As the world closes in on the pressure-filled, gift-giving, prove-you-love-me holiday otherwise known as Valentine's Day, the media inundates us with suggestions of flowers, candy, or jewelry.
The truth is, if you love the planet and your health, none of these choices are particularly loving gifts. Cut flowers grown in artificial conditions, shipped from seasonably warm climates far away leave quite a carbon footprint. Candy leaves a caloric footprint with none of the nutritional benefits. Metal mining is environmentally destructive, with 20 tons of ore required to produce enough gold for a single ring. Gold mines also release cyanide and mercury into nearby water sources, are associated with poor safety standards, inhumane labor practices, and disregard for the rights and interests of indigenous people.
What should an environmentally, green loving, socially responsible lover do to appropriately validate an expression of love? This writer has always been impressed by the opportunities to make memories, which leave no carbon footprint, do not add calories, and certainly do not exploit workers.