Quezon City. There are as many ways to express love this Valentine’s as there are reasons to love – if only we’d use a little creativity. If you are tired of the usual bunch of roses, chocolates, and candle-lit dinners, environmental group, EcoWaste Coalition, offers practical alternatives to worn out clichés.
“The saying ‘there are a thousand ways to skin a cat’ can be adopted in celebrating Valentines,” says Ofelia Panganiban of the EcoWaste Coalition. “We can sow love in as many ways as our imagination will allow us and each one is certainly just as uplifting. Remember that love can be inward as well as outward; we ought to love ourselves as much as we can love others, and vice-versa” she adds.
In coming up with the Valentine tips, the group hopes that “green will become the new red” and that environmentalism becomes a way of life, not just a fashion statement.
“We hope that people get hooked in giving any of our tips a go; that in the near future, if they think ‘love’ they will think ‘green’,” says Aileen Lucero of the EcoWaste Coalition's Project PROTECT (People Responding and Organizing against Toxic Chemical Threats).
LOVE YOUR HEART. Breathe fresh air and get some exercise to increase blood circulation. Stroll through a park or go outdoors. If you have more time, go camping. Take your date to a place where there are lots of trees and bask in nature’s reinvigorating energy together.
LOVE YOUR HEALTH. Eat healthy and try something new by having an all-green home-cooked meal. If you can go the extra mile, turn vegetarian to trim down your impact on the Earth’s ecosystems, as eating meat contributes significantly to deforestation, loss of biodiversity, freshwater scarcity and global warming.
RECIPROCATE NATURE’S LOVE. Cut your waste size by composting and starting your own mini-fertilizer factory in your backyard. Composting is no rocket science; a little effort can go a long way into reducing the emission of methane and other greenhouse gases from dumpsites, which threaten the long-term health of our communities and the climate.
GIVE PURE LOVE. Ensure that the pretty gifts you give do not carry deleterious toxins, which could endanger your health and the environment. Avoid products containing lead, mercury, cadmium, toxic dyes, phthalates, formaldehyde and other chemicals of concern. To check on the toxicity and potential health hazards of chemicals in cosmetics, visit www.cosmeticsdatabase.com and www.bfad.gov.ph.
LOVE MORE, GIVE BLOOD. Be a blood donor. Give blood to the Philippine National Red Cross and impart gift of life and love to those in need.
DENY PLASTIC LOVE. Refrain from patronizing products in multi-layered packaging 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 takes a lot of weight off the environment.
SPURN DISPOSABLE LOVE. Let us veer away from single-use items. They may seem inexpensive but, in reality, they are more environmentally costly since their production consumes lots of energy and takes up much of the planet's raw resources, and simultaneously create too much residual garbage.
SOW SEEDS OF LOVE. Choose a gift that will last forever but not as luxurious as a diamond. Plant a tree as a couple. This way you can bond as you nurture something that will last beyond your lifetimes. Alternative green gifts are potted plants or flowers, which can be used as substitutes to air fresheners.
SPREAD 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.