In a world of consumerism where we are pressured into spending more, buying more and tying our identities with our possessions it takes courage to step out of the mainstream and do something different. Love to the planet and choose meaningful gifts this Valentine’s Day.
As The Beatles would say ‘there’s nothing you can do that can’t be done’ and while we strongly believe that ‘love is all you need’, it’s time to talk about the environment and the great need to make more conscious choices.
A holiday that was once characterised by the subtle gestures of love with handmade cards and handpicked flowers, Valentine’s Day has now become a representation of consumerism, material attachment and consequently massive amounts of waste.
Highstreet shops are full of overpriced chocolate, mainstream cards and flower bouquets that look the same all waiting for you to buy and spend more to show your love. Let’s be honest, we all like to be pampered and there’s something special about being someone’s Valentine, but do we actually need all these?
The environmental impact of roses, chocolate or cards some of the most popular choices for this holiday is something that we should be concerned about. Around 70% of the roses sold in the UK come from Kenya and for a rose to reach its full size the farmer would have to use 10 litres of freshwater according to The Independent. If this wouldn’t already be hurtful enough for the environment, add the carbon footprint emissions from transporting the roses, waste that comes with the printed paper for the cards or the palm oil used in the production of chocolate that leads to deforestation and the destruction of animal habits. Fast forward into the future and we are no longer celebrating love, but rather dealing with the consequences of greedy consumerist attitudes.
But, hey! It’s not all negative! Awareness is the first step towards change and it all starts with us. There are many ways to show love to your partner AND the planet while making small changes every day. Here’s where you could start from:
1. Practice non-attachment (or in yogic terms ‘aparigraha’)
How many cards do you have at the back of your drawer without ever looking at them? Or any other miscellaneous items from previous years? Take some time to go through them, thank them for all the memories and if they served their purpose simply let them go.
Either reuse, recycle or give away to charity for other people to enjoy them. If there is an emotional attachment towards the items ask yourself if it’s something you want to take with you into your future, Marie Kondo style. Most likely you will end up appreciating all the items you decide to keep, spread the joy by giving them to someone else or learn that you don’t need new items to feel loved.
2. Take quick showers and reduce utility usage.
Getting ready for a date? We know it’s tempting to daydream under a nice warm shower but decreasing shower time really makes a big impact on the environment by saving massive amounts of water if anyone would consciously reduce their shower times by three minutes. Yes, only three minutes. Same goes for other utilities, always remember to unplug unnecessary devices and switch lights off when you don’t need them.
3. Replace flowers with house plants.
Roses are red, violets are blue, but plants are a better way to say ‘I love you’. We’ve already talked about the negative impact of Valentine’s Day roses or flower buckets on the environment but we should also be mentioning that most of these end up in the bin and then in the landfills emitting more gases. Here are 10 romantic houseplants to surprise your partner on the day.
4. Reduce, reuse and recycle.
Cards are much more meaningful is they’re handmade, but if handcraft is not your thing make sure the cards and packaging you purchase are made from recyclable paper without any glitter or add-ons like stickers and pop-ups. Please be mindful of the wrapping paper and the balloons as well. Although they are a delight for the eye and spread so much joy most balloons made of foil are not biodegradable at all. Here are some ideas for a sustainable Valentine’s Day.
5. Buy consciously and choose mindful gifts or experiences.
Everything from sweet treats, handmade crafts, to eco-friendly products, purchasing local and from small businesses has so many benefits. Firstly the owner of a small business does a happy dance every time someone makes a purchase and you will most likely be supporting a family, a group of friends or a community that relies on that income. Secondly, buying local could decrease the fuel consumption and carbon footprint as consumers would no longer be forced to drive to the highstreet or large stores.
At Myga-Yoga we aim to inspire you to make more conscious choices and to put more efforts into your gifts. Why? Well, conscious, unique gifts have character and we can’t think of a better way to show appreciation towards your loved one, but most importantly towards the planet as well.
Looking for some inspiration? Come say Hi in our Myga-Yoga store in Bullring, Birmingham or check our website for eco-friendly goodies.
If you’re thinking to prioritise presence over presents why not join us for a fun creative experience?
Check out our Valentine’s Day workshop: Valentine Meets Yoga: A Partner Workshop .