My Sustainable Valentine

My Sustainable Valentine

Education specialist Tara presenting a Valentine's Day card to Luani the river otter Show a little love for the Earth this Valentine’s Day! February 14 often causes people to feel stressed or pressured into providing the love of their life with the perfect experience. Unfortunately, many of our common Valentine’s Day practices are actually not so great for the environment. Kind of deflates the experience a bit when you are trying to shower your sweetheart with love but end up making the Earth feel a little less than loved. Don’t worry though! This year listen to Cupid and follow these guidelines for helping create a sustainable experience for your valentine without skimping on their favorite ways to celebrate!

Dear valentine…

An Amazon Milk Frog in its habitat with a Valentine's card featuring the text "I Find Your Ribbeting" The perfect valentine doesn’t exist… Wait! Yes, it does, and it can even be 100% recyclable or compostable! There are companies striving to help reduce the amount of waste ending up in landfills by making greeting cards made out of recycled materials or ones that are safe to put in your compost bin. Some cards are even being made with seeds in them so your valentine could plant their card and watch your love grow! So when you head to the store or start shopping online, be sure to keep an eye out for any environment- friendly valentines that are recycled, fair-trade, or even make your own!

All you need is love. And chocolate.

Image featuring the text Bird Friendly Cocoa surrounded by image of a bird and different forms of chocolate and cocoaLet’s face it, few lovebirds would be unhappy about getting some delicious chocolate on the Big Day, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy chocolate that causes habitat loss for our songbirds. The Smithsonian Bird Friendly program now certifies cocoa farmers as well as coffee bean farmers that help protect forests and native shade trees. By protecting their habitats, these farmers are helping conserve birds and other wildlife. They say love is like a box of chocolates, so why not pick a box that shows a little love to our birds as well as your valentine?

Let love grow.

A pond turtle in front of a heart-shaped piñata with the text XOXOThis seems a little out there, but how can cut flowers be bad for the environment? Since people don’t eat flowers, the regulations regarding growing them are much less strict than crop growing regulations. Many companies use a lot of pesticides on their flowers. Then the transport of the flowers from greenhouse to store causes a high amount of carbon emissions because of what is often long-haul transport and refrigeration. So instead of getting your valentine that bouquet of cut roses that will wither in a week, give them a potted plant that they can continue to enjoy for months or years to come!

Live. Love. Sparkle.

Meeko the raccoon being presented with a diamond ring in a boxWe’ve all heard about ethically or sustainably sourced diamonds, but what does it actually mean when a company says they use this standard? It means that they are tracing the origins of the diamonds they use to make sure that they were ethically sourced. The diamond industry has a dark side that many people have turned a blind eye to in the past, including poor working conditions and even child labor in the mines, water pollution, and habitat destruction. Thankfully, people are starting to take a stand and to question how their diamonds were procured. Before buying your valentine something shiny this year, do a little research on the company you are choosing to buy from and make sure that their business ethics are as sparkly clean as their diamonds.

__ Single  __Taken  ✅ Hungry

A pancake tortoise eating lettuce next to a heart-shaped piñata featuring the text XOXOLooking to have a nice night out on the town? Try a farm to table restaurant! These restaurants purchase ingredients from local farmers and usually try to cook with more seasonably available ingredients. This helps reduce the amount of food being shipped worldwide and thus helps reduce carbon emissions from the shipping industry. Want to really go the extra mile? Skip the meat this Valentine’s Day and go for the vegetarian option. Eating less meat helps reduce the amount of carbon produced by the meat industry. Have a tasty meal this year while supporting local businesses and farmers!

Share the love.

Audi the fennec fox standing in front of his ball and some of the unique merchandise you can only find at the zooWhat better way to show your valentine that you know what is important to them than by donating in their name to a cause they care about? Nonprofits like the Lehigh Valley Zoo depend upon the support of our community. When you make a gift to the Zoo, you help support one of the most vibrant wildlife conservation education institutions in the region, and tribute gifts are a thoughtful way to celebrate a special occasion. Your gift to Lehigh Valley Zoo will be acknowledged with a letter informing the recipient or their family that a donation has been made in their honor (amount not disclosed). Learn more about how you can make a tribute gift donation under the Make A Donation tab on our website!

Written by Tara Mlodzienski
Education Specialist
Lehigh Valley Zoo | Schnecksville, PA

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