Love the Planet on the Day of Love

Flowers for V-Day can be great — if you know they’re green. Photo: Flickr/Ralph Daily

Flowers for V-Day can be great — if you know they’re green. Photo: Flickr/Ralph Daily

Sure, all the hearts and cupid’s arrows are meant for people, but you can make sure the planet gets some love, too, with these tips for an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day:

1. Think local. Flowers are a sweet way to tell someone you care about them. However, buying cut flowers from the supermarket may not be as environmentally friendly as you think — big flower companies don’t always grow their flowers sustainably and may use a ton of pesticides. A great green option is buying local, organically grown flowers from your neighborhood farmers market or locally sourced flower shop.

The same goes for planning a nice dinner at home. Grab ingredients from local providers and skip the hustle and bustle of a night on the town with a meal of fresh food. If cooking’s not your cup of tea, find sustainable restaurants nearby with the help of Eat Well Guide.

The Love Birds Seed Paper Keepsake Card is available at Dolphin Blue.

The Love Birds Seed Paper Keepsake Card is available at Dolphin Blue.

2. Give a card that represents your blossoming love. Long after the day is over, the Love Birds Seed Paper Keepsake Card will serve as a reminder of your devotion. Each card is made of plantable seed paper and includes a removable, 100 percent recycled printed insert so the recipient can keep your special message while enjoying the wildflowers that bloom.

3. Make a handmade gift from the heart. Instead of buying an impersonal box of chocolates or stuffed animal, strive to make all of your gifts yourself this year using materials you already have on hand. Handmade V-Day gifts are also a great activity for kids.

4. Spend the day in nature. A date in the great outdoors is always one you can appreciate — just think about how a hike to a beautiful vista, complete with a romantic picnic, will enchant your athletic sweetie. Spend your evening watching the sunset, sipping on a local fine wine, and gazing at the stars together. Mother Earth would be proud.

Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, S.C., features 100 solar panels. Photo: Proximity Hotel

Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, S.C., features 100 solar panels. Photo: Proximity Hotel

5. Take a sustainable getaway. If you want to escape for the weekend, do your homework to find an eco-friendly resort or hotel to stay at. You might even be lucky enough to live near one of these 30 gorgeous eco-hotels.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Share

Stop Trashing Your Pantry

According to a new report published by The Natural Resources Defense Council and Harvard’s Food Law and Policy Clinic, 9 out of 10 Americans throw away perfectly edible food because of inconsistent labeling of expiration dates and sell-by dates. The report explains the confusion consumers feel over the dates stamped on food packaging and they propose improvements to current policies to help curve the problem.

Many consumers do not understand what the dates on their food products actually mean. Many think the dates designate food safety when in reality they are indicating freshness, not spoilage. Evidence shows that consumers rely too heavily on label dates resulting in food being thrown out over unfounded safety concerns. Experts suggest that consumers focus on more relevant risk factors regarding their food, such as time and temperature control.

The researchers found that inconsistency of terms and dates on packages complicate the matter for consumers. They are calling for national standardization of the words used on packages and clarification to clearly distinguish between safety-based dates and quality-based dates. This would eliminate the commonly found and confusing “sell by” label on consumer packaging as it only pertains to retailers.

When it comes to food safety, common sense is the best defense. “Use-by” dates are only estimates and if your food shows no sign of spoilage then it is most likely still edible. It is always better to err on the side of caution if you feel your food has expired, but do not rely solely on the date stamped on the package until measures are taken to standardize dates and labels on food packaging.

Share

How What You Eat Affects the Environment

SaladFood is a part of everyone’s lives — and it affects many different things, including your individual health, the health of the environment, and the health of animals. If you want to see how your diet scores on these three factors, click here. The considerations that go into each score include:

Health: saturated fat, cholesterol, dietary fiber, calcium, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, correlations of foods with cancer, and heart disease

Environment: air and water pollution from manure, cattle belching, production and overuse of fertilizer, depletion of groundwater, unnecessary use of land to produce feed grains and soil erosion, and over-grazing

Animal welfare: castration, hot-iron branding, debeaking, detailing, cramped cages and feedlots, cattle feed high in grain, and inhumane shipping and slaughterhouse practices

Also on the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s site is the Eating Green Calculator, which is a more simplified look at what you eat each week. It gives you stats on what it takes to fuel your diet — like how many acres of grain and grass are needed for animal feed, the pounds of pesticides and fertilizer used, and the amount of manure created by animals you eat.

Share