone's day.

Have no fear, hopeless romantics! There are many ways to celebrate your love in a sustainable way. You can start by sending an e-card from a great site like Care2.com, where not only will you save some trees, you'll also generate a donation to a great cause.

For flowers, check out the many organic and fair-trade options that exist. OrganicBouquet.com has all your solutions for organic, veriflora, biodynamic and fair-trade certified flowers of all kind. Also check out LocalHarvest.com to find an organic florist in Summit County.

Another option: The Fair Trade Valentine's Day Action Kit from Global Exchange. The kit includes fair-trade (milk or dark) chocolates and other goodies and comes in a red, recycled Kraft handled bag.

If you feel like breaking the mold this Valentine's Day, we happen to live in the perfect place for some nontraditional Valentine's Day activities. Head out for a snowshoe, ski or even ice skating (because there's nothing more romantic than helping your loved one up after an awkward fall). Plan ahead to cook a delicious organic meal together, eaten by soy candlelight. Maybe even make some music mixes for late-night enjoyment.

Here at the conservation center, we don't put a lot of emphasis on "romantic" holidays like Valentine's, since we agree we should spoil our lovers on a regular basis, not just one or two days a year. But since it's here, we may as well enjoy it to it's fullest. Celebrating each other is a great way to build a long-lasting, sustainable relationship, and maybe even reduce our heating costs by warming up a cold winter night!

Eartha Steward is written by Carly Wier, Jennifer Santry, Heather Dodd Christie, and Susie Nothnagel, consultants on all things eco and chic at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation in our mountain community. Eartha believes that you can walk gently on our planet, even if you're wearing stylish shoes. Submit questions to Eartha at eartha@highcountryconservation.org or to High Country Conservation Center, P.O. Box 4506, Frisco, CO 80443.



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