08 February 2009

Green Groups Promote Eco-Friendly, Toxics-Free Valentine's Day

Quezon City. Multi-awarded actress and environmental champion Chin-Chin Gutierrez led a pre-Valentine event by environmental groups at the National Ecology Center and Mini-Forest Park in Quezon City to campaign for an eco-friendly, toxics-free Valentine's Day, sharing tips for Pinoy couples on how to turn the red letter day into "green."

Together with her organization Alaga LAHAT and the EcoWaste Coalition, Gutierrez, who was once honored by Time Magazine as one of the Asian heroes for the environment, called on everyone to celebrate V-Day with the environment in mind as she invited the public to support “I Love Our Home Earth” – a year-round movement for ecological responsibility and stewardship.

Some people say it's corny, overrated, and highly commercialized. Nevertheless, every year when V-Day comes around there are splashes of reds and pinks everywhere, as these are supposed to be the colors of love. While one special day devoted to the one you love sounds romantic, many hapless couples fall into the commercial trap and end up digging deeper into their pockets than they can afford, and unconsciously contributing to waste and toxic pollution, all in the name of love.

Imagine yourself on your “perfect” Valentine date. You take your special someone out to dinner in a romantic, pricey restaurant, you give her red roses, perfume, and maybe jewelry, you enjoy your hearty meal, perhaps even in candlelight. But go beyond scents, taste and aesthetics, and you might realize that you are poisoning her with pesticide-drenched roses. The perfume you chose probably contains ingredients that can affect her reproductive health. The gold used in the jewelry could come from mines that destroy our remaining forest covers, displace communities and trash the ecosystems with cyanide and mercury-contaminated mine tailings.

These health, environmental and social concerns are real, reminded Alaga LAHAT and the EcoWaste Coalition, and should not be ignored as we mark the festive day of the hearts.

“Love means you never have to say you’re toxic!” says Gutierrez, founding Chair and President of Alaga LAHAT. “What we do to our home, Earth, we do to ourselves. Sadly, our very own lifestyles poison our air, water and soil, as well as our thoughts, feelings and actions in all levels of
marketing, consuming, taking, wasting, dumping… Yes we have become a 'throw away' and toxic society. On the other hand love is an act of sustaining one another, the way Nature sustains us.”

“The more we simplify and strip down to the basics, the closer we get to living responsibly. Let us show our love not only to people but also to the mother who has given us all that we need to live, Earth,” says Tanya Conlu, coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s project on chemical safety.

“I Love Our Home Earth” movement, spearheaded by Alaga LAHAT, will continue beyond Valentine's Day in promoting a perennial concern and love for our shared home the Earth, among our people through timely and creative activities. “Each of us is a little earth. Polluting our bodies with junk food, addictive substances and products filled with chemicals is like throwing toxic waste into our rivers and streams: we become 'walking dumpsites'”, adds Gutierrez. “Time to change, time to co-create with Nature, time to love our one and only home, Earth. Happy Green Valentine’s Day!”

Go ahead, splurge, and express your love, as long as you do not burden the earth with how you show it. Be romantic but don't forget to be environmentally responsible. This year's Valentine's Day luckily falls on a weekend, so there is more room to be creative and thoughtful.


The following are some tips on how to make your heart grow greener for V-day:

1. NO TO PLASTIC LOVE. Refrain from patronizing products in multi-layered packaging materials and simply say no to plastic bags. Bring a reusable bag when you shop and pick items in minimal packaging or those packed in recycled paper, jute, raffia and hemp twine, and other natural, renewable fibers, which look very fashionable and takes a lot of weight off the earth.

2. SPURN DISPOSABLE LOVE. Let us veer away from single use items. They may be convenient and “inexpensive,” but in reality more environmentally costly as their production consumes lots of energy and takes up much of the planet's raw resources, while creating too much residual garbage.

3. GIVE PURE LOVE. Make sure that the pretty gifts you give do not mask ugly toxins, which are hazardous to the health and the environment. Avoid products containing synthetic fragrances, toxic dyes, phthalates, formaldehyde and other chemicals of concern. To check on the toxicity and potential health hazards of chemicals in cosmetics, please visit www.cosmeticsdatabase.com.


4. PLANT AND GROW LOVE. Choose a gift that will last forever, and will not cost you an arm and a leg like a diamond. Why not go and plant a tree as a couple on V-day? This way you can bond as you nurture something that will last beyond your lifetimes. Alternative green growing gifts are fragrant flowers in pots, which can be used as alternatives to air fresheners, and herbs such as aloe vera for a natural hair treatment and conditioner.

5. FEED THE EARTH WITH LOVE. Cut your waste size by composting and starting your own mini fertilizer factory at the comfort of your home. Composting is no rocket science and a little effort can go a long way into reducing the emission of methane and other greenhouse gases from dumpsites, which threaten the climate and the long-term health of our communities.

6. LOVE YOUR HEALTH. Eat healthy and try something new by dining at a vegetarian restaurant. If you can go the extra mile and turn vegetarian, you trim down your ecological footprint, or your impact on the Earth’s ecosystems, as eating meat contributes significantly to deforestation, loss of biodiversity, freshwater scarcity and global warming.

7. LOVE YOUR HEART. Breathe fresh air and get some exercise to increase blood circulation by strolling through a park or going outdoors. If you have more time, go camping. Take your date to a place where there are lots of trees and absorb the positive energy together.

8. LOVE MORE, GIVE BLOOD. Be a blood donor. Give blood – the most precious gift of life and love - to the Philippine National Red Cross and help those in need.

9. SHARE LOVE. Speak out. Blog, email, text, call or write an actual letter to share these tips with all the people that you love, to show that you care for them. Never scrimp on telling those close to you that you love them, and extend that love to the one who has been nurturing you, our
one and only home Earth.

10. BE PART OF “I LOVE OUR HOME EARTH” movement. Take action one step at a time. Be involved in promoting ecological responsibility and stewardship. For further information please contact Alaga LAHAT by subscribing to ILoveOurHomeEarth@yahoogroups.com.


EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 320, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 9290376
ecowastecoalition@yahoo.com

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