February 9th, 2015

4 Climate-Friendly Valentine’s Day Gifts

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Climate-Friendly Valentine's Day Groovy Green Livin

 This was originally published on the Huffington Post.

It’s hard to ignore the sea of red gifts and boxes of chocolates lining the aisles in most stores this time of year. Valentine’s Day is upon us. While we ponder how to best surprise our loved ones, many areas in the country are being hammered with multiple blizzards. It’s hard to imagine, with several feet of snow on the ground, that winters have, on average, been getting warmer since the 1970s. According to Climate Central there has been an overall drop in the number of nights below freezing in most cities.

This increase in warmer weather throughout the world is becoming the new normal. Climate change is real. With 61 Senators (a vast majority of the Senate including 15 Republican senators) admitting the scientific reality of man-made climate change, we can now move forward and talk about solutions.

While discussions of political solutions to climate change are beginning to circulate we can continue with our own personal efforts to reduce our individual carbon footprints.

This Valentine’s Day rather than focusing on those red and chocolate filled aisles why not look outside the box and give a gift that will truly make a difference and impact climate change.

Adopt a Polar Bear

American polar bears are on the brink of extinction unless we take immediate action. These large marine mammals spend much of their time on the Arctic Sea, in areas where they can hunt seals at openings in the sea ice hundreds of miles from land. But the Arctic Sea ice is rapidly diminishing due to climate change, thereby destabilizing the polar bears’ habitat.

This Valentine’s Day give the gift of adopting a polar bear. Your gift will help to protect the fragile Arctic by fighting climate change through vital research and policy work, advocating a ban on all drilling in the region, and pushing for polar bears to gain the full protection they deserve under the Endangered Species Act.

Declare Your Love for the Planet 

The Climate Coalition is the UK’s largest group of people dedicated to action on climate change. This Valentine’s Day they’re asking everyone to submit photos of things they love and that they fear losing due to the effects of climate change. The #ShowTheLove campaign is a way to show politicians and those in decision making roles that climate change is something we all care about.

Climate change affects the things we love most. Our childrens’ future. Our hobbies. Our passions. Our lifestyles. Our safety and wellbeing. We’re saying loud and clear – let’s act on climate change, for the love of everything we hold dear. 

In honor of Valentine’s Day head on over HERE and #ShowTheLove by sharing what you love and how it could be impacted by climate change. There’s also a short film and green hearts to make, wear and share with your loved ones.

Plant a Tree in Honor of Someone You Love

Instead of giving cut flowers this Valentine’s Day why not give a tree? According to the Arbor Day Foundation planting trees helps to fight climate change.

Through the natural process of photosynthesis, trees absorb CO2 and other pollutant particulates, then store the carbon and emit pure oxygen.

You can reduce your energy use by strategically planting trees near your home. Trees will keep your house cool in the summer and allow the sun to warm your house in the winter. According to the U.S. Forest Service Center just three trees, properly placed around a house, can save up to 30% of energy use. Forests are the world’s second largest carbon reservoirs (oceans are the largest). We can’t create new oceans, but we do have the ability to plant new trees. One acre of forestland will capture between 150 – 200 tons of CO2 in its first 40 years.

Honor your friends and loved ones this Valentine’s Day with the gift of trees. Every dollar donated to the Arbor Day Foundation plants a tree in one of our nation’s forests.

Forgo the Cut Roses and Give a House Plant

So often we forget that the environment has the natural ability to clean itself. Many common houseplants act as an air purifier, removing toxins from the air we breathe. They are known to produce oxygen from CO2 and they absorb toxins including benzene (gasoline, inks, oils, paints, plastics, and rubber), formaldehyde and/or trichloroethylene (printing inks, paints, lacquers, varnishes, and adhesives).

Through air purification household plants reduce the amount of humidity in the home, which in turn means less air conditioning is needed during the hot summer months.  Most electricity needed to run an air conditioner is currently produced by burning fossil fuels. Reducing the amount of air conditioning needed will require less electricity to run an air conditioner, which will in turn reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.

A few years back NASA scientists studied nineteen different plants over a two year span to see which did the best job cleaning the air. The NASA study recommends that you use 15 to 18 good-sized houseplants in 6 to 8-inch diameter containers to improve air quality in an average 1,800 square foot house.

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day this year?

 


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photo credit: Rex Rosetta Fur Heart via photopin (license)

18 Responses to “4 Climate-Friendly Valentine’s Day Gifts”

  1. I’d love a potted plant instead of cut flowers! I also would love a cleaned car more than anything else… Sometimes actions are even better than physical gifts and they are a green choice too:)
    Scarlet recently posted..5 Ways To Show Kids You Love Them This Valentine’s DayMy Profile

  2. love the polar bear idea – it covers the cute and cuddly stuffed animal category in a much better way and we have long been fans of the Arbor Day Foundation – a fantastic gift any time!
    Nancy b recently posted..Still Need Summer Plans? Try this Virtual Camp Fair from ACA New EnglandMy Profile

  3. I love the idea of adopting a polar bear. For Christmas last year one of my daughter’s gifts was a donation to WWF to adopt a penguin.
    Tamara @ We3Travel recently posted..15 Steps to Raising a Good TravelerMy Profile

  4. I’m a fan on the plant, too! I try to get my mom a plant instead of flowers for any occasion!
    Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious? recently posted..Never saying “I would never…” M&MM 260th edMy Profile

  5. I want a polar bear!! I love that idea. The $100 for flowers and candy could be used in such better ways!

  6. I may just have to adopt a polar bear for my kids. What a cute idea for Valentine’s Day!
    Emily @Random Recycling recently posted..Monday Meal Plan Feb 9thMy Profile

  7. LOVE, LOVE the polar bear! What a great idea! I love the suggestion of turning Valentine’s Day gifts into something meaningful — not just candy!

  8. I LOVE these ideas, especially the polar bear. Who doesn’t love the polar bear? (and let’s be honest, I don’t really need any chocolate right now :>)

  9. My favorite idea is plant a tree! Love it. I want to plant some trees this spring when all this snow is gone! Valentine’s Day is pure silly and just a commercial holiday for spending, don’t ya think? We don’t get into it over here much.

  10. We don’t really do much for Valentine’s Day either Annie. The kids really like bringing in Valentine’s to school, but that’s about it!

  11. I love the polar bear gift too Jessica. I’m done with chocolate…at least for today!

  12. It’s such a commercialized holiday Kimberly-it’s nice to know that there are other options out there.

  13. so true Heather-the money spent on chocolates and other Valentine’s Day treats adds up quickly. Why not apply it towards something meaningful?

  14. I like plants also Krystyn-they last so much longer.

  15. Great idea for a holiday gift Tamara!

  16. Isn’t the polar bear gift fantastic?! I’m so excited to ‘give’ this to my kids this year! We planted trees when each of our kids were born, in their honor. They love to look outside each year to see how big they’ve grown. Such a cool gift!

  17. I’m a big fan of gifts that give back and love that you featured 4 fabulous ways to say I love you with a wonderful gift that benefits our planet too!
    Leticia- Tech Savvy Mama recently posted..Valentine Gift Guide: 15 Tech Savvy Gifts for Your Loved OnesMy Profile

  18. Finally, al list that matters. While gift-giving is an essential part of Valentine’s Day celebrations, it’s about time we veer away from the usual cut flowers and chocolates and support efforts to make the world a better place to live in. Let’s give meaningful, long-lasting gifts.

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Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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