Coming up with a special gesture-or an original one-to express love and affection can be difficult for some people. Here are 10 great ways to show your loved ones how much you care.
Write a poem on biodegradable seed paper.
“If we reduced paper use by half, we’d clear more than 1,000 landfills,” say Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen, editors of The Green Book. Paper accounts for almost 35% of landfill garbage. Instead, say “I love you” with a seed-embedded card that grows wildflowers. More tree-free alternatives include hemp, bamboo, banana stalk and sugarcane paper.
Send eco-friendly wild-crafted flowers.
Eco-friendly florists use organic greenhouses and farms that support sustainable, chemical-free growing practices. Green florists also aqrecycle and use minimal packaging in their shops. Ask your neighborhood florist about eco-friendly wild-crafted flowers, native potted plants and local bouquets-or visit EcoFlora.ca or SierraEco.com to place an online order.
Indulge with fair trade, organic chocolate.
Many mainstream and health food stores sell eco-friendly bonbons made without preservatives or chemicals. The TransFair Canada logo certifies that cocoa products are directly traded, fairly-priced, environmentally-protected and worker-friendly. Green Canadian chocolate makers include Terra Nostra, Cocoa West and Denman Island Chocolate.
Dig for conflict-free Canadian gems.
“Canadian mining standards are higher than most countries’,” my diamond-geologist husband, Bruce, tells me. “Diamond mines in Canada’s North offer huge economic benefits for aboriginals.” Some jewelers, such as Brilliant Earth, donate profits to underdeveloped communities, shield eco-systems and treat indigenous peoples fairly.
Explore vintage shops for chic recycled jewelry.
When improperly obtained, new jewelry can damage land, impact ecosystems and harm miners. Show your love with antique sapphires, emeralds and rubies from vintage stores-or ask elderly family members if they want to recycle their classic treasures.
Tantalize your tastebuds at a green restaurant.
Some restaurants boast cloth napkins, low-flush toilets and energy-efficient lighting-but even better are their regional, seasonal and sustainable gourmet meals. Google “eco-friendly restaurants” to find one near you-or experiment with vegan or vegetarian fare at home (meat production isn’t environmentally friendly, according to the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).
Toast your love with organic wine.
Organic grapes produce wine made with minimal sulfites and processing. Biodynamic wines come from agriculture that maintains biodiversity through nature’s cyclical rhythms, crop rotation and organic pest controls. For a healthy brew, swill organic potato or hemp beer-or go hard with organic-vodka martinis.
Sip organic champagne from recycled glass goblets.
“Real” champagne is sparkling wine (sometimes organic) from the Champagne region in France. To reduce transportation pollution, toast your love with a local favourite such as sparkling organic apple cider. Funky recycled wineglasses or goblets make beautiful yet practical gifts.
Give eco-friendly bath salts, creams and fragrances.
Bathing can be nontoxic, cruelty-free, sustainable, natural for lovers, and even green (if done occasionally). Concentrated bath salts last longer and use less packaging. Try edible massage oils, shea body butter or sandalwood fragrances from Lush Cosmetics or The Body Shop.
Get romantic with soy candles and organic lingerie.
Wax candles are made from petroleum that, when burned, unleashes the equivalent of diesel exhaust. Natural soy or beeswax candles set the mood without polluting the air. Light the fire with bamboo lingerie, hemp camisoles, and stylish organic cotton underwear-now sexier than ever!