Thursday, February 5, 2009

An Organic Valentine's Day

by Deanna Matzen

This week, The Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham (the founder and president of Interfaith Power & Light) announced the release of a new book titled, "Love God, Heal Earth". Can we say it more simply than that? Isn't that the basic gist of all the work we do? If you love God, you will treat the earth with love, which means actions which are healing, not destructive.

As Valentine's Day approaches, I can't help but see the holiday in a new way. As a day of romantic and love-filled expression, does our love heal? Specifically, does the mass purchasing of flowers during a time of the year when our gardens are dormant make sense ecologically? Are we healing the earth when we buy flowers from greenhouses and foreign countries to express our love? If only Valentine's Day were a couple months later, then we could pick bouquets from our gardens.

Here are a few "fun" facts about American Valentine's Day consumerism:
  • 180 million cards will be exchanged (not including kids)
  • 73% of men buy flowers on V. Day
  • 15% of women buy themselves flowers
  • $1.1 billion were spent on candy

Given the economic downturn, many people are choosing to downscale Valentine's Day. What a better time to rethink how we express our love. Here are some thoughts on ways to make Valentine's Day a way to love one another and heal the earth:

  • If you buy flowers, buy organic or from a local farmer's market- There are no rules regulating pesticide use with flowers and many growers suffer health problems from pesticide exposure, working long hours, and bad working conditions.
  • Give fair-trade, organic chocolate
  • Cook a meal at home with local food and wine
  • Buy a recycled card or make one out of reused paper
  • Make a gift like homemade cookies and package in recycled materials
  • Spend the day outside remembering why you work so hard to love God and work to heal the earth

Have a happy and healthy Valentine's Day! From your Valentine, Earth Ministry

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