Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Sweet Valentine

Ah, the joys of love. One day of the year that we are supposed to lavish our loved one with sweet nothings. Chocolates. Champagne. Silly stuffed bears holding hearts. But isn't all of it kinda silly? Shouldn't we be rewarding our loved ones on a daily basis with little rewards of love, respect, kindness, empathy... It seems that we'd have a lot less bears laying in a landfill after the love is gone.

Of course, I say this as an ever-so-hypocritical-being while sipping champagne and eating chocolates. This wouldn't be such a bad scenario if it weren't for the fact that I'm in Hawaii drinking champagne that traveled roughly the same 2,000 miles that I did to arrive here. The sweets are pure Hawaiian choc covered macadamia nuts, but it seems there might have been a better option for the spirits, though I'm not sure what? Maybe a mai tai with locally made rum? The point I'm trying to get at is "Buy locally grown." We spend an immense amount of fossil fuels shuffling our fares from one locale to another. If we could just make due with the supplies in our near vicinity we'd be doing much better off from an environmental perspective. But what if we are hell bent on jetting off to Hawaii when the smart thing to do would really be to find a local beach within driving distance? What if we could do something to say, off set the large carbon footprint that we're stomping into the earth with a 5,000 mile round trip vacation? Well, maybe there is something we can do.

Enter, Terra Pass. The idea is that we all contribute to global warming and all have our own individual carbon footprint. By becoming a part of the terra pass movement you can help reduce that footprint. They even have a nifty little footprint calculator so that you can figure out just how much you are using, and how much you can throw into "the pot" to offset your extravagent lifestyle, with "the pot" being carbon offset programs. For example, the carbon footprint for flying five people from Oakland, California to Hawaii is 6,040 lbs. of CO2 which calculates to $41.65 toward offset programs.

So, I have digressed. Valentines Day. Don't go out and buy a bunch of stuff that your lovely better half can do without. Instead think outside of the Hallmark box with your expressions of love. Candlelight dinner for two. Chocolates from your local chocolatier (and if you live in the Bay Area I highly recommend Scharffen Berger chocolates while they are still in existence). Bath salts and a massage. You get the point. Non-consumables. Things that will get used up. Not used and then tossed. And forget Hallmark. Given that 370 million tons of paper products are used each year it would be much better to whisper sweet nothings into your lovely's ear.

It's time to get creative. Time to start putting a little effort into our gift giving rather than just buying more and more stuff. Buying love is not doing it any longer. The environment needs more from us than mindless actions. The environment needs us to go a step further and give a little love to Mother Earth. So here's to V-Day. Now off you go. Enjoy that champagne and chocolates, just forego the stuffed bear.

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